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SR1 CPSA: Shaping the future of education in Mississippi

Ridgeland, MS — In its inaugural year in 2023-24, the SR1 College Preparatory and STEM Academy (CPSA) located in Canton, MS, is leading an educational transformation in Mississippi, backed by the visionary non-profit organization SR1. With a focus on college preparatory and STEM education, the academy leverages extensive grassroots experience to pioneer new educational pathways, aiming to nurture unparalleled student achievements.

Despite facing initial skepticism about the feasibility of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education at the elementary level, SR1 CPSA has surmounted initial hurdles, including narrow recruitment windows and a community not fully aware of the potential of STEM and charter schools. Starting with just 15 students, the academy’s enrollment has impressively expanded to over 100, nearing its full capacity of 225 students for the 2024-25 academic year.

Founder Tamu Green believes that the essence of a charter school’s success lies in its innovation and adaptability. “The charter realm harbors incredible potential for innovation,” Green asserts. Coming from a humble background in rural Forest, MS, and evolving into a two-time college STEM graduate with an MBA from Mississippi State University, Green’s journey from head start programs to professional leadership embodies a remarkable blend of resilience, cultural competency, and expertise.

The academy’s commitment to quality is evident in its policy of limiting enrollment to 75 students per grade while planning to expand gradually. SR1 CPSA will have K, 1st, and 2nd grades for 2024-25 while adding one grade per year. 

To broaden its impact, SR1 CPSA has initiated strategic efforts to enhance enrollment and community engagement. Highlighting student achievements, parent testimonials, and utilizing social media, the academy aims to integrate more deeply into the local fabric. These initiatives are bolstered by partnerships and active participation in community events to promote its STEM-focused curriculum further.

SR1 CPSA is expanding its educational offerings to include PreK early learning, intending to improve school readiness from a young age. Additionally, the academy is tackling the challenge of an innovative wastewater system, in developing a cutting-edge campus that exceeds the norms of traditional educational settings. This displays SR1 CPSA’s sustainable commitment to environments that support both academic success and well-being.

Guided by the latest in neuroscience, psychology, and other fields, the upcoming campus will embrace principles of Neuroarchitecture, Biophilic Design (increased connectivity with nature), and Salutogenic Design (an environment that supports health and well-being). This comprehensive approach marks a departure from conventional school designs, prioritizing spaces that foster both educational excellence and personal well-being.

SR1 CPSA is calling on stakeholders to actively participate in redefining educational environments to fulfill the needs of upcoming generations. Crucially, to align with the Mississippi Charter Authorizer Board’s recent stipulations for the 2024-25 academic year, due to an increase in student numbers, SR1 CPSA is tasked with securing a $700,000 educational contingency fund.

This requirement comes despite the academy’s projections of financial profitability for the next academic year. We invite our community to support us in meeting this essential milestone, ensuring that we continue to offer unparalleled educational opportunities.

This venture aims not only to raise educational standards but also to equip students to face the complexities of the future confidently. For more information visit our website at www.sr1cpsa.org , email: [email protected] or call: 769.275.0330. 

This ambitious project, based on evidence-based strategies to enhance student outcomes and well-being, is set to significantly transform the landscape of educational design, heralding a new era of educational excellence in Mississippi and beyond.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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