Atlanta’s Best Kept Secret Is Creating Dynamic Young Ladies for Success

Written by  //  March 6, 2013  //  Community  // 


By Courtney D. Ward
Jul 2012

Nestled on the northwest side of Atlanta, the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) is a rising stellar academy that is pushing the envelope for academic achievement for young girls. The academy opened its doors in 2007, and has been welcoming young girls across the Atlanta area since its opening.

The academy was initiated by the Atlanta Public School System, and since its opening, the Academy has enrolled over 400 students for its middle school, and 230 students for its high school. Though young, and still adding grade levels to its high school, the CSKYWLA has been busy exposing their students to a plethora of community events, academic programs, and of course field trips. But these field trips are no ordinary trips. They’ve toured Google, Microsoft Headquarters, and even attended the unveiling of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial ceremony. Yes, these girls have the tools, support, and connections to perform nothing but excellence in the classroom.

The academy is not private, nor chartered. It is simply an all girls public school, dedicated to empowering students to be strong young ladies mentally, physically, and emotionally. Dr. Dione Simon, principle of the middle school, describes the school as being a community of women who are encouraging each other to do their very best in everything that they do. “We are asking them to reach their full academic potential,” says Dr. Simon. “We are expecting them to do their absolute best.”

Following the leadership of Mrs. King’s community involvement, the girls give over 75-hours of community service, and participate in a 100-day nonviolence awareness campaign. Understanding the power of nonviolence, the girls journal for 100-days on ways they can make a difference without being violent.

The Kings’ Presence

With strong ties to the King family, Dr. Bernice King, the youngest daughter, has had an influential presence in the school. Stopping by to chat with the girls, inviting them to the King Center, and most recently ensuring the girls took part in the unveiling of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., Dr. Bernice King has a strong relationship with the academy.

Though the academy was formed after the passing of Mrs. Coretta Scott King, the academy incorporates her principles, passion, and strength throughout its curriculum and service. Their uniform colors are light pink and chocolate, and are a representation of Mrs. King’s membership with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Incorporated Sorority, and her favorite color.

Academic Achievement and Beyond

Ensuring that the students are surrounded by positive, influential women in Atlanta, the students participate in a program called “Dignity Day.” This event allows the girls to interact with women who are proactive in the community, own their own businesses, and are leaders in the business realm. Since today’s society is technology driven, the academy introduces programming in the classroom. The students are able to learn the fundamentals of computer programming and social media. The academy has 3 computer labs, 3 media centers, and uses interactive boards in the classroom.

Every morning the girls recite a pledge, and creed that reaffirms their ability to be astounding women of color. Phrases like “I will go for the best and nothing less”, “I will devastate mediocrity, or “I will elevate my thinking”, are strong affirmations that the girls recite, and actually live by. “I enjoy listening to them say it because you can see the change happening in them, almost immediately,” says Dr. Simon. “It’s a reaffirmation of how wonderful, powerful, and beautiful they are.”

Academic and athletic programs include: robotics, book club, writer’s club, debate club, culinary club, technology club, soccer, tennis, softball, and basketball. Addressing the issue of childhood obesity, the academy started a program called “Go Girl Go”.  It’s a physical fitness program encouraging the girls to be health conscious and physically fit.

With little buzz in the news, the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy is Atlanta’s best kept secret that is creating dynamic young ladies for success.

Their Pledge:

I will be on top of my game.

I will stand out and not just fit in.

I will be the greatest influence.

I will take charge of my life.

I will go for the best and not settle for less.

I will step up and take my throne.

I will positively pressure my peers.

I will leave “common” behind.

I will reject commonality.

I will refuse to be regular.

I will distinguish myself.

I will elevate my thinking.

I will set the rules.

I will recreate the norm.

I will devastate mediocrity.

I will not cheat.

I will not take short-cuts.

I will make the grade.

I will take responsibility for my actions.

I will lead the way non-violently.

Their Creed:

As much as I attempt to calm the

chaos around me called life, I can’t.

I can only control myself.

However, I have been told countless times that I am intelligent, courageous, strong, and beautiful.

So, from this moment on, every

indelible mark I make upon myself or my community will embody a piece of me.

That indelible mark will embody

Intelligence, courageousness, strength and beauty because they are what make ME!



Dr. Dione Simon (pictured above), Middle School Principle for the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy

Courtney_Ward-NewCourtney D. Ward
“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” -Maya AngelouAs an up and coming journalist, Courtney D. Ward is determined to be an accomplished writer. A native of Atlanta, GA, Courtney attended Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in News Editorial. In 2009, she received the Journalist of the Year Award at the Bethune-Cookman University Massey Awards Ceremony. She is currently a Feature Writer for Esteem Magazine.Visit her in “Twitter-land” @ writedayz.

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