Bentonville, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter is just about set to launch its brand new school, Hope Academy. And Hope Academy’s mission might actually make it easier to open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hope Academy has been two years in the making.
“We just kind of came together as a team and decided what was going on with COVID-19 wasn’t going to affect our efforts to move forward opening the school,” Hope Academy principal Jake Gibbs said.
Gibbs said the plan is still to open up come August.
“We fully intend to open. We’re a small school anyway. Small class sizes and we’re only opening kindergarten to third grade,” Gibbs said.
It is small with only 10 students per classroom. But that is not a COVID-19 restriction. That is on purpose as hope academy aims to help children who have suffered some type of trauma.
“A lot of times with that you see kids have trouble communicating and sometimes that comes out in the form of behaviors so we wanted to maintain small class sized so we could provide a highly individualized experience for each child,” Gibbs said.
Hope Academy School board member Kathy Morledge has had a long career in education.
“It’s just something new that I have all kinds of hope that it will serve out children well,” she said.
She knows how trauma can affect a child’s education.
“Children who don’t feel safe can’t and won’t learn. So what hope academy is all about is providing that safe environment where our kids can learn, and they can grow and they can develop,” she said.
With a specially-trained staff, Gibbs said Hope Academy will benefit the entire family.
“We really feel strongly that we can leverage those relationships into a real team dynamic between the educators and the families,” Gibbs said.
It will all hopefully begin in a couple months.
Hope Academy still has a couple of open positions and needs a couple of volunteers. If you want to help out, click here.