Friendship Schools broke ground May 30 on expansion of the Friendship Technology Preparatory Academy to make way for the addition of eleventh and twelfth grade classes at the Southeast Washington facility.
Opened in 2009, Technology Preparatory Academy currently serves students in the sixth through tenth grades. After the scheduled completion of construction in August 2014, the school’s student body will include 620 students in grades six through 12.
Tech Prep Academy is one of six schools in the Friendship Charter School System. It focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics with an emphasis in environmental science. The new building is to include a high-tech SMART lab, a robotics lab, two chemistry labs, two biology labs and a greenhouse.
“We highly invest in our students,” said Doranna Tindle, principal of Tech Prep Academy. “We have the highest standards for our children. We get the kids socially, academically and physically involved.”
In addition to the school’s small class sizes, which allow staff to provide individualized attention on students, Tindle attributed the school’s success to enthusiasm among students, teachers and staff.
“When you walk into the school, it gives you a sense of family,” Tindle said.
Tech Prep offers a Saturday learning camp where students voluntarily go in to work on class assignments or participate in activities.
“We have the highest turnout, 100 students, in the Friendship charter school program,” said Tindle. “The students love going to the camp and they love their school and whether they are in an activity or not, or just talking to teachers, students show up Saturdays week after week.”
Tindle spoke fondly of the school's community garden, where students enthusiastically volunteer to tend and water the plants.
“They are always so eager to participate," she said.
Tindle stated that her main goal as principle is to keep the students on track for graduation and prepared for college. As part of the mission to prepare students for college life, Tech Prep recently took a group of students on a four-day trip to Atlanta. They visited the schools of their choice. Tech Prep next will take 13 students on a service study trip to Costa Rica for language immersion and environmental science study.
Thirty-one tenth graders will make up Tech Prep Academy’s first graduating class.
“I absolutely believe that education is transformative,” Tindle stated. “To get a student in the sixth grade, to watch them develop mentally and emotionally, and to see them grow over the year and throughout the years is truly rewarding.”