Press release from Asheville PEAK Academy:
Asheville PEAK Academy is raising funds to help close the achievement gap for underserved populations in Buncombe County through the creation of a tuition-free charter school. PEAK Academy, set to open in 2021, recently received a grant for startup costs and teacher and staff recruitment from Dogwood Health Trust. PEAK is seeking additional funding from the community in order to be able to open and actualize their belief that all children can achieve at high levels, regardless of race or socioeconomic status when provided a rigorous, culturally relevant curriculum and held to high academic and behavioral standards.
“Our school board is made up of community members who’ve been serving our area for years,” said Raul Saldaña, school director, Asheville PEAK Academy. “They founded Asheville PEAK Academy in order to close the achievement and opportunity gaps that currently exist among students of color.” Saldaña adds that in his role as school director, he believes that closing the gap is possible, but also understands that without community support, that vision may not become a reality. “We are grateful that a leader in philanthropy like Dogwood Health Trust believes in our model. Their gift has enabled us to kick off our fundraising campaign with a strong foundation and belief in our ability to accomplish our overall goals of developing the whole child through excellent teaching, and being able to provide a positive, safe, and nurturing school environment.
“PEAK Academy’s vision of a school specifically designed to close the opportunity gap is exciting to us,” said Jackie Simms, Program and Grants Committee Chair, Dogwood Health Trust. “Their vision aligns with Dogwood’s commitment to racial equity and helps to fulfill one of our strategic priority areas of education.”
The grant from Dogwood Health Trust will be used for startup costs of opening the new charter school, as well as for teacher and staff recruitment. PEAK recognizes the need to eliminate barriers that many times prevent underserved communities from applying to a charter school, including free transportation and a free nutritious breakfast and lunch for all students. The new charter school will provide students with a high-quality education through an extended 8-hour school day, a focused 2.5-hour literacy block, culturally relevant teaching and learning practices, hands-on learning, physical education, and a global arts program.
PEAK Academy is currently seeking additional donors and contributions to support start-up costs, instructional programming, and teacher and staff recruitment. To learn more about how to contribute or ways to support student recruitment, visit http://www.ashevillepeakacademy.org/.