Andrew Campanella: I read a great story about how Carolina School for Inquiry students visited war heroes at the VA and brought them care packages. Tell me more about your school and how this act of service came about?
Anthony Bryant: Our school here at Carolina School for Inquiry is comprised of about 180 students. And we do inquiry-based learning where kids are active in the learning process. One of the programs that I started here is our Boys’ Leadership Academy. It’s comprised of third through sixth grade male students and we help them develop and implement leadership qualities so they can grow up to be successful adults. We teach responsibility, integrity, time management, manners, and one of our components is service.
Andrew: What is your school’s approach to helping individual students succeed?
Anthony: I think what makes our school special is our mission statement. Our mission is to teach a diverse population of children in an atmosphere of kindness that encourages active inquiry, fosters individual growth, and promotes respect for self and others in the world in which we live. It’s more like a family here.
Andrew: Do you think students benefit from the feeling of being cared for in addition to being educated?
Anthony: There’s an old saying, “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Each child that comes in here is always greeted with hugs, from not just one or two, but basically every teacher that they come in contact with. We create a safe and loving environment, so it’s easy to teach when that is in place.
Andrew: Why do you think giving parents opportunities to choose school is important?
Anthony: I think that with the individual needs of children, some may not enjoy the traditional type of school setting that is available. So I think giving parents a choice gives them the power to be more in control of their children’s education. We have parents that travel past several schools to come to our school, some as far as 45 minutes away. They invest in the life of their child. So it’s an investment, that they can choose a school of choice. I think that gives them more power to invest in the lives and the education of their children.
Andrew: How does Carolina School for Inquiry participate in National School Choice Week?
Anthony: We attend a lot of the local rallies at our state capitol building. We engage in contests about “Why I love my school.” And we have Wear Yellow Day, where students wear yellow all day. There are activities that we do throughout the week just to highlight National School Choice Week with the yellow scarves. We have a dance competition and then all the students get together and do the National School Choice dance. So, it’s an exciting time and kids are still wearing the scarves even after it. They love them.