City and State leaders, along with the Consulate-General of Japan and other dignitaries, were on hand on Thursday to celebrate the opening of a new state chartered Japanese-English dual language school that will offer classes for elementary-school children in K-5 th grades.
The International Charter Academy of Georgia (ICAGeorgia) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 14 at its new campus which is located at 3705 Engineering Drive. The dual-language school officially opens on August 8 and is open to all Georgia residents who meet the age requirements.
The school’s curriculum will require kindergarten students spend 80 percent of classroom time each week immersed in Japanese, with the remaining 20 percent spent in English. The percentage gradually shifts to 60 percent Japanese to finally 50/50 percent for students in grades 3-5. Core subjects are taught in both languages. Additionally, Chinese is offered as a third language. Students will study Chinese one or two time a week for 45 minutes. The school’s curriculum is designed to broaden students’ horizons so they may better understand the international community.
“We are very pleased that ICAGeorgia has chosen Peachtree Corners as the site for its new school,” said Mayor Mike Mason during the ribbon cutting ceremony. “Indeed, having a dual- language state charter school in our city refortifies that Peachtree Corners is a diverse community that welcomes people from around the world.”
Other dignitaries who attended included Takashi Shinozuka, Consul General of Japan; Richards Woods, Georgia State School Superintendent; Charlotte Nash, Chairman of Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners; Patrick Wallace, Program Specialist, Georgia Department of Education World Languages and Global Initiatives; Scott Hilton, Representative, Georgia State House District 95; Pedro “Pete” Marin, Georgia State Representative District 96; Tom Taylor, Georgia
State Representative District 79; Sam Alston, President, Buckhead Rotary; and Jim Masui, Chairman, Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia. After the ribbon-cutting, guests were invited to a tree-planting ceremony: A dogwood tree representing Georgia and a cherry tree representing Japan were planted on the school grounds.
ICAGeorgia is governed by eight board members including Ms. Minako Ahearn, the former principal at Seigakuin Atlanta International School located on Winters Chapel Road. The new school will be headed by Principal Carrie Woodcock, who formerly headed world languages and global initiatives for Hall County Schools.
The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC), an independent charter school authority, oversees the state charter schools.