While Jala and Maya Witherspoon are too young to realize it, they are already being prepared for college at SABIS International Charter School in Springfield. Because that is what the school does.
SABIS’s mission statement says that it is “a college-preparatory school that provides top-quality education…It teaches children to perform to the best of their ability, to achieve academic excellence in a global context, and prepares graduates to attend colleges and universities.”
The girls’ parents, Tyrome and Melissa, are both products of public education – Melissa attended Springfield public schools – so they understand some of the challenges facing traditional public schools today. Knowing this, they chose SABIS for their daughters.
“When it came down to our own children, we wanted to provide them with the best experience possible in the classroom. We live in a competitive world and we want our daughters to be prepared….to be pushed, and challenged to succeed as they are at SABIS,” says Tyrome.
Melissa adds that she “values the constant attention and engagement [opportunities]” SABIS gives parents.
And, of course, there is plenty of attention focused on the students as well.
“My teachers push me harder to be a better student,” says Jala, a 5th grader. “I like that teachers take the time to sit down with me to explain what I got wrong on an exam, and what was right as well.”
But it is not just the superior academic experience that SABIS offers its students.
“The school focuses on their development from a leadership perspective even at the KG stage. “They challenge students to be leaders, to do better, and to support their friends,” says Tyrome.
Both Jala and Maya, who is in Kindergarten, have special responsibilities that help them develop as leaders. Maya says her job is to be a role model. “I raise my hand, I listen to my teachers, and I do all the stuff that I need to do.”
Jala’s job is to help manage her grade level’s contribution to the school’s recycling campaign. She gathers each 5th grade classroom’s recycling materials and deposits them into a central container.
“It makes me feel good to do that,” she says. “It makes feel like a leader.”
Leadership skills will serve the girls well in their future endeavors. Jala aspires to be a financial advisor because she likes math, and Maya wants to be a firefighter.
While these aspirations are likely to change many times over before graduating, one thing is certain…thanks to their parents’ choice of SABIS, they will have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.
“We live in a competitive world and we want our daughters to be prepared….to be pushed, and challenged to succeed.”