Knox County’s first charter school preparing to open this summer

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The opening of Knox County’s first charter school is just over four months away.

Emerald Academy is still hiring teachers, selecting students and renovating their building, but it won’t be long before the hallways are filled with students.

“It’s super exciting. We’re going to be able to have a pretty awesome 21st century building for our kids,” said Jamie Snyder, Emerald Academy Dean of Academics.

There will be 60 kindergartners and 60 first graders to start.

Emerald Academy is still hiring teachers, selecting students and renovating their building, but it won't be long before the hallways are filled with students.
Emerald Academy is still hiring teachers, selecting students and renovating their building, but it won’t be long before the hallways are filled with students.

“We actually have over 270 applicants right now, so we certainly have the pool of students that we are going to need to pull from, but we will go to a lottery system,” said Snyder.

Previous story: New home chosen for Knoxville’s first public charter school

There’s plenty of room to grow at the historic Moses School building in Mechanicsville, formerly the Boys and Girls Club. In five years, Emerald Academy will teach students up to the eighth grade.

“Really creating a unique environment and a unique educational experience for our most at-risk students,” Snyder said.

The school is interviewing teachers right now.

Jamie Snyder, Emerald Academy Dean of Academics
Jamie Snyder, Emerald Academy Dean of Academics

“I am looking for teachers that our excited, that are willing to think a little bit creatively, outside of a traditional school model,” the dean said.

That’s because this isn’t a tradition school.

“We’ve got two teachers per classroom. We’ve got an extended school day, We’ve got an extended school year.”

They’re still looking for community support.

“We do have a financial gap right now because we’re only enrolling K-1,” Snyder said. “The funding rolls in with the students, but because we’re starting early we would love the community to know there’s a donate button on our website.”

The last day for students to enroll at Emerald Academy is March 30. School starts July 27.

More online: Emerald Charter Schools

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