January 4, 2016
We hope that you and your family had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! God was very faithful in 2015, and we look forward to what He will continue to do at AYA in 2016. There have been a number of fundamental curricular and extra-curricular enrichments and enhancements this academic year that I am honored to share with you.
• The 2015-16 academic year began with a successful orientation for our new teachers and a fresh beginning to the year for our returning faculty. Co-acting Deans Katie Koerten and Paulette Woodruff led the faculty in a Chapel service which focused our attention on the reason we are here; this spiritual focus has further infused into the depths of our campus this semester.
• Horacena Tate, Georgia State Senator, delivered the keynote address at our Honor Assembly in September; Senator Tate highlighted the life-long importance of truthful character amongst our students. Most immediately, students signed the AYA Honor Code and committed to upholding integrity inside and outside of the classroom. AYA’s Junior Beta Club inductions occurred during this event as well.
• The Seventh and Eighth Graders participated in the Civil Rights and College Exposure Trip in October, traveling the state of Georgia and visiting boarding schools, colleges and civil rights sites.
• A new critical thinking program, headed by our Co-acting Dean and Learning Specialist, Paulette Woodruff, is now being taught as a separate class for Grades 3-8. Teachers work from a list of grade-specific skills to ensure that standards are being met. Students are exposed to critical thinking daily, but specifically in a weekly session.
• The Board of Trustees hired a facilitator for a strategic planning process that will gain shape in the coming years. The strategic plan will be refined throughout the spring and then completed by May 2016.
• The Academy celebrated Thanksgiving with a wonderful chapel service. We welcomed back to campus Rock Curlee and Derrick Lockwood and honored their steadfast commitment and service to AYA.
• AYA has made strides to significantly upgrade its safety and security program. The completion of the gym storage unit has allowed for more space in the gym and has provided a secure storage space for AV and technological equipment. Numerous improvements were made to our plumbing infrastructure as well.
• “T.I.E.S. to Success” is an after-school program that was implemented by 4th Grade teacher, Jamal Webb, this fall. The purpose is to instill the qualities of Tenacity, Integrity, Eminence, and Success, all while teaching young men how to successfully tie a neck tie and prepare for the business/professional world.
• Our Pre-K through 5th Grade students performed a Christmas Pageant for our AYA community last week. It was not only beautiful and vibrant, but it also focused attention on our Christian mission. Several of these pageant performances will be performed again at our Christmas Chapel service, keynoted by Andrew Cathy, on Friday. Our annual Christmas Chapel featured a keynote address by Andrew Cathy who pointed us to the most significant gift we are given in life, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Field trips during the fall included serious academic content and refreshing breaks from the classroom. These trips included: The Center for Puppetry Arts, Spivey Hall, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and the High Museum.
This semester has been a series of such momentous moments — we are hopeful and prayerful for many more in 2016. Thank you for entrusting your children with us here at AYA. Please let me know how we can better serve you —
parents, mentors, leaders for these incredible youth.
We look forward to welcoming students back to campus tomorrow as we begin an incredible 2016.