Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Thales Academy-Franklin’s Principal Rachael Bradley to the newsmakers line.
During the second hour, Bradley discusses the August 3 opening of Thales Academy-Franklin and the teaching methodology that will be used at this high-quality private school in Williamson County.
Leahy: We are joined now by the hardest working person in Middle Tennessee. The principal of Thales Academy-Franklin, Rachael Bradley. Good morning Rachael.
Bradley: Good morning Mike, how are you?
Leahy: You know you laugh when I say the hardest working person in Middle Tennessee but I think that’s true because you are being overwhelmed with applications. Your K-3 high quality affordable private education school is opening up August 3. Tell us about what’s happening.
Bradley: You are right about that Mike. I have been absolutely flooded with inquiries from parents. Emails. Applications. Last night when I got home from assessing children all day I got 12 more applications. And that is the daily average right now. You know Mike, you know that when we came here and when we first started talking about our events here last July I told you our goal was 96? I think we are going to meet that goal.
Leahy: Wow! So Rachael Bradley moves here with her family in the middle of the pandemic when everything shut down on April 1. A new school and a new building. You can see it as you are driving in on I-65 just before you get to highway 96 you look to your right. The former Gate Community Church. The beautiful facility there. You will be open August 3 in person with kids K-3 all available. Tell us about what you are hearing from your parents.
Bradley: Parents are really focused on having their children back in classrooms learning in person. With their peers. With high-quality teachers. And that’s what we are going to provide.
Leahy: All of the evidence is coming in that this distance learning particularly for elementary school students is not working at all. Are you seeing that in your assessments of children?
Bradley: Yes, I certainly am. I just finished reading a Wall Street Journal article this morning about the case for re-opening schools. It citing specific data about that lost learning for our young children. But I’ve seen it first hand with the children I’m assessing. It’s pretty evident they’ve had about three quarters of a school year.
Leahy: August 3 you’ll open up. You have a really good plan. I went there and visited several times to the school and you’ve shown me how you are going to work the line of cars as they come in. You have this down to a science don’t you with parents and how they are getting kids in and out?
Bradley: Yes. I can run a carpool in my sleep. (Laughter)
Leahy: Well you’re not getting too much sleep these days because you are getting overwhelmed with assessments on it. The other thing I like about Thales Academy is the methodology which is direct instruction. Give us a brief summary of direct instruction, the best way to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Bradley: Direct instruction is a teaching methodology that’s researched-based, data-driven, and it’s a mastery-based program. The two key components are maximizing student engagement and maintaining high time on task. Which is a mouthful but just means that all of our children are engaged in learning every minute of the day.
Leahy: In our listening audience are parents who have elementary school children in any country. Williamson County, Davidson County, Rutherford County, you’re getting them from all over Middle Tennessee.
Leahy: Those that have tried to work with their elementary school kids and learn using distance learning I think they’ve learned that high time on task and an in-person teacher is very valuable. Is that some of the feedback you are getting?
Bradley: (Laughs) That’s exactly what I’m getting. Parents have been very honest and transparent. As am I because I’m a mom too. The whole idea that everybody all of sudden being expected to “home school” and I’m using that in quotation marks because even though there are some wonderful home school programs. You can’t just say, I’m going to start homeschooling tomorrow. People aren’t equipped to do that and it shows. Parents are at their wits’ end. I think we all feel like we did our best and we used what resources we had and it just wasn’t effective.
Leahy: Go to the tennesseestar.com and click on the Thales Academy blue banner or go to thalesacademy.org. If parents are listening right now and they want to connect with you what’s the best thing they can do today.
Bradley: They can email me directly and I will get them on the right track. They can email me at [email protected].
Leahy: ThalesAcadmey.org. Why is it called Thales?
Bradley: Thales was of Miletus was a Greek philosopher and the father of thought. And we are focused on teaching our children how to think.
Leahy: Teaching kids how to think! What an unusual idea. (Laughter)
Listen to the second hour here:
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