-

GCPS Superintendent Dr. Kim Evans delivers a presentation on the proposed “iBelieve Academy.”

The Greensville County School Board, Emporia City Council, and County Board of Supervisors met Thursday at the Golden Leaf Commons to hear a presentation of the Greensville County Public Schools FY 2022 budget request. During her presentation, GCPS Superintendent Dr. Kim Evans provided further insight into the proposed alternative school, called the “iBelieve Academy.”

“I’m excited about the iBelieve Academy,” Evans said. “I really am. It’s going to reach a population that many feel is unreachable, and I just don’t believe that’s true.”

Initially proposed for the FY 2021 budget, the alternative learning school would house a program for GCPS students who, for any number of reasons, are not finding success in a standard classroom setting. Evans said the program would work with students on both behavioral and academic struggles.

Included in the FY 2022 budget request would be renovations to the proposed site of the academy – the buildings currently owned and occupied by First Baptist Church, adjacent to Greensville Elementary School on Rt. 301. On March 1, the County Board of Supervisors approved Evans’ request to the reappropriate funds for the purchase of the site to FY 2022, in case the sale could not be completed by June 30 of this year. The sale would cost an estimated $325,000.

During her presentation in the meeting, Evans said that GCPS and local leadership cannot “throw those kids away” who do not perform well in a regular school setting. She said there is an obligation to educate those children, and it must be done so in a way that will cause them to want to change their behavior.

Evans said it would take all of the leaders in the room and around the community to make the proposed program a success. She implored them to be engaged and share their stories in the hopes that students at the academy will be moved to succeed.

“That’s when you’re going to play a role with those students, and help them understand that they are something more than just what they see,” Evans said during the meeting. “There’s a whole world out there waiting on them, not that they’re waiting on the world – that the world is waiting on them and the gift that they have to give. We just have to cultivate it. We have to see beyond that façade that they put up and tell them ‘I believe in you. You can do this, and we will do this together.”