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Chattanooga, TN (August 6, 2019) - Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy (CGLA) kicked off the 2019-2020 school year with a five-day schedule of transitional programming. Designed to reinstate a commitment to academic achievement, this initiative, which began on Thursday, August 1 and continued through Wednesday, August 7, created an environment for informal yet critical engagement focused on success in the upcoming year.
“As always, the first week of school is a pivotal time for both teachers and students,” said Dr. Elaine Swafford, CGLA chief executive officer. “Allowing for recalibration conveys a message of awareness that sets a positive tone for the new school year. Students need to return to the classroom feeling connected to and supported by their teachers.”
Swafford continued by referencing research about school attendance and academic performance. “Studies confirm that students who attend school on the first day are more enthusiastic about their education, more confident about their abilities, and more hopeful about their futures. Without question, the five days of transitional programming provided a channel for us to emphasize performance expectations and encourage academic excellence.”
Working throughout the summer, the faculty developed grade-specific programs to help students start the school year strong and prepared. According to Kelli Fulton, assistant principal at CGLA, teachers planned activities that foster trust and compel high academic performance. “CGLA is a community of learners, and teachers want to learn about their students,” said Fulton. “Our intention was to promote open exchange that erases boundaries and invites exploration. For example, students and faculty discussed personal interests, the benefits of healthy living, emerging careers, responsible interactions with social media platforms, and cultural trends.”
Other discussion topics Fulton referenced were understanding financial management, eliminating bullying, and building leadership skills.
One of the highlights during transitional week is the field trip to visit college campuses. “Visiting colleges during the first week of school is a tradition at CGLA,” said Swafford. “We know the college visit can be an intimidating experience, so we embrace this tradition as an adventure during which we personally support and assure students. Before entering college, our students will have been visiting college campuses for 7 years.”
Swafford continued by noting the complexities that reside within the college application process. “Because applying to college is daunting and overwhelming, guiding students as they navigate this unfamiliar path builds confidence. Our job is to escort students toward their future.”
During the final day of transitional activities, faculty and students participated in team and relationship building exercises. “The last day of transition was the eve of the first day in the classroom, and we wanted to move forward as a united community. We are now primed and ready, a collective of students and educators, all of whom are poised for success this new school year.”