FREEPORT - Lakeland Academy, located at 101 East Main St. in Freeport, held a three-hour open house for parents, donors, local officials and the community Friday afternoon. The event was, in part, a celebration of how far the school has come since it opened in fall of 2012.
Lakeland Academy is a public charter school for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, sponsored by the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center (NCOESC). Attendance more than doubled this year, and the school now has a student population of 62, with four teachers and two paraprofessional aides. The students are from not only Freeport, but also Cadiz, Tippecanoe, Piedmont, and Guernsey County. Though it's nearly impossible to see from the interior, the school's building is a former grocery store that has been remodeled.
Tim Ross, a representative from Gov. Kasich's office, spoke to congratulate Lakeland Academy on its accomplishments.
T-L Photo/ MOLLIE WARNER
Tim Ross, a representative of Gov. Kasich, poses with Lakeland Academy cofounders Jennifer Fisher (left) and Annette Ryser (right).
"I think this is a pretty awesome opportunity for Freeport. It's something you can all be proud of. It's a wonderful thing for the county, and a great thing for the kids that are coming here," he said. "Education is so important to everything down the road. So much of what a child will become is set here especially in the early years." Ross also commented on the importance of education in rural areas, specifically in terms of job creation and obtainment.
Ross then read from a proclamation from Gov. Kasich. It said, in part, "On behalf of the state of Ohio we join all of those gathered in congratulating Lakeland Academy community school on its open house. This occasion is a reminder of all the hard work and dedication that has resulted in the completion of this project, and we are confident that your presence will have a positive impact on the Freeport community."
Lakeland Academy was cofounded by Annette Ryser and Jennifer Fisher. Both women said they were pleased with the open house and the opportunity it presented to celebrate the school's success.
Teacher LaVerne Foster, who has been with Lakeland since start-up, said she was thrilled with the event, and happy to see the attendance increase.
"I think it's wonderful. We're so excited, and the staff here is fabulous. We couldn't ask for better."
The open house was also used as an opportunity to clarify a misconception about funding. Though grants of $250,000 were issued recently to new, start-up schools, Lakeland is technically not included among them. The academy was assigned an internal retrieval number (IRN) number from an existing school after taking over a district from Seneca County. Having that number also confuses data about academic achievement. The school's last report card included statistics from the other school for two years, and Lakeland's academic prowess will be reflected accurately after three more years.
Warner may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.