Taylor Exemplar Academy: one year later

Fourteen months ago, Taylor Exemplar Academy first opened its doors to 290 K-5 students. Today, nearly 500 students attend the Goddard Road school, which will add a grade each year up to the eighth grade.

“Rich in its diversity, the school creates an atmosphere of high academic expectations to prepare students for success in high school, college and beyond,” said Phil Price, principal of Taylor Exemplar Academy (TEA). “In partnership with parents and the community, Taylor Exemplar Academy provides a challenging academic program that is aligned with Michigan Core Curriculum Content Standards.”

Since its opening, Taylor Exemplar has been dedicated to creating eager learners and civic-minded students, and has made tremendous strides to help its students achieve. In its first year alone, there was a 14-percent increase in reading proficiency among the school’s students.

A public charter school open to all students, Taylor Exemplar is authorized by Bay Mills Community College and is managed by National Heritage Academies, a leading charter school operator with a vision to better educate more children. The academy’s teaching practices and atmosphere received a “highly satisfied” ranking from 92 percent of the parents during the 2006-2007 school year. This led to TEA earning the No. 1 ranking among all National Heritage Academies’ 55 schools in the category of parent satisfaction.

In honor of the school’s success, Taylor Mayor Cameron Priebe recently paid a visit to Taylor Exemplar. During a tour of the facility, Mayor Priebe visited a number of the school’s classrooms, sitting in on several innovative instructional programs and meeting many of the school’s highly qualified teaching staff. All of TEA’s teachers hold valid teaching certificates, while 50 percent of the school’s teachers hold master’s degrees. Also, all of TEA’s paraprofessionals are highly qualified to provide supplemental instruction to students.

”Taylor Exemplar Academy provides educational opportunities that prepare students for the future,” Mayor Priebe said. “I am especially impressed by the four pillars that help students become responsible citizens. I wish every school taught morality, responsibility, respect, courage and perseverance. As a relatively new charter school, the academy complements our excellent educational system in Taylor.”

Price said: “As it continues to establish itself as a leading school in the area, Taylor Exemplar will look to add programs and resources to maximize each student’s educational experience." This year, the school has introduced several new extra-curricular programs, including basketball, soccer and cheerleading.

“Founded on the four pillars of academic excellence, moral focus, parental partnership and student responsibility, we have developed a culture that challenges each student to achieve in school, while providing building blocks for each student to become caring community citizens,” Price added. “Not only has the community completely supported our goals and efforts, but through their involvement, they are a critical component in the success of our students.”

A cornerstone of success for National Heritage Academies’ schools is parental involvement. With an understanding that parents are an integral element in a child’s education, Taylor Exemplar has established an “open-door” policy to ensure that the lines of communication are always open. This approach ensures that parents remain informed and engaged with school activities.

“The success of our school is predicated on the continued dedication of our teaching staff, the commitment of our students and support of parents and residents,” Price said. “In such a short time, we’ve already seen tremendous individual growth and accomplished so much as a group. We look forward to serving the children and families of Taylor for many years to come.”

Mayor Priebe led the students, staff and volunteers in the "Pledge of Allegiance" and then talked about the four pillars that make the Taylor charter school so important.

Taylor Mayor Cameron G. Priebe visits a classroom during his stop at Taylor Exemplar Academy.