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ATLAS and Greene County Primary School in lockstep toward student achievement

December 9, 2021

Greensboro, Ga. — If you were to walk through the CBJ Preschool facility this school year, you would see community partners working hand in hand to invest in the academic success of the children in Greene County! ATLAS Specialist Jennifer Burke and Resident ldalet Rios can be seen spending a good portion of each day in the CBJ classrooms alongside CBJ Director Priscilla Jones and Lead Teacher Kadijah West. Serving a pilot group of 20 students, the ATLAS team is now working in tandem with CBJ to provide additional academic support to students enrolled in the Early Learners Primary Prep program during the school day. Speaking about the partnership, ATLAS Early Learners Director Shasta Tillery expressed her excitement: "We are grateful the school leadership has embraced our program and welcomed ATLAS into the process!" 

Ashlie Miller, Greene County Primary School Principal, who is leading the effort at the elementary level with passion and purpose, recently spoke about the partnership with ATLAS. "When two separate entities come together, one public and one private, in order to enhance student learning, great things will happen. ATLAS has come alongside us and supported not only the school but individual students in every way that we have requested. How exciting it will be to see the final outcome of Primary Prep and ATLAS Academy as a result of many adults coming together to make a difference in the lives of children in our community!"'

The ATLAS Early Learners (EL) program invests in students beginning at birth and supports parents along the way to equip their children for crucial academic and developmental landmarks- culminating with 3rd grade reading proficiency. 'Primary Prep', one of 3 sequential ATLAS EL efforts, specifically targets Kindergarten success beginning with preschool children around age 3. Since EL's inception in the spring of 2020, it has been a priority for ATLAS to provide intentional and individualized support that would increase the school's ability to elevate student literacy levels and ultimately lead children toward academic success on a broad scale. Shasta Tillery has been the architect for the ATLAS Early Learners program from the beginning and has brought extensive knowledge in curriculum and student assessment to the ATLAS team. She has led the effort at ATLAS with not only a tremendous heart for the students here in Greene County, but also a deep desire to support the educators in the schools.  

Because of this, the ATLAS team has committed its efforts to building many program initiatives around the student achievement and literacy targets defined by school principal Ashlie Miller, elementary' curriculum coordinator Dr. Laurie Weaver, and the Greene County Primary School teaching team. Tillery, Miller, and Weaver have been working for months to deepen the partnership through instructional and curricular strategies and the EL program has now come to play a significant role in the growth plan recently publicized by the Greene County School System.

"It's vital that we do everything we can do work hand in hand with community partners like the school to support their efforts and hopefully increase their effectiveness." Having spent several years as a middle and high school principal, ATLAS Executive Director Ryan Gibadlo emphasized the importance the early years of development play in the future growth of children. "So much of a child's brain development occurs in their first five years of life that if we as adults truly invest during this time period, the stages that follow can hold far more than academic success for that student. The ripple effect can lead to a student's heightened confidence, sense of purpose and ultimately, more opportunities for future goals and ambitions. The contrary is true as well. This is why it was our mission at ATLAS to build our Early Learners program in a way that would ultimately be conducive to a deep and impactful partnership with the elementary school here in Greene County."

The full ATLAS Continuum is built to equip children and their families to fulfill their God-given purpose. ATLAS strives to achieve this in each child not only through the biblical knowledge needed to identify and embrace that purpose, but also the academic skills necessary to pursue and accomplish it.  

Over' the past 18 months, Shasta Tillery has led the charge in developing three uniquely targeted EL program efforts that include developmental monitoring from birth called "Infant Toddler Tech", an individualized competency mastery program aimed at Kindergarten success beginning at age three called "Primary Prep", and finally a dedicated reading program for students Kindergarten to 3rd grade called "ATLAS Academy". Primary Prep was specifically developed along­side GCPS teachers and administrators in order to set each child up to be successful when they enter their educational journey as Kindergartners. Both the GCSS and ATLAS teams are extremely excited about the potential impact of this unique partnership between ATLAS and Greene County Primary School for participating children and their families!