Embattled private school's chief answers critics - CBS46 News

Embattled private school's chief answers critics

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LITHONIA, GA (CBS46) -

The head of private school dogged by accusations of mismanagement fired back at her critics.

CBS Atlanta first reported that some parents and former teachers at Camp Jewell House say the school is failing to give its student a good education.

But Executive Director Jewell Hunter said the accusations are not true.

Hunter blamed the criticism on parents and former teachers with an ax to grind and said students at her school receive an excellent education.

Deirdre Chambers, whose daughter attends the school, agreed with Hunter.

Chambers said when her daughter first arrived at Camp Jewell House in the ninth grade, she was only reading at a fourth-grade level.

Chambers said her daughter now reads at the sixth-grade level. There's still room for improvement, but Chambers said Camp Jewell House is the reason her daughter's academic performance is getting better.

"I have seen nothing but positive results. Camp Jewell House is an excellent school," Chambers said.

Several parents and former teachers have complained the school is providing students a poor education.

Critics said the private school is supplying students with textbooks up to 20 years old.

Hunter admitted that some of the textbooks are not as new as those in public or private schools with more money, but she said the information in the books is still valid.

"There are some textbooks that are older, [but] one plus one equals two whether it was written in 1993 or whether it was written in 2013," Hunter said.

Angry parents and former employees also complained kids from different grades are placed in the same classroom.

When asked if children of different ages can learn effectively in the same class, Hunter answered, "We use the open class curriculum and they absolutely can."

Hunter said that while students of different grades learn in the same classroom, teachers give each child individual attention with an individual lesson plan.

"It's no secret. That's part of our method," Hunter said.

Former employees also said 11 teachers quit last school year because they were frustrated with a poor learning and working environment.

"We're such a small school, I couldn't even afford to pay 11 teachers," Hunter said.

Only a few teachers resigned, some for higher paying jobs, others because the school's requirements were too tough, Hunter said.

"Sometimes when the going gets tough and I push them to the edge and say, ‘It's about the kids. We got to do this,' then yeah, they say, 'OK, I can't handle it,'" Hunter said.

CBS Atlanta also asked Hunter about accusations that enrollment dropped from 100 students down to the 20s.

Hunter said the student population dipped but only from 45 down to 31.

"Absolutely it dropped. But it didn't drop because of withdrawals. It dropped because of expulsions," Hunter said.

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