Atlanta, GA

Smaller groups, better approach: The story of Ethos Classical Charter School

Sophie-Ann McCulloch

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Redefined Atlanta

ATLANTA - Since its opening in 2019, the Ethos Classical Charter School in South Atlanta has found that teaching in small groups with two teachers has become their most successful learning model.

When the pandemic started at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, the literacy and arts-focused elementary school prepared itself to create even smaller groups to meet the safety protocols for students and staff.

“But in order to have more in-person learning instruction through smaller learning groups, we needed more adults,” explained Emily Castillo León, Head of School and founder of Ethos Classical. “Hiring more educators during a pandemic was quite the challenge. We needed talented candidates and funding for the additional salaries, quickly.”

“We were able to tap into a new talent pipeline thanks to redefinED, and we were able to hire four full-time, on-site learning leaders, which enabled us to bring students back in-person,” Emily explained.

Creating a safe environment for in-person teaching was one of the biggest challenges Emily had to solve during the pandemic. Fortunately, the redefinED Atlanta Innovation Fund was able to provide a grant to do just that.

Having access to talented new educators mid-year gave the Ethos Classical school a jumpstart in hiring for the coming school year, which is vital as the school grows by one grade per year.

In their search, the school found Josalyn Jones, a recent college graduate with a degree in child developmental psychology. Josalyn was hired during the pandemic and will be continuing for the next school year. She will also be able to pursue her Master of Arts in Teaching degree through a partnership between Ethos Classical and the RELAY Graduate School of Education’s teacher residency program.

“I have never felt so in place and welcomed in my life,” she said. “My journey has led me on the path to a great school where I know my skills as an educator will increase and flourish.”

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