Canton charter school open for education
CANTON — Parents of students in the county’s first charter school say they are pleased with the experience their families have had since SR1 College Preparatory and STEM Academy opened earlier this month.
Kyeporshia Johnson is the mother of Kailancee Johnson, a kindergartner at the school.
“The school year is going very well,” said Johnson of Canton. “She loves it.”
SR1 CPSA opened its doors on Thursday, Aug. 3, at its current location at the St. Paul AME Zion Family and Life Center on 505 S. Union Street in Canton. Tamu Green, the Founder, and CEO of SR1, said the school currently has the capacity to accommodate 75 students per grade.
"Our commitment to education is a foundational investment in cultivating Mississippi students who lead the way in creativity,” Green said.
The academy will add one grade level each year until it reaches fifth grade.
According to Green, this school is “the first-ever free public charter school dedicated to STEM” in the state. Green said the learning approach at SR1 CPSA emphasizes an iterative process of learning while addressing crucial social skills. Moreover, the school places a strong emphasis on foundational literacy skills, creating a comprehensive curriculum that seamlessly integrates STEM subjects with reading and writing fundamentals.
Leading SR1 CPSA is Provost Kristen Williams, who holds degrees from Alcorn State University and the University of Southern Mississippi.
"I am thrilled to embark on this journey with all of you! Our pursuit of excellence remains unwavering, with our students at the heart of everything we do. Together, we will overcome challenges and nurture a love for learning. Let's remember that education is not merely about filling a container; it's about igniting a passion," Williams said.
Johnson said she first heard of the school through a flyer at an area gas station. She said she thought the school was a perfect fit for her daughter after she continued to research the school online.
“I thought it would give my baby a better school experience,” Johnson said.
Zanna Steward, of Jackson, is the mother of Na’Zhyia Steward, a first grader. Steward said her daughter loves where she is.
“She actually loves going to school,” Steward said.
Steward said teachers have engaged her daughter with a variety of hands-on projects and experiments including building a rocket and caterpillar enclosure where they study the life cycle of a caterpillar as it transforms into a butterfly.
“It is amazing,” Steward said. “She came home and was able to tell them about the whole life cycle of a caterpillar.”
Johnson said her daughter has been learning about microscopes, both using them and taking them apart, and said her daughter is also engaging in certain subjects, like vocabulary, at the first-grade level.
According to Steward, the staff at the school has been “very attentive” to any questions she has had and said their bus service ensures her daughter gets home from Canton safely. She said they also post videos from class so parents have some insight into what their children are learning.
“I really don't have the words to express how I feel about this school,” Steward said.
The St. Paul AME Zion Family and Life Center is a temporary location for the school, officials say. The academy has secured a sprawling 110-acre learning space in Madison County with plans already in motion for a state-of-the-art campus that will feature both indoor and outdoor learning facilities in the coming years.
SR1 CPSA will host the "SR1 CPSA C.O.O.L. (Community Oriented Opportunities for Learning) STEM Night" on Tuesday, Sept. 19, focusing on conservation in Mississippi, Williams said. This event will be a collaborative effort involving institutions such as the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, Millsaps College, Mississippi State University, and other selected partners. The event will be open to the public.
SR1 CPSA welcomes applications for K-1st grade students for the 2023-2024 year and K-2nd grade for the 2024-2025 school year from Canton and neighboring districts, Green said.
For additional information about SR1 CPSA, please visit the official website at www.sr1cpsa.org or contact 601-206-4544.