CANTON — Cherokee Charter Academy will start the school year Monday with a new principal and the school’s first ever ninth-grade class.
Dr. Scott O’Prey has 28 years of experience in the education field; he has been a teacher, a principal and held various other positions in the field.
“We’re going to open Monday with just over 1,100 kids. We are over our projection but we’re in good shape,” O’Prey said Friday. “Teachers are finishing setting up their rooms and we’ve finalized all of the classes, and we’re where we need to be for the parents and the kids to arrive Monday.”
The new principal was hired in June to take the place of Cherokee Charter Academy’s founding principal, Vanessa Suarez, who announced in April that she was transferring to a charter school in Florida.
“This is my first charter school,” O’Prey said. “I feel confident. With the support of the community and the support of the staff, we’ll have a very successful year.”
O’Prey said about 40 ninth-graders will be in the first class of high school at Cherokee Charter Academy, and said leadership is a priority.
“We’re growing this high school, this is the first year that we have a ninth-grade class, we’re going to work with those ninth grade students on student leadership and giving back to your school and giving back to your community,” O’Prey said. “It’s called academic service learning, and that is really going to be our main thrust with those ninth-graders because they’re the oldest kids here and many of them do have siblings here at school, and we’d like them to become the student leadership group.”
The entire staff has been at Cherokee Charter Academy preparing for the start of the school year and O’Prey said they’ve held leadership meetings and did team-building activities.
“We had our three meet-and-greets yesterday, which were extremely well attended by families,” O’Prey said. “There were a lot of people here at all three. Our foundation board was here, and Billie Miller, the vice president for education from Charter Schools USA was here, also.”
O’Prey said that one of the academic goals for Cherokee Charter Academy this year is to “raise student achievement in math.”
“Raising our math scores this year is a focus, we do very well here on reading in every grade level, our math is a work in progress,” O’Prey said.
The new principal has a Bachelor of Arts in secondary social studies from the state University of New York and a Masters of Education in administration from Sam Houston State University in Texas. O’Prey also has a Doctor of Education degree in administration and supervision from University of Houston in Texas.
Students can be dropped off for school beginning at 7:25 a.m. and school for all grades starts at 8 a.m. Kindergarten through second-grade classes are dismissed at 2:45 p.m., and third- through ninth-grade classes are dismissed at 3 p.m. For registered students, before care starts at 6:30 a.m. and after care goes until 6 p.m.
School uniforms can be purchased at the onsite store Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 7:30 and 10 a.m., Tuesday and Thursday between 3 and 6 p.m., or online at www.alluniformwear.com. The store accepts debit and credits cards, no cash.
Basic school supply lists can be found online at www.cherokeecharter.org/schoolinfo.