Why REACH Academy

WHY REACH?

What is your philosophy or vision?
Reach Academy
will offer a challenging academic experience to develop the character, independence, and leadership of each student while providing a collaborative learning community that prepares students to meet the global challenges of our future.

What type of student are you looking for?  
Reach Academy
is looking for students who are curious, caring, and genuinely interested in learning.  We are committed to be a diverse and inclusive community that helps children meet their greatest potential.  And we know that family support is key that success. We expect families to be supportive of their children and of the expectations of their teachers.  

What curriculum do you use?
Reach Academy
is excited to offer a values-based curriculum that focuses on
-       developing a sense of community and respect for others.
-       breaking down barriers, strengthening relationships and building an environment of trust.
-       promoting positivity ­and inspiring students to be their best selves.
-       empowering students to speak up for themselves and for others. 
-       providing conflict resolution & self-control strategies: Think before you
-       engaging in meaningful service learning.

This is combined with rigorous academics focusing on the skills and content needed to be successful leaders and learners as they transition to middle school. 

Class size and student-teacher ratio. 
Reach Academy
is committed to ensuring each student has a personal connection with their teacher.  Student-teacher and student-staff ratios are intentionally smaller than those in traditional schools, allowing for small group instruction and focus on each child’s unique needs.  

What does tuition include?  
At Reach Academy, we believe that families should have choice when it comes to their child’s education.  Reach Academy is committed to providing a high-quality education at an affordable price.  Students will have access to outstanding teachers, personalized instruction, and a values-based curriculum that will shape them into strong leaders and learners.  In an effort to provide choice to as many families as possible, Education Savings Account (ESA) funds will be accepted from all admitted students who meet the requirements for their use.   

What extracurricular activities do you offer?  
Reach Academy
athletics is a “classroom” outside of the academic classroom.  Offerings begin as early as Kindergarten and may include basketball, cross country, football, and cheerleading.  Additionally, founding families will be surveyed to determine the types of clubs in which students may have interest.  These may include robotics, private or group music lessons, chorus, drama, and organization of community service groups.  

What are your teacher qualifications?  What type of PD do they receive?  
At Reach Academy, we are committed to a culture of student growth and achievement. Students expect much of each other and of the teachers that serve them.  We employ educators with demonstrated records of success who are as committed to their own learning as they are to that of their students.   Professional learning is an integral part of daily life at Reach Academy.  Our skilled administrators conduct classroom walkthroughs each day, providing feedback to teachers in real time.  Teachers work together each week in professional learning communities (PLCs) where they refine their skills in using student data to personalize instruction for each student.  Additionally, teachers engage in intense learning opportunities before the school year begins, on designated professional learning days throughout the school year, and over the summer.   

How do you integrate technology?  We live in a world in which technology is evolving at a rapid pace, allowing people from allover the world to be connected to one another. At Reach Academy, we believe that technology can play and important role personalized learning. Technology is a useful tool for encouraging student collaboration, allowing our students to learn valuable skills at an early age that will serve them as they move forward in school and, ultimately, in the workplace.  Technology also enables our teachers to communicate with our students no matter where they are, creating a space for learning outside the classroom. 

How do you measure individual achievement?  
Reach Academy
administers nationally-normed standardized testing to students in grades K-4.  Additionally, teachers routinely administer formative and summative assessments throughout the year, enabling them to use student data to guide instructional decision making.  

How do parents get involved?  
At Reach Academy families play a strong role in student success! All parents are part of the Parent Association.  This special organization provides opportunities not only to connect with other parents, but also to give back to our school.  All parents are encouraged to get involved. 

How is the school governed?  
Reach Academy
is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees comprised of community leaders.  In line with recommendations from the National Association of Independent Schools, the work of the trustees focuses exclusively on policies and strategies that are future-focused, and not on daily operations, which are delegated to the Head of School.  

Dr. Mary Laurens M. Minich

Executive Director Reach Academy

Dr. Mary Laurens M. Minich has over 20 years of experience as an education professional, including service as the director for the Office of Charter Schools for Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS).  She has led various efforts to enhance access to quality opportunities for children, including work for the Office of the Mayor facilitating expansion of access to high-quality pre-K opportunities for Nashville’s four-year-olds.  An advocate for the use of authentic student data to guide instructional decision making, Mary Laurens served as both a data coach and a data coach coordinator for MNPS’s Office of Research, Assessment and Evaluation.  She gained her assessment experience as a program manager for multiple state assessments for the Tennessee Department of Education.  Early in her career, she was instrumental in the development and implementation of the first state approved private school program for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Mary Laurens completed her B.A. in Education at Millsaps College, her M.Ed. in Special Education at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, and her Ed.D. in Learning Organizations and Strategic Change at Lipscomb University.