CHARLOTTE – Leaders at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools heard first hand how Turning Point Academy changes lives from students that shared their experiences with the alternative school during the June 4 school board meeting.
The academy redirects student behavior through programs that build character, as well as academic and social growth.
One student explained how she had been assigned to Turning Point for 40 days for not being able to control her anger at her home school, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology.
Smaller class sizes allowed her to get more one-on-one help with her assignments, which has led to higher grades.
“I wanted to prove to the world that I’m not my mistakes, and if I let my mistakes define me, then I will live a miserable life,” she said, noting underneath her aggressive behavior lies a kind girl who loves to sing and spend time with her family.
Another student explained how the teachers at Turning Point don’t judge students, but encourage them to reach their potential.
“My first day at Turning Point, I thought I had to stay to myself and focus to get through,” he said. “But I learned that the environment is so welcoming, I had to open up.”
Shanique Lee is not only a high school teacher at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, but also a doctoral student at UNC Charlotte. She’s spent several hours over the past year volunteering at Turning Point.
“Since my very first visit in August, I’ve been exposed to a welcoming environment that holds its students to high academic and behavioral standards of excellence,” Lee said.
Most of her time has been spent in the entrepreneurship class of Sherree Cox, whom Lee described as a phenomenal and dedicated teacher. Lee lauded Cox for tapping into students’ interests to guide their success.
“They were consistently engaged and went above and beyond to meet Ms. Cox’s expectations,” Lee said.
Antoinette Rochester, another UNC Charlotte student, didn’t have alternative schools in her home state, so it was educational to see one in action.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how much the faculty takes time to individually help every one of the students,” Rochester said. “Sometimes you think you have all these students coming from different schools and teachers won’t be able to give that one-on-one help, but the faculty at TPA made it their mission and were dedicated to that.”