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Prestige Prep Academy: Golden Opportunity For Boys
9/7/2016 2:21:35 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch 

As quietly as it is kept and nestled among grand oaks and abandoned buildings, Prestige Prep Academy opened its doors for the first time this school year on Avenue “F” of the old Naval Base.

According to the school’s website, the school received unanimous approval from Charleston County School Board of Trustees for grades K-4 as a start-up, adding a grade each year through 2020 with grades K-8. Prestige Academy is a Charleston County School District Charter School for boys only. The school is accepting boys in grades K-4th. It promises to be a unique educational and diversified experience for boys promoting positive attitudes and high expectations. The school’s Mission is “to empower boys to “raise the bar” and become young men of intellect, integrity and compassion.” There are already some myths circulating about the school. Prestige Academy is not a discipline school. It is designed to be one of “intellect and integrity”. It is not an all-black school; it is multicultural.

In light of the high dropout, suspension and expulsion rates among African American boys, I especially welcome the new school and look forward to its success. Boys learn differently from girls. They tend to move about more and this school will provide different learning approaches and strategies to challenge their energies into positive outputs. Boys tend to less emotional and expressive. The curriculum provides for more one-on-one time and sessions for boys to express themselves and staff to listen. The school will provide a more hands-on, physical education, exploratory and analytical approach to education.

The principal and founder, Joyce Coleman, had been toying with the idea for some time and after much research, sweat equity, hurdles and board’s approval, the school opened a few days behind schedule. Coleman is not new to Charleston County School District. In 1999, Coleman served as principal of Mt. Zion Elementary School on Johns Island. She moved the school from a “D” rating to a “B” rating in two years and received the Palmetto Silver Award. Since leaving Charleston County and while working in Virginia School District, she was appointed by the governor as one of the first ten Virginia School Turnaround Specialist. Coleman has a track record of changing students’ attitudes toward learning and transforming schools into successful learning institutions.

I would like to encourage the community to support this school. I am also appealing to the churches, sororities, fraternities and other civic groups to adopt this school. Oftentimes we complain about violence and drugs in our communities and offer no solutions. Now is the time to make a difference. The solution to many of the problems in our communities lie within. The students served by Prestige Academy come from the same communities that are served by the many churches throughout Charleston County. Early intervention is the key to successful students. Troubled youths and even gifted students who may have been misdirected can now be redirected at Prestige Academy. Boys who were told “they would never amount to anything” can now feel they can become everything. Let’s give boys a starting chance for success. If you are asking yourself “what can I do to help?”, the school needs volunteers, mentors and help with transportation. Y’all know y’all got some money up in dere, up in dere.

Interested parents and persons should contact the principal, Joyce Coleman, @ 843-900-7722.

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Submitted By: Submitted: 10/3/2016

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