Gray Collegiate Academy Educational Program
Gray Collegiate Academy (GCA) serves high school students in a safe, small, family-centered setting who seek the opportunity and challenge of a rigorous curriculum, high academic standards, and outstanding athletics while earning up to two years of college credit while in high school.
GCA Vision Statement
Students graduate as responsible and contributing citizens; graduate with a high school diploma and transferable dual enrollment credits up to 60 transferable hours; graduate already immersed in the culture of college and therefore be ready to engage in coursework at higher levels; be provided the necessary coaching and skill development to be successful beyond high school; develop into leaders through athletic competition and service learning; attain educational, personal, and career-awareness skills in smaller (1:25 or lower) classes, benefit from a multi-ethnic community. GCA is where parents, business partners, administrators, students, and staff work together to create an academic, physical, emotional, social, and safe environment where everyone can learn and respect one another; acquire an education through innovative techniques to enhance lifelong learning through technology and varied instructional strategies.
GCA has established a dual enrollment public charter high school (grades 9-12) in West Columbia SC with an academic, athletic and guidance program that helps interested students be college-eligible when they graduate with up to 60 hours transferable college credit. The small, rigorous, and innovative dual enrollment program is attractive and provides an alternative to the curriculum in the neighboring schools. GCA's design reflects best practices found in increasingly robust research literature on school reform. GCA assists its seniors in continuing their education by seeking admission to two- and four-year institutions, and promotes interested student athletes to obtain collegiate athletics offers.
Hours of Instruction
The South Carolina Department of Education requires 120 hours of instruction to receive one high school credit. GCA students receive 165 hours of instruction per course (credit), plus needed interventions.
GCA recognizes the relationship between academics and athletics; regular exercise, skill development, and interscholastic athletic competition can play critical roles in each student’s growth. The primary responsibility of student athletes is their education. GCA guides its student athletes through the college athletics eligibility process. GCA’s academic and sports programs nurtures integrity, pride, loyalty, and character while building school spirit. In addition, students graduate from GCA, not only academically prepared for college study, but also with college credits in place that put them closer to achieving the four-year degree while engaging in athletics in college.
GCA reflects the diversity of the Lexington School District and invites students from all over the State.
Whole School Educational Plan
Gray engages students in rigorous, in-depth academic work requiring intellectual inquiry, creativity, and critical thinking. GCA utilizes differentiated teaching strategies to include lecture, hands-on activities, and project based learning. However; our administrators believe the most effective teaching strategy is to stop compartmentalizing education. All teachers work with students in reading, writing and math in all their required courses. The teachers work together to address deficiencies as a school and support one another in resolving issues.
The school opened in August 2014 with 350 students in grades 9-12. GCA provides a variety of scheduling options on a “split” schedule. Students either attend classes in the morning or afternoon, allowing them to participate in athletics, extra-curricular activities, hold gainful employment or tend to family responsibilities in the non-classroom session of the day. In traditional high schools, athletes regularly end their school/practice day at 5:00 p.m. or later. The uniqueness of our model allows student athletes to finish practice earlier, having more time at home. The split session allows GCA more flexibility financially, through facility and human resource savings. Due to the model and the fact that students will be placed by readiness and ability, dividing students by class is not optimal.
Educational Management Organization
Gray Collegiate Academy has contracted with an Education Management Organization (EMO), Pinnacle Charter School Management Group, LLC.
West Columbia was chosen for two reasons: a smaller school alternative to the large area high schools and because Lexington County does not have a collegiate academy model.