Ivy Preparatory Academy at Gwinnett faces challenges - CBS46 News

Ivy Preparatory Academy at Gwinnett faces challenges

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

Ivy Preparatory Academy at Gwinnett opened it's doors in 2008 and quickly rose to prominence as the state's first all girls charter school. Now, it's reputation is taking a hit as some parents voice their frustrations about the state of the school.

“Lack of supervision, lack of staffing, whether my granddaughter is going to pass her classes for next year,” said Wendy Baldwin. “Are they going to hire teachers? Are they staying open?” 

All valid questions following the recent departures of half of the school's teachers and the school's principal, who had only been there for four months.

“He was a good candidate and they hired him and then all of a sudden - you don't let him finish his job?” Baldwin asked. 

Another concern is the declining enrollment. In 2012, there were 345 students at Ivy Prep at Gwinnett. Today there are just 98. 

The changes aren't lost on the students who remain at the school.

“Some of the teachers are not here most of the time so it's kind of hard for us to learn the subjects we're supposed to be learning,” said student Kaitlyn Whitney.

Parents' concerns reached Nina Gilbert, the founder of Ivy Prep Academy. She stepped away from day-to-day operations but is now involved in the PTSA, hoping to turn things around.

“It bothered me when I learned that some of their basic needs as parents and basic needs as scholars are not being met,” she said.

According to the department of education, Ivy Prep at Gwinnett has a college and career ready performance index score of 63.1 - out of 100. 

“I'm confident that we are doing everything we can to turn the school around,” said superintendent Alicia Cromartie.

Cromartie said despite recent layoffs, the school is fully staffed. She said there is a turnaround plan in place but admits it can't happen overnight, especially with a budget of $7500 per child. 

“It's a lot less than what we need to serve,” said Cromartie. “if you compare us to Atlanta Public Schools as an example, they receive about 14 thousand per child.”

Cromartie said she has taken steps to get the school out of the hole. When she arrived, she said rent was 56 thousand dollars per month. Today it's 20k a month. But she says the school's location is playing a major role in the the dwindling enrollment.

She says she's now looking into whether the school should remain at its current location.

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