York Academy drives students to their highest potential

It’s an intensive program that gives students an edge, leaving high school with not just a diploma but college credits and a chance to stand out from the crowd.

Written by: Anthony Machcinski
From learning to master a musical instrument to speaking a second language and becoming active members of the community, York Academy students like ninth-grader Joy Agummadu stand out among their peers. (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

Joy Agummadu’s passion is in her step and power in the words she recites from the front of the room.

The step and dance class she attends is just a moment in a busy day for the ninth grade York Academy Regional Charter School student – but it’s an outlet that her teachers encourage as she develops a global, community-centered mindset.

Like a lot of students, Joy is busy. She attends classes, powering through homework during study hall, and runs off to after-school track and step and dance practice.

By the time she gets home for dinner, she helps get her younger brothers to bed, wraps up any final school work, and gets to sleep. The next morning, she’s off to York Academy to do it all over again. It’s the challenge that drives her.

On free periods, Joy gets a jump on homework, giving her time for several after school activities. She estimates she has a few hours of homework every night. (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

Since the Agummadu family moved to York County two years ago, Joy’s mother, Paris, says she’s seen her daughter grow as a young woman who tackles the tasks before her and then asks for more.

“When we first moved here, I wanted my children in a progressive educational environment,” Paris says. “I drove by the Lower School one day, and I said to myself, ‘I’m sending my kids here.’”

York Academy and its International Baccalaureate program aren’t for everybody, but for students like Joy looking to reach their full potential, the hard work pushes them to be some of York’s brightest.

More than a credential

The International Baccalaureate program is more than just a credential.

College acceptance rates for International Baccalaureate program graduates are higher. The University of Penn, for example, accepts 78% of International Baccalaureate graduates compared to 21% of the general population.

When we first moved here, I wanted my children in a progressive educational environment. I drove by the Lower School one day, and I said to myself, ‘I’m sending my kids here.’

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Paris Agummadu York Academy parent

From learning to master a musical instrument to speaking a second language and becoming active members of the community – all with the promise of graduating with not just an IB diploma, but with college credits – York Academy students stand out among their peers.

While the International Baccalaureate programme is demanding for students, the process a school must go through to offer it is just as intensive: It’s a years-long development that includes observations and faculty training before finally reaching accreditation.

York Academy’s Primary Years and Middle Years Programmes have already been accredited; its Diploma Programme for 11th and 12th grade is currently undergoing the process.

“We know what the expectation is,” says Dr. Dennis Baughman, CEO of York Academy. “We believe we have done everything that we need to do to get accreditation.”

Once York Academy receives that accreditation, it will become only the second school in the state to receive accreditation for all three levels of the programmes. It’s one more step in putting York on the map for innovation.

(Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)
(Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)
(Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)
(Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)
After finishing her school day, which includes taping an entertainment segment that airs during York Academy's morning announcements, Joy runs off to after-school track practice, followed by step and dance practices at her church. (Photos by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

Reaching their potential

After she graduates, Joy wants to attend college for fashion or law. Whether her path takes the creative or executive route, she’s developed the skills that help her reach her goals – no matter what they are.

Schoolwork isn’t just writing papers or taking tests. Students often work on collaborative projects and sometimes find themselves leading lessons in the classroom. It’s classroom experience that relates to real-world scenarios.

Challenges remain on the horizon for the ninth-grader – including a community-centered service project she’ll brainstorm, design and execute next year – but she’s up for the task.

“York Academy is always pushing me,” Joy says. “I’m ready for whatever comes my way.”

As busy as Joy might be with homework and after-school activities, she'd never give it up. "I'm ready for whatever comes my way." (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

Story paid for by York Academy Regional Charter School

yorkacademy.com
717-801-3900
32 West North St. York, PA 17401

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