VALDOSTA — Scintilla Charter Academy added a new grade of students Wednesday for the first time in the school’s five-year history.

Sixth-graders roamed the halls of Scintilla for the 2019-20 school year after the decision was approved last school year for the school to expand.

Most of the sixth graders have been at Scintilla since the school opened and learning they would get to stay at the school was good news.

“A lot of my friends would have to go to different middle schools, but we all got to stay here,” said Caroline Smith, a sixth-grader.

Smith started attending Scintilla in the second grade, and the whole school feels like one big family, she said.

“The teachers are all super nice, and they help you when you need it,” Smith said. “The kids are also super nice to everyone.”

Because she’s in the sixth grade now, her classes have changed too. She gets to take two elective classes — one she chooses and the other that she’s required to take.

She said she is most excited about her entrepreneurial elective class, but she could also take a class in agriculture, engineering and band.

There could be more potential good news for Smith and her sixth-grade peers.

The school is seeking approval to expand some more, said Mandy Avera, dean of students.

“We’re excited to keep building and keep adding grades,” Avera said. “We would like to take this class right on up — that’s our number one goal.”

Along with looking into having all elementary and middle school grades at the school, Scintilla has other big plans to look forward to this year.

The capital campaign is kicking off with the goal of building a new movement and arts center.

“We’ll be going out and speaking to businesses and families and continuing that initiative to build our movement and arts center,” said Amanda Miller, assistant dean.

The new facility will be integral in teaching the arts curriculum as well as new curriculum the school could provide to new classes of middle school students.

The school will be up for accreditation, a process that charter schools go through to determine whether or not they are a trustworthy institution.

Avera said meeting these goals means a busy year ahead.

Luckily, the first day was a success.

“So far, so good,” Avera said. “There’s lots of bright, shining faces and happy parents.”

Enrollment is at approximately 590 students, Avera said.

The charter school has a long waiting list. Miller said the school will continue looking at its waiting list until Dec. 31. The lottery process for the next school year begins the next day. 

For questions about Scintilla and its enrollment process, call (229) 244-5750 or visit

Katelyn Umholtz is a reporter with the Valdosta Daily Times. She can be contacted at (229)244-3400 ext. 1256.

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