Success Academy comes full circle to settle in revamped building
The Success Academy is finally settling in to its permanent home at 1555 Georgetown Road. The program, which FCPS launched in the fall of 2018, has actually come full circle. It opened there in the former Imani church complex and later moved to the old Linlee Elementary off Spurr Road during the extensive renovations. Staff returned to the revamped, state-of-the-art facility in the fall of 2020, and students resumed in-person instruction there in late March.
Let’s take a look at some of the neat elements …
The Success Academy shares the facility with the district’s STEAM Academy; each has a separate main entrance. “We are in the back wing. We just have a small portion of the building because we’re small,” said program director Janice Wyatt-Ross. “When you walk in, you’ll see a long hallway with classrooms on each side and a mural that spells out the word SUCCESS. Each letter represents an aspect of our program.”
- S: Focus on academics
- U: Golden eagle mascot
- C: Community partnerships
- C: Aquaponics courses
- E: Career exploration
- S: City of Lexington
- S: Food lab
If students need a few minutes to meditate or just collect themselves, they can stop by the sensory room. A control panel allows students to set various lighting combinations depending on their mood.
There is no typical school media center. Instead, Success set up an informal lending library – a couple of small shelves in the hallway – for students to share books and other reading material. “If you take something, bring something,” as Wyatt-Ross explained.
Flexible seating and small tables are grouped in nooks where students can gather comfortably. “It looks like a college student center, where they can hang out and work,” Wyatt-Ross said. “There are windows in the classroom where teachers can peek out and keep an eye on them.”
The fully equipped kitchen has two of everything – refrigerators, stoves, and microwaves, plus a washer and dryer set for learning basic life skills. The program, in partnership with the Community Action Council and FoodChain, offers lessons on nutrition and healthy cooking. An off-site community garden promotes the Farm to Table concept. “The students learn how to grow plants, and we come back and eat them,” Wyatt-Ross said.
The studio space is empty for now, but students already do internships with Lexington Community Radio, and Success happens to have a DJ on staff. “We already have a plan. We just need equipment,” Wyatt-Ross noted.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Wyatt-Ross is excited about the prospects now that students are back in the fully outfitted space. “Just thinking how we started with nothing, bare bones – now there’s no excuse for students not to achieve,” she said.
(Posted April 8, 2021)
Video by Robert Lewis; text by Tammy L. Lane