While all local schools are focusing on making sure their students and staff members are able to handle taking classes online or in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some implemented new programs and/or opened new facilities in August when the 2020-21 academic year began.

Here is a rundown of those schools’ new programs and facilities, based on answers to a questionnaire the Neighbor emailed each one:

Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin Academy has implemented virtual cross country and virtual Green Club programs “to generate community connections during the pandemic,” school spokeswoman Angela Cassidy said. “We have added more Hebrew classes this year and are offering more classes taught outside, like philosophy and art.”


The Galloway School has started its first year partnering with Global Online Academy, a consortium of schools across the world that offer online courses for its upper school students.

“GOA allows our students to take courses in unique subjects that Galloway might not offer while also connecting with faculty and students worldwide,” Galloway spokeswoman Meghan Stauts said. “GOA also offers several professional development opportunities for our faculty members.”

Holy Innocents’

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School has commenced construction on a new upper school humanities Building. The creation of a cross country course on campus was completed this summer.

Holy Spirit Prep

Holy Spirit Preparatory School expanded its band program for 2020-21, hiring a band director at the lower school and a new director of performing arts, who has taken band programs from brand new to Carnegie Hall in four years. The school also started a Latin class for its middle school.


The Howard School is offering a new robotics program.


Marist School opened its new Goizueta Center for Immersive Experience and Design in August. The center serves as the centerpiece of the school’s STEAM 2.0 initiative. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

“The Goizueta Center’s overarching goal is to help students build empathy through exploration of STEAM subjects such as robotics, engineering, 3D design and printing, virtual and augmented reality, immersive media and media studies, podcasting, broadcasting, documentary filmmaking and music technology,” Marist spokeswoman Anne Stanford said.

Located on the bottom floor of the Wooldridge Center, which also houses the school’s library and Marist Academic Center, the Goizueta Center is a leading-edge concept that elevates and evolves what a makerspace has been in schools for the last decade and provides a cooperative, open space that brings together individual components of Marist’s STEAM program.

North Springs

North Springs Charter High School is implementing Project Lead the Way, a new engineering curriculum.


Pace Academy is continuing construction on the Kam Memar Lower School, a three-story, 36,500-square-foot building adjoining Pace’s existing lower school facility. The new building will open in August 2021.


Riverwood International Charter School’s campus is being redeveloped in three phases as it takes over the property formerly occupied by Heards Ferry Elementary. Work began in 2015, when Heards Ferry’s old facilities were demolished. Phase I, which started in 2016 and opened the following year, includes an 112,500-square-foot addition with 30 classrooms and a new baseball field.

Phase II was finished last year and featured the build-out of the main classroom portion of the new school, including the career technical and agricultural education classrooms, the cafeteria and the media center. The work also included installation of mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment along with partition walls and flooring.

Phase III commenced in 2020 and is expected to end in 2022. It involves the physical education/health and performing arts areas (which include the auditorium, music, drama, band, orchestra and chorus) as well as tennis courts, practice fields and more parking.


The Wesleyan School broke ground on additions and improvements to the Hoyt Family Athletic Complex in mid-February, and they are expected to be completed in October. Specific additions and improvements include the construction of a new, 13,000-square-foot field house that includes four locker rooms, an athletic training room, concessions and public restrooms.

“The construction of a dedicated lacrosse stadium and a new synthetic turf field were added to support the school’s growing lacrosse program as well as the school’s football and soccer programs,” Wesleyan spokeswoman Jennifer Copeland said. “Wren Stadium at Agape Field, the home of Wesleyan’s softball program, was relocated from its previous location at the end of the Morris-Fletcher Quadrangle to the Hoyt Family Athletic Complex to make room for future projects.

“Finally, an additional 60 parking spaces will be created to support the high traffic generated by the athletic events hosted on this end of campus.”

Other schools

Atlanta Classical, Atlanta Girls’, Atlanta International, Lovett, Weber and Woodward have no new programs or facilities for 2020-21.


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