Baker pursues ‘Star Academy’ funding grant

Published 8:19 am Wednesday, June 10, 2015

State Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton, told the Atmore City Council on Monday that he is hopeful the area will soon be able to offer a “Star Academy” program in local schools.

Baker explained that a Star Academy is a specialized instructional program for students in the eighth and ninth grades that are already at least a year behind and at risk of dropping out. It allows these students to earn two years of credits in one year, giving them the chance to catch up with their fellow classmates.

Baker said that it looks favorable that Escambia County will be selected to offer the program. If funding is granted, it will be $300,000 every year for three years. The Escambia County Schools will provide four classrooms and four instructors, and the Academy will likely be offered at either Escambia County Middle School or Escambia County High School.

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Baker said that any student in the county schools system would be eligible for the Academy.

“(County Superintendent) John Knott is fully behind this and the school board has already written letters of support,” said Baker, who recently visited a Mobile-area school that offers a similar program. “Hopefully I’ll have great news to report to you in a month or so, if the county receives this funding.”

City council member Cornell “Coach” Torrence, a retired educator, said he thought that program sounded like a great idea for Atmore.

“I think it’s something that is definitely needed here,” he said.