CHARLOTTE, NC – The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) each year awards schools in every state with the Exemplary High Performing National Blue Ribbon Schools Award. This year, among the winners in North Carolina was the Socrates Academy, a public charter school based in Charlotte, whose mission includes “particular emphasis on developing proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics both in English and Greek through the use of the Socratic Method.”
A two-day ceremony in Washington, DC celebrating the top-performing schools included congratulations by DOE Secretary Betsy DeVos, who said these schools rank in the top 1 percent of over 130,000 public and private schools throughout the country.
Socrates Co-Founder and President Larry Peroulas told The National Herald that the Academy “was honored as an Exemplary National School of Excellence to confirm the creative and effective work for its research-based – evidence driven Greek- American curriculum, its multi-year academic collaboration with the University of North Carolina, other national institutions and Greek Universities and mutual beneficial community and business partnerships toward the creation of a modern, safe and bilingual/multicultural hospitable school ” for children from all over the world without any discrimination against children with special needs, gender, ethnicity, color, religion and family income level.” He said this is not the first time Socrates has been awarded; it won numerous other awards and has been ranked as a top school in North Carolina for many years.
Socrates Principal Sandra Brighton said that “Socrates Academy is honored to receive this award and join this distinguished list of our nation’s top schools. We have worked hard to develop a multi-lingual and multi-cultural academic program that fosters critical thinking, and this award reflects the fruits of those efforts. I’m grateful to all of our teachers, staff, directors, community members, families and, most of all, our scholars and our volunteer Board of Directors for making this happen.”
At the end of the ceremony, Peroulas and Brighton visited the Greek Embassy in DC to inform Greek Ambassador Harris Lalacos of the award and of Socrates’ success in general, and to thank Greece for its support in providing certified Greek teachers for the school’s Greek Language Immersion program.
Peroulas said that “every year, over 60 students take part in the annual official Ellinomatheia Exams achieving excellent results at the various levels of knowledge of the Greek language and having the unique opportunity to acquire additional high school and university credits.”
He also told TNH that Socrates began operating in 2005 “with only 67 students, in Kindergarten and first grade, and today and without any promotional efforts has 700 scholars in grades K-8 and a waiting list of over 550 children who want to join the school but the Academy cannot accept them because of lack of space.
“The Socrates Academy Foundation has recently secured a additional 12 acres of land next to the existing one and we are in the planning of building a new facility complex to expand into a high school, have a second gym and state-of-the-art sports facilities. “We hope that with the help of our committed donors who have already embraced the enormous efforts we have made so far, as well as with the financial support and encouragement of other philanthropic foundations and educational organizations that applaud what we are doing for our Greek Language, culture, and unsurpassed Greek heritage to be able to realize our community’s dream to expand to high school grades as soon as possible so that the dream of the volunteer founders/Board members of the Academy becomes reality.”