Dekalb Academy seeks to take an approach to teaching and learning with our motto of, “Learning with Relationships, Relevance, and Rigor!” Our motto is vital in engaging teachers and students in the process of being academically successful. There are many initiatives that have been implemented to improve the educational processes for our students, such as engaging students in meaningful tasks that address their various learning styles, exposing students to various challenging learning opportunities, and increasing students’ motivation to learn. While the academic program and structure of the academy is indeed in the public interest, our initiatives have been proven to be even more effective with the academy’s in-depth instructional focus of technology and the environment.
Dekalb Academy of Technology and the Environment has maintained academic success since its inception. This success can be readily seen in achieving Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) status for seven consecutive years, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, 2011, and 2012 as a “Performance Empowerment School. Students have exceeded over 90% of state and local district standards in subject areas of the administration of Georgia Criterion Referenced Tests (GCRT). With our instructional thematic focus, students are exposed to high levels of technology and environmental integration. From placing in state technology competitions to being recognized globally for our environmental stewardship, our students are certainly on the cutting edge. Our study abroad program and exchange program have enhanced global opportunities for our students and friends that we have shared our school with from Ethiopia. Our students’ excursions to Costa Rica, China, and Spain, this year, will continue to provide quality service projects that can only improve better communication, tolerance and understanding in our society.
Many acknowledgements and honors have been bestowed upon the academy, its students, faculty and staff, and parents; including being recognized by former Superintendent Kathy Cox as being one of ten schools in the State of Georgia with the highest CRCT gain scores for seventh graders in the areas of math and science, (2008). Dekalb Academy of Technology and Environment has also been featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle in being named among the best charter schools in the State of Georgia, (2009). With our combined and innovative uniqueness of technology and recycling efforts, the academy has received local and national attention in implementing city- wide recycling programs, converting cooking oil into bio-diesel and producing a byproduct of soap. As highlighted on the local news station, WGCL (Channel 11 News), all students are involved in this process (2010). After being featured on N BC Nightly News with Brian Williams for our charter school academic success and the demand for increase enrollment by parents, D.A.T.E. continues to take pride in the, “Small Family School”. From collecting the grease, converting and producing byproducts of soap to developing a design and package product; the students are grossly involved using advances in technology environmental conservation and recycling skills. In addition to this schoolwide recycling/conservation project, the school has been active in maintaining our focus on the environmental curriculum.
We are excited about our new annex, from our spacious gym and cafeteria to our state of the art classroom and Japanese Island Ponds and amphitheater; our students will continue to be highly engaged and see the school as a vehicle to become intellectually stimulated.
The many accomplishments and efforts to improve and increase academic achievement for all students at the academy can be highlighted, affirmed and supported by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) as the school was honored with being awarded with initial accreditation in year 2010. In addition, D.A.T.E. became the first charter school in Georgia to have a Standard and Poor’s Financial Rating and receive a bond of over 7 million dollars. D.A.T.E. was also awarded this summer with a grant from KABOOM and the Dr. Pepper/Snapple group to have playgrounds designed and built on the elementary and middle school campus.
Please take the time to stop by and witness the students claim their prowess and quest for educational success. We are more than willing to assist you and your family in making the best educational decisions and the best choice!
Sincerely, Dr. Maury Wills Headmaster and CEO
Currently, Dr. Wills is developing an outstanding educational team, creating and implementing an effective and comprehensive educational strategic plan and will produce improvements within Dekalb Academy’s operations and academic accomplishments; key steps to restoring community confidence and support of the “Charter Movement”.
Dr. Wills is a native of Austin, Texas and a graduate of Lyndon Baines Johnson Science & Liberal Arts Academy High School. Dr. Wills received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Clark Atlanta University; Specialist Degree from Clark Atlanta University; Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Mercer University; Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Morehouse College; Leadership Certificate Endorsement from University of Georgia, and Gifted Certification and Special Education Endorsements for the State of Georgia. Dr. Wills’ skills as an educator and educational administrator have developed throughout a successful career in various fields of education.
From 1994 until 2000, he was a teacher with the City Schools of Decatur (CSD) in Decatur, GA serving as a 1st grade, 2nd grade, 5th grade, and a Special Education teacher in grades 9-12; and from 2000 to 2006, he served as an Elementary School Principal and Principal on Special Assignment to the Superintendent with duties including, opening the Early Childhood Learning Center for (CSD), implementing the (CSD) Mentoring Program, operating the (CSD) Tutoring Program, and working with the initiative of closing the achievement gap for (CSD).
With a solid background in educational research and evaluation, Dr. Wills has also served as a consultant to, or member of, numerous educational organizations and initiatives including, Mercer University Educational Study Panel, William Fulbright Scholar Program, Georgia Association of Educators, Association of Curriculum and Instruction, and Association of Supervision and Instruction. He has also received numerous awards and honors including, Extra Mile Award Teacher of the Year, Administrator of the Year, Atlanta Constitution and Journal Teacher of the Year Recipient. Dr. Wills was also honored as a William Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar Recipient having the opportunity to study abroad in Japan, which he was only one of two Georgians selected for this prestigious honor. Recently, Dr. Wills has been invited as a guest lecturer to speak on behalf of the charter school movement in America in England.
Dr. Wills' instructional leadership is deeply rooted in his philosophy of excellence and learning; “Every student will learn, given the opportunity to embrace a climate of high expectations, a committed support system, and connections to the context of the real world, the Three R’s: Learning with Relationships, Relevance, and Rigor!
We recently completed our SACS visit from AdancEd and I am proud to say that we have been recommended for another renewal of Accreditation. I am not surprised that we would not be renewed, due to the quality of students, parents, and faculty and staff that exist at the school. Your commitment to education and dedication to the learning process continues to be the focus at our school!
The team left the school with glowing remarks and ratings, the highest marks that the evaluators have ever witnessed. The quality of teaching, the consistent engagements and highest delivery of teaching methods and strategies, along with effective implementation of technology was recognized and complemented the overall teaching and learning processes.
For these reasons, D.A.T.E. was invited to present at the AdvancEd SACS Conference to share and promote our success.
With the powerpoint and the exit report, you will see "Ten Powerful Performances" and "One Recommendation." I hope that we can continue to enhance our performances and make good on the recommendation. You will be hearing from my office of the many ways that we can involve our stakeholders in the decision making process to ensure that we are totally inclusive to the needs of our constituents and extended D.A.T.E. Family.
Once again, thanks for continuing to make D.A.T.E. one of the top ten charter schools in Georgia and the Nation.