The school year is winding down, but there’s always plenty of work to be done at B.E.S.T. Academy at Benjamin S. Carson. The faculty and staff always have their hands full trying to motivate and inspire students at the all-male Atlanta Public School. Ninth is currently the highest grade, but the ultimate goal is to expand through 12th by 2013.
B.E.S.T. is an acronym standing for Business, Engineering, Science and Technology, which is the focus of the curriculum at the sprawling $30 million school named in honor of Carson, a renowned African-American neurosurgeon. Students are immersed in a rigorous academic curriculum, which includes language arts, social studies, reading, math and science.
B.E.S.T. was initiated by Atlanta Public Schools based on the research of New York Times bestselling author, business consultant and social philosopher Michael Gurian, who asserts that girls and boys have different learning styles. As a result, B.E.S.T teachers employ teaching strategies that are geared toward the general learning styles of boys.
School leaders admit there are plenty of obstacles. The fact that more than 90 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch speaks to the economic challenges in the surrounding community, but there is also plenty of evidence of progress. In the 2009-2010 school year, the school met its Annual Yearly Progress projections and for the first time it was removed from the school system’s “needs improvement list.”
Here’s a behind the scenes look at the school during our visit.