Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcasting live from Music Row on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Leahy was joined in studio by all-star panelists State Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) and Thales Academy-Franklin Administrator Rachel Bradley.
During the third hour, Leahy and Bradley touched upon the 15 outcomes expected at Thales Academy-Franklin. Bradley noted their emphasis on unfailing integrity, virtuous leadership, self-reliance, critical thinking, continuous learning and developing a strong work ethic.
Leahy: You can meet her tonight at 6:30 p.m. at The Gate Community Church. That’s at 3835 Carothers Parkway. To sign up, go to ThalesAcademy.org/Franklin. Now you’ll be there Rachel and you’ll be talking more about direct instruction. Bob Luddy, the founder of Thales Academy and a very successful businessman will be there. I will be there.
And please if you’re a listener and you’ve wanted to say hello to me. Please come by and say hello. As other all-star panelists will be there Crom Carmichael, Carol Swain, former Vanderbilt professor, and Ben Cunningham who is now the official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report.
Roberts: I want to say too, it doesn’t matter, you don’t have to have school-aged kids. You just have to have an interest in education today to learn that there are alternatives to what is taking place in some of the classrooms. It’s great if you are an advocate or just want to learn about alternatives. It would be a great event to come to.
Leahy: Absolutely. Now, Rachel, you are going to talk about the 15 Thales outcomes. People are very interested in finding out about that. Tell us about what they are.
Bradley: Well, I really want to encourage people to check out our website at ThalesAcademy.org and you can check out the complete list.
Roberts: Now wait. Hold on a second. You’ve got to spell that for people. Thales is T-H-A-L-E-S. Just in case some people aren’t catching that.
Leahy: And Thales was the original Greek philosopher back from 500-600 BC who moved thought from mythology to science, logic, and evidence.
Bradley: Absolutely. Thank you.
Leahy: And that’s why Bob Luddy…
Bradley: That’s right.
Leahy: Chose that name.
Bradley: Yes. It’s a great name. I’m glad you brought that up Kerry because a lot of people do see it, and they think it’s pronounced T-hales.
Roberts: Right. Right.
Bradley: We are always correcting and spelling that. It is T-H-A-L-E-S. And we say Thay-Lees. As in the Greek philosopher.
Roberts: I’m sorry for the interruption. I know people are going to Google this, and we want to make sure they get it right.
Bradley: Absolutely. Just to highlight a few of our 15 Thales outcomes. Unfailing integrity. Virtuous leadership. Self-reliance. Critical thinking. Continuous learning. Strong work ethic. So again if you go to our website and read the complete list, you’ll see where we are putting emphasis on where we are developing our students.
And so, Mr. Luddy who founded the school with a unique perspective. He runs one of the top engineering companies in the country, Captive Air Kitchen Ventilation. And what he found was, he can hire competent engineers, but they were lacking all of these soft skills.
Bradley: Right. And so you know he saw a need. And clearly that is lacking. I think about our kids today and how much time they spend on screen and social media.
Leahy: Consuming information but perhaps not thinking.
Bradley: They don’t know how to interact with other adults. Can they play well with others? That’s important in the workplace.
Roberts: And putting things in context too. One of the important things is our traditional American values and also being a truth seeker. And I love the fact that the academy is not ashamed to put that out there. There is so much apologizing that you see on the left sometimes and I love the fact that we say this is something we’re going to teach our students.
Leahy: See what you’ve done already Rachel. I’ve already been an evangelist for Thales Academy. Now State Senator Kerry Roberts is an evangelist for Thales Academy. And I think if you come to the Thales Academy informational meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. in Franklin. Go to ThalesAcademy.org/Franklin. What else will people learn tonight at this event?
Bradley: Well, for parents, you’ll get a full school day overview and just see what your child’s day will be like. I can talk specifically about the curriculum. About our character development. Again there will be another Thales administrator there Heather Brain, one of my good friends.
I promised I’d mention some of the other admins today on the radio because they’re listening, and they’ve been mentors to me. She was my administrator when I was teaching first grade at Thales-Raleigh. And Hillary Herman was my mentor at Apex before I moved into the administration position. We have such a strong core group leading this school.
Leahy: And very committed. The other thing I get when I visited Thales Academy schools in the Raleigh area, everybody is on board. The teachers are on fire to teach kids. And the kids are just delighted to learn.
Bradley: They are. It’s just an overall wonderful learning environment.
Roberts: So how old is Thales Academy? Of course in education, we always talk about outcomes. People want to see empirical data on how they’re kids are performing. Tell us a little bit about that. What kind of outcomes have you been able to determine thus far?
Bradley: We have a lot of emphasis on outcomes. We certainly aren’t teaching to the test. Our students do participate in the Iowa tests of basic skills every May. We’re not using that to gauge whether the students will be promoted from year to year.
Everybody is promoted from year to year because they are mastering the curriculum because we are teaching to mastery. Our students are not falling through the cracks. But it is a great overview of how our school is performing as a whole. And we post those test scores on our website and you’ll see that our students far outperform other schools.
Leahy: The school has been around since 2007-08. Now, there are 3,000 kids going to these eight schools in Raleigh, and they’re getting into great colleges. Getting lots of scholarships.
Bradley: All top tier schools. I think that was one of the most exciting things. Our Rolesville campus which is a 6-12 campus. Their first graduating class, now it was only 3 kids because it was the very first class and that number is growing exponentially each year. They were all accepted to UNC-Chapel Hill which is a really prestigious college in North Carolina.
Leahy: Now let me talk about the cost of this. Here in Tennessee, the private school tuition will range depending on where you are, anywhere from typically $12,000 a year to $25,000 a year.
Leahy: What is the tuition for Thales Academy-Franklin starting in July? You’ll start classes in July.
Bradley: We will.
Leahy: K-3. What is the annual tuition?
Bradley: Annual tuition is $6,000.00.
Leahy: Whoah, whoah, whoah. $6,000.00! That’s less than…
Roberts: That’s a quarter of the more expensive ones.
Leahy: Yes. How do you do that?
Bradley: Well as you mentioned Mr. Luddy is a brilliant businessman.
Roberts: It’s run by conservatives Michael. There’s your answer right there. (Laughter)
Leahy: Well common sense people.
Bradley: Well, you know, we eliminate a couple of big expenses right off the bat. We don’t have a cafeteria. Students are packing their lunch but we also offer a hot lunch option that is delivered daily.
Leahy: When I was a little kid in a little town in upstate New York. Mom would make lunch. And we’d take lunch to school. There was no cafeteria there.
Bradley: Right. So that’s a big cost savings. The other piece is the transportation. We are a parent carpool system. So we don’t have buses. So that’s another big savings.
Leahy: So the parents have to take responsibility for making sure they get to school and sometimes they work in groups to get the kids to school. I suppose if you live in the Franklin area it’s not that hard. If you live in Williamson County you’d have to coordinate it. I imagine people listening in our audience from Rutherford or Williamson counties might be interested in figuring out how to make the trek there in the morning. But you know what’s interesting. You said it’s $6,000 a year for tuition. But I think there are ways to even cut that. Tell us about that.
Bradley: There are Mike. Because we’ere coming into a brand new market we are offering a $300 discount for the first 100 students enrolled. So that brings you down to $5,700.
Leahy: $5,700 for the first 100 that sign up.
Bradley: Yes. And then we also offer a $400 full pay discount for families that would like to pay in full for families that would like to pay in full before the start of the school year July 15.
Leahy: So the school year starts July 2020.
Bradley: July 15. But that’s typically our full payment date.
Leahy: So if you want to get your kids in school and you have enough money to write a check for $5,400 you’re in for a full year for a high-quality private school in Franklin, Tennessee. That’s unheard of.
Listen to the third hour here:
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