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New charter school incorporates learning for autistic, general education students
by Christine Fonville
August 12, 2014 01:06 PM | 2714 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye /
From left, Principal Amanda Chilvers and eighth grade humanities and theatre teacher Kelly Christopher go over some notes in preparation for the start of classes at the new Tapestry Public Charter School.
Staff / Katherine Frye / From left, Principal Amanda Chilvers and eighth grade humanities and theatre teacher Kelly Christopher go over some notes in preparation for the start of classes at the new Tapestry Public Charter School.
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A new, public charter school in DeKalb County is starting the 2014-15 school year with a mission — to offer an engaging and individualized learning environment for students on the autism spectrum and their general education peers.

Tapestry Public Charter School, at 4046 Chamblee Tucker Road in Atlanta, just opened its doors for the first time to its 96 students Monday. Principal Amanda Chilvers and co-founder Devon Christopher said the three-year long process to get the public charter up and running was made possible through community support and partnerships.

“The arts will be a big part of the learning process at Tapestry, so we’re very excited about our partnerships with theaters and groups like the Alliance Theater,” said Chilvers. “We’ve also built a huge network with colleges like Georgia State University and Kennesaw State University and these partnerships have been instrumental in getting the charter to be as strong as it is.”

Christopher said despite the county going through “a lot of transitions” at the time the charter was voted on in September, the community at large has been “overwhelmingly supportive.”

The school will serve students from sixth- through eighth-grade and the building, which has eight classrooms, will be equipped with various, special items to help with sensory regulation of students on the autism spectrum.

An implementation and planning grant has allowed each student to be outfitted with Chromebooks and Kindles. Swings, light machines, alternative seating and other sensory equipment will help students self-regulate, focus and achieve academic success in an individualized way which, Chilvers said, is a big part of the school’s goal.

“Our goals are to embrace each child’s needs and who they are as an individual as well as foster their sense of curiosity about the world,” she said, “and teach them to be self-advocates as far as what they need or where they want to go in their futures. Every child is coming here from a different school and we want to allow every child to grow as an individual, which may be academically, socially, behaviorally or in other ways.”

The school will use a co-taught model, which will put one special education and one general education teacher in each classroom.

Chilvers said she hopes the school will be innovative, groundbreaking and will focus on empowering all students.

For more information, visit www.tapestrycharter.org.

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