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 on the newsmakers line by all-star panelist and Thales Academy-Franklin Principal Rachael Bradley.
Leahy: We are joined now by our good friend Rachael Bradley. All-star panelist and principal of the Thales Academy-Franklin K-12 school opening up in July. The high quality affordable private school in Middle Tennessee. Good morning Rachael. How are you?
Bradley: Good morning. I’m wonderful. How are you?
Leahy: I’m looking forward to a week from today because a week from today May 12 at 6:30 p.m. you are holding a parent’s informational meeting. As far as we know this is still correct?
Bradley: It is. Yes. I’m gearing up. I’m excited to get to talk about Thales and give people a safe opportunity to get out of the house for a little bit and learn about the high-quality education program and a great option for their children.
Leahy: The interesting thing about this is I have a little bit of cabin fever. I guess I call it studio fever. By the way, we are now in phase one of studio freedom week which means that one of our all-star panelists Crom Carmichael is coming in. We have a detailed safety protocol as an all-star panelist. When we go to phase two if you feel comfortable with our safety protocol you too may be in the studio. We have your hazmat suit here in the studio ready to go. (Laughter)
Bradley: Absolutely. Yes. I will trust your protocol and be happy to also get out of the house for a few minutes.
Leahy: Really. So yes, it’s important. You talk about trusting protocols. Again, to get out of the house as a parent and if you’re looking at what to do in the now because you’ve got an option here now for folks now. But also in July, July 20 is when you open up at Thales Academy-Franklin.
Your beautiful building which is at 3835 Carothers Parkway in Franklin. You can see the building as you’re driving in. I was driving in this morning and looked to the right just before I got to the intersection of I-65 and 96 driving north. It still says The Gate Community Church but pretty soon the sign is going to say Thales Academy, right?
Bradley: It is. We’re just waiting on the sign company to get our new signs up. We have some nice new beautiful banners that are getting redone from a wind storm a while back. Not as bad as Monday night. So yes, I’m just waiting on the permanent signage. I’m working on a food truck to come out Tuesday night. Because what draws people more than anything else? Food.
Leahy: Ooh, a food truck.
Bradley: Whoever doesn’t want to cook dinner on Tuesday.
Leahy: You can be in a safe social distancing situation right?
Bradley: Yes. Yes. Hopefully, it will be a great opportunity. Again, I really can’t wait to talk about Thales. I heard something really interesting last week Mike which is that about 40% of parents have not yet completed kindergarten registration for public schools. And the deadline passed. Now not they won’t extend that but it speaks to the fact that people are maybe contemplating other options? Sitting on the fence. Here we are. We would love to be that other option.
Leahy: It would be a great option too by the way. I think a lot of it is uncertainty.
Bradley: It is.
Leahy: One of the things that this in-person parent meeting that you’re going to hold all in compliance with existing social distancing regulations, right?
Bradley: Yes. Absolutely.
Leahy: A week from Tuesday. Go to 3835 Carothers Parkway in Franklin at The Gate Community Church which is now owned by Thales Academy. Do we think there will be a food truck there right with great food?
Leahy: I will be there. What I’ll do is I’ll be there outside at the food truck so I’ll be waving to people. I won’t go in because I want to make sure there’s enough room inside for parents. And you’ve got a big facility there. There will be plenty of room there for people to be six feet apart I think.
Bradley: Absolutely. The sanctuary is really large. There is a huge lobby and everything will be marked off. We’ll have the chairs spread out accordingly. I feel certain we could fit up to 30 people or so safely and we’ll just have somebody stationed at the door to make sure that the crowd meets all the safety recommendations.
Leahy: Yes and it may be the case that we even might do them in a sequenced way. I think the official rule might be like crowds of 10 or more. But we’ll get all that worked out. If you want to go you can be there. I think it will be great to get out. It will be from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Leahy: I think that’s enough to get a really good idea to reduce uncertainty if you are thinking about what am I going to do for my kids for school next year!
Bradley: Absolutely. This is your opportunity to come to learn about our excellent program that we have. High quality but affordable. We’re utilizing a mastery-based program with direct instruction as our teaching methodology. High time on task. Every student engaged.
Leahy: And you’ve been doing this direct instruction yourself for well over a decade. You have personally have been a leading practitioner of direct instruction in the country. You have been with Thales Academy has been around since 2007 with eight schools and over 3,000 kids succeeding with very reasonable tuition in North Carolina. Tell our listeners about what the tuition price will be for this great option.
Bradley: Well part of our mission is to offer affordable tuition because we want to be able to educate as many children as possible. And we’ve ensured that we have the lowest possible tuition especially to meet this moment of uncertainty and challenging for a lot of families that may have lost or reduced their income. So our tuition in Williamson County at the Franklin campus is going to be $5,300 per year.
Leahy: That’s pretty reasonable when you consider most private schools in Williamson County are double, triple, or even quadruple that.
Bradley: It’s remarkable!
Leahy: It’s really great. The founder of Thales Academy, a good guy named Bob Luddy who is a very successful businessman that has applied business skills to schools. And it’s worked out pretty well.
Bradley: That’s exactly right. That’s what he’s done. I get that question a lot. That’s his area of expertise and that’s what he was able to bring to the table as the founder of Thales Academy. We’re just really fortunate that Bob is a great guy and took such an interest in education and creating a better option for families.
Leahy: I almost forgot to mention this. If you are a parent in Williamson County right now and you want to do online education you can do that with Thales Academy-Franklin. Tell us a little bit about how that can happen.
Bradley: Again we saw a need. Families are sitting at home and children are losing a lot of learning time and fortunately, at Thales Academy, we were reading to go with an online learning program on the first day of our fourth quarter. And we rolled that out very successfully. It’s gone wonderfully I’m saying that as an administrator and as a parent. I have an almost eight-year-old who turns eight next week and he is still doing reading, math, language arts, science, and social studies the whole ball game every day.
Leahy: And that’s available for free to Williamson County residents. You’ve had about a dozen in Williamson County already sign up for that?
Bradley: Yes. We do. So please, if you need an option we are offering that free of charge as a courtesy by trying to meet the moment.
Leahy: Go to the tennesseestar.com and click on the blue Thales Academy ad and sign up and talk to Rachael. Rachael, I look forward to talking to you again and seeing you in person a week from today at the Thales Academy parent informational meeting at 3835 Carothers Parkway in Franklin. Thanks for being with us today.
Bradley: Thank you.
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Thales Academy” by Thales Academy.