Twelve months ago, students and staff were settling into the new Atlantis Charter School campus.
We packed our books from classrooms spread across three different buildings in the city and headed to what has been dubbed a new home for inspired learning. The school has seen significant cost savings since the move.
So much has happened since then. By all accounts, it’s been a remarkable year with more memories and milestones that I can count. But let me take a few minutes to try.
New Tritons Gymnasium
The Tritons gymnasium features a high school regulation-sized basketball/volleyball court, bleachers, locker rooms and offices. It is used for sports and physical education classes. It is the first time Atlantis students have had dedicated gym space. The basketball and volleyball teams played with home court advantage for the first time this year, and both teams had successful seasons in their new space.
The gym is more than just an athletic facility, it serves as a gathering space for pep rallies and other special events like last fall’s concert by musician, storyteller, and educator Kemp Harris for juniors and seniors in the Career Academies.
The gym was also the setting of Atlantis’s first-ever high school commencement ceremony last June. The 40 young men and women of the Class of 2018 made history as the school’s first graduating class, boasting a 100% college-acceptance rate. The schools of choice among Atlantis graduates included UMass Amherst, UMass Dartmouth, Bristol Community College, and Bridgewater State University.
Many of the graduates were rewarded for their hard work with thousands of dollars in scholarships, including the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship and Dollars for Scholars.
MIT’s Matt Kressy, who played an integral role in designing our STEM Academy, delivered the keynote address. He told graduates that academic performance does not determine success in life, and he urged them to be true to their own unique path because, he said, it is the action they take on that path that will allow them to find their unique value to the world.
The biggest change that occurred over summer break was the addition of our new track & field complex overlooking South Wattupa Pond. It features a new synthetic turf field, track, bleachers and scoreboard. Conservative budget management allowed us to fund construction of the complex to benefit the entire school community.
Like the gymnasium, the new multi-use field gave our student athletes home field advantage for the first time. Students, faculty, family and friends gathered in the new stadium in September to cheer on the Tritons football team in their first home game against the Tri-County Cougars. The team won its first varsity football game in November against visiting Holbrook/Avon. The boys and girls JV soccer teams also got to break in the field. The boys team was undefeated in its inaugural season and will likely graduate to the varsity ranks next year.
In November, Atlantis launched the 360 Fund. Donations to the annual fund provide important support for academic programming, technology, the arts, faculty development and new initiatives throughout the year. These fundraising efforts will also help us pay off debt on the new building and prepare for future expansion on our campus.
Atlantis has seen continued success thanks to generous philanthropic support from foundations and individuals throughout the SouthCoast including Wellington Management Foundation, the Peabody Foundation, Bank Five, BayCoast Bank, Bristol County Savings Bank, the Orville Forte Foundation, and Move the World Foundation, among many other supporters.
The big question now is what to expect next. The administrative team is always looking toward the future, for new ways to improve the student experience.
The year is flying by and graduation will be here before you know it. The Class of 2019 is working hard to finish requirements for graduation.
Spring internships are getting underway, and many of the students in our Career Academies are taking part in job shadowing events that will give them more exposure to in-demand careers.
We hope to continue to add experiential learning opportunities for our Career Academy students including internships, job shadowing, job placement, higher ed summer camps and gap year experiences.
As the weather warms and spring sports practice begins, students and families involved with the baseball and softball programs will be interested to know that planning has begun to add a baseball/softball field to the athletic complex. We are looking to fast-track the project.
The next time you visit Atlantis, you’ll notice new Capstone Pole Banners around the campus. These banners showcase the Atlantis mission and vision. You may also notice our Perimeter Force 180 security volunteers patrolling the perimeter – it is something we hope to continue to develop over time.
We are making these changes for all of you, our students and families. We are grateful for your ongoing support and look forward to continuing our journey together in the future.