Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 4, 1996
Donnellan School Prepares For Opening
BY KATHI STEARNS
SANDY SPRINGS--Renovations have begun at the new Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan School in preparation for its opening at the beginning of the 1996-1997 school year.
Defined as an independent private Catholic elementary school under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the school is projected to serve approximately 540 students in grades kindergarten through eight. Planning for an unusually low student-teacher ratio of 18-1, Sister Dawn Gear, GNSH, principal, projects the opening of grades K-5 in the fall of 1996, with the addition of a grade each year as the fifth grade progresses.
"My goal is to have everything in place before the 1996-1997 school year begins," Sister Gear said.
Renovations, which include remodeling, painting and the addition of computers, a new phone system, furnishings and library materials are already underway, according to Sister Gear. The construction of a cafeteria/auditorium and gym are scheduled to begin in early February. As money becomes available the board intends to continue to enhance the current facilities.
The school building is located at 4820 Long Island Drive in Sandy Springs and was the former facility of the Atlanta International School (AIS). The land and building of the AIS were purchased for $3.4 million, Dec. 12, 1994.
The new school is being funded by the board of the Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan School through foundation grants, corporate and private donations and a loan that will be amortized through operations.
The school will operate on a cost of education basis, that is, tuition will cover the actual cost of educating a child, Sister Gear said. Parishes will not be responsible for subsidizing the school. The tuition for the 1996-1997 academic year has been set at $6,700.
For those unable to pay the full tuition, the board has established a continuing assistance program to help defray expenses, Sister Gear said. By providing this assistance the board hopes to maintain a diverse socio-economic and racial balance at the school.
Sister Gear comes to the Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan School as an experienced administrator who currently leads a national school of excellence at St. John Neumann Regional School in Lilburn. Under her leadership the school earned accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1990, only four years after its founding.
"I want to start the accreditation process at the Donnellan School immediately," Sister Gear said. "The sooner we get started the better."
The Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan School is committed to a learning process that will allow each child to attain a fuller knowledge of the world, of self and of God, according to Sister Gear.
"Our purpose is to teach the Gospel values, as these values are fundamental to all education," she said. "We want to nurture the faith that the parents of our students have instilled in their children."
With religion integrated throughout the curriculum, the Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan School will offer language arts, science, social studies and mathematics. In addition, the school will have a fine arts program, a computer lab, physical education classes, a guidance program and a resource program to assist students with different learning styles.
The Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan School has the sanction of the Atlanta Archdiocese and will conform with its policies, Sister Gear said. The school's admission policy, curriculum and compliance with the general educational policies stipulated by the archdiocese are subject to review by the appropriate agencies of the archdiocese.
The school was named for Atlanta's second archbishop, who served the archdiocese for 19 years before his death in October, 1987.
The school's next open house will be held Sunday, Jan. 14 at Holy Spirit Parish, 4465 Northside Drive. For information call (404) 255-0900.