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Ann Jerkins-Harris Academy of Excellence celebrates a decade of services

What opened as the Academy of Educational Excellence ten years ago is now named after its late founder, Ann Jerkins-Harris, who died on Feb. 8, 2021.

TOLEDO, Ohio — A Toledo charter school is heading into its tenth year in service and leaders said they still have many exciting years to come. 

What opened as the Academy of Educational Excellence ten years ago is now named after its late founder, Ann Jerkins-Harris, who died on Feb. 8, 2021.

School leaders said more than 100 children from kindergarten through sixth grade attend the school, learning in an academically challenging, creative and emotionally supportive environment.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Israel Koppisch said providing that environment to young learners is part of their mission, a vision began by Jerkins-Harris.

"She's no longer with us, but she's here in this place. She's pushing us to achieve our goal," Koppisch said. "The board, the administration, the teachers, we're all committed to that goal."

Koppisch said the academy has provided students with services they might not get elsewhere since its founding in 2012.

"Providing what they need per grade, providing the services they need including (special education), including speech therapy, including occupational therapy," he said. "All the related services they need, we provide those here."

Office Manager Charlisa Blackshear said the school wants to ensure the education is "impactful" on the students.

"We don't want students to just feel like a number or parents to feel like they're just sending their kid somewhere," she said. "We want them to go home excited. Then that brings the parent in like, 'oh, what's going on in the classroom?' Or that sparks them to be volunteers in the classroom."

Blackshear said when students transition into seventh grade at a different school, it's a bittersweet farewell to a tightly-knit relationship. 

"The plus side is we've set up partnerships with Jones Leadership Academy, St. John's, St. Francis to where they come in and they speak with our fifth and sixth graders, to get them to think about the future," she said.

School officials already have goals in mind for the next 10 years:

"Continue becoming a leadership school, be leaders in what we do and provide the best learning environment for our students," Koppisch said.

Students return to the classroom on Aug. 22.

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