News and Tribune

Education/Schools

February 13, 2014

Clarksville school officials excited about new direction

Renaissance Academy slated to open in August

CLARKSVILLE — Bill Wilson, board president of Clarksville schools, says the name of the town’s new home to learning opens up a world of possibilities for students.

The under-construction school — which has been referred to as a New Tech high school — will now be known as Renaissance Academy, A New Technology High School.

Wilson said in conversations with community members about the concept of a New Tech school, they kept bringing up technology in a literal sense. The concept of a New Tech school centers on problem-based projects that students approach on a number of levels, including the use of technology.

“Bringing it about this fashion, to me, it opens up a whole new realm,” Wilson said. “It doesn’t just say computers.”

Mike Kane, board member, said he’s glad to see more movement on the project, but is also sure it won’t do anything to detract from what the district’s already doing at the high school.

“This is great, I’m excited about,” Kane said. “This won’t affect our current facilities. Educators at the current buildings will still educate our students. We’re not taking anything away from our kids that are already enrolled.”

The first class will only include about 100 freshmen, since the first phase of construction will be the only completed portion in August 2014.

Representatives from the district’s advertising firm for branding the school, Bandy Carroll Hellige, presented the name and logo for the first time at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Mark Carroll, founding partner of Bandy Carroll Hellige, said the name was chosen to pull from the town’s history, but also show where it can go with a contemporary education model and facility.

“We think the name has the distinctiveness that borrows from our history and borrows from our future,” Carroll said. “We also think, very importantly, the word academy sets us apart from just a school.”

But a second piece was also unveiled with the name, which Carroll described as a subtext for the brand, “A New Technology High School.”

Carroll said that piece will remain to help establish the brand and will show up on billboards and websites, but isn’t a permanent portion of the name. However, he said it also carries purpose.

“[It doesn’t say] a New Tech high school,” Carroll said. “Technology is a different word than tech and in the realm of education, it conjures up certain things. But it effectively describes who we are.”

He said the use of the word renaissance in the name also represents the revitalization of the property — the former Value City building at 806 Eastern Parkway, which has been vacant for the better part of a decade.

Marketing should become more apparent in March. Carroll said billboards, mailers and other materials will advertise the school.

Though the color scheme — gray and orange — is shown in logos, Carroll said it’s possible the district will allow the first class of freshmen to select new school colors next school year.

The board on Tuesday also voted to hire the first six educators for the school, which they refer to as facilitators. All but one are current employees of the district.

Anne Bird will handle art; Amy Clere will facilitate art languages; Pam Cooper will head special education; Connie Holstine will teach math; Kristen Shipman will teach English; Virginia Shirley will head science; and Joshua Whicker will teach social studies.

Brian Allred, Clarksville High School’s principal who will take over as Renaissance Academy’s director next school year, said he expects at least one more staff member announcement at the next board meeting.

Information sessions for parents interested in enrolling their children are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. March 4 and 5 at Kye’s I, 500 Missouri Ave., Jeffersonville.

Jim Bemiss, board member, said he’s excited for the first class of students to arrive at Renaissance Academy, but maintaining the level of education at their other facilities is also a big concern of his.

“Staffing this new idea without cannibalizing our high school was always a major concern of mine,” Bemiss said. “I think we’ve managed to do that. I appreciate the time and the effort that everyone’s’ put into it and what they’ll be asked to do from this point on. It’s not going to be your grandfather’s high school.”

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