Savannah Classical Academy is a public charter school for K-12 students in Chatham County. The only school of its kind in the county, Savannah Classical Academy has been serving local students and their families since its founding in 2013. The school is distinct for its supportive, well-structured environment, successful student outcomes and excellent academic results. Many parents don’t know about SCA and the opportunities it presents to potential students in the community, but the school leadership is on a mission to change that.
“A lot of people are confused when we say charter school. Some people equate us to a private school where you have to pay tuition. . . But a charter school is a public school publicly funded like any other public school in the state and it’s at no cost to parents,” said SCA CEO Barry Lollis.
Students are able to attend SCA for free, and there is no academic performance requirement to enroll. In fact, there is only one requirement for entry, and that is that the student must reside in Chatham County. Though SCA is publicly funded like all Georgia public schools, the way it operates makes it unique.
“Savannah Classical Academy’s management and operations are different from a traditional public school. We have our own board and our own leadership. So, I would be the leadership, and then we have a governing board that serves the same function as a school board where they oversee policy, me and the school. And my job is to run the school. So, the charter school is really like a mini school system of one school . . . You make your own rules and policies, but in order to get that autonomy that comes with your charter contract, you have to meet certain financial and academic performance goals. In short, it’s a public school available to families who choose to seek enrollment. It just operates differently than a traditional public school,” Lollis explained.
SCA has earned a reputation for being one of the top performing schools in the county. The school was recently awarded the highest-possible rating by the Georgia Accrediting Commission, which reviews schools every five years. After a comprehensive inspection, the GAC identified SCA as ‘accredited with quality’ in the elementary, middle and high schools.
Regarding academic outcomes, SCA performs very well, having recently reported excellent results in the Georgia Department of Education’s 2022 Georgia Milestones Assessment System scores. SCA students outscored Savannah Chatham County Public School System students on all 23 common state assessments and achieved parity or superior results when compared to all students in the state in all but six assessments. Lollis sees the long-standing relationships fostered between students and faculty as a contributing factor for the school’s success.
“I’ve worked in a variety of schools in Savannah and also outside the county, and every time at Savannah Classical, our faculty will get to know that child better than any other school I’ve been in simply because we’re K-12. We’ve seen them at the beginning of their educational journey and all the way up through high school, so that’s an advantage that we really get to build that commitment, culture and community with the family,” he said.
The school’s core virtues and culture help students thrive, delivering excellence both in the classroom and the community.
“We have very high expectations for our students, and they meet them. They are highly invested in their studies and extracurricular activities and are very involved with the community through our service learning projects. The students and teachers work really hard, and they have great academic outcomes,” he explained.
Through experiential learning, SCA equips students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed after graduation.
“The goal and the vision is for students to go on and be successful . . . to support themselves and their families . . . and to give back to the community. That’s what Savannah Classical Academy is doing. We are successful because we’re helping others be successful,” Lollis remarked.
Savannah Classical Academy is currently accepting lottery applications for the 2023-24 academic year through Jan. 20, 2023. To learn more about SCA and apply for enrollment, visit savannahclassicalacademy.org/.