These parents chose i3 Academy for their kids—here’s why. Apply for the lottery by Jan. 18


Dr. Martin Nalls at i3 Academy
Dr. Martin Nalls at i3 Academy. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Imagine, investigate, innovate. That’s what i3 stands for, and that philosophy is baked into everything i3 Academy does. We talked to parents of four students who started at the school when it opened in August 2020 to see what they would say to other parents who are considering applying. Lottery applications for this tuition-free K-6 public charter school are due by 11:59PM on January 18, 2021.

What is i3 Academy

i3 Academy is a new tuition-free public K-6 charter school in Woodlawn. Dr. Martin Nalls is Head of School. The school itself is one piece of a larger vision for Woodlawn, and all Alabama rising K-6 students are eligible to apply.

The school’s mission is to empower learners to become agents of change who solve problems they see in their world. Their vision: a world in which all learners excel in a global society.

If you’d like to apply for the lottery for your rising K-6 grader, hop over here before January 18 to get started.

Meet the Parents

  • Lavetta Harvell lives in Center Point, and her daughter is in kindergarten. She was “blown away by what i3 was offering, especially in terms of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).”
  • Patsy Moore lives in Tarrant. Her sons are in kindergarten and first grade at i3. When she heard about the school, she liked that it was tuition-free, and that teachers had a lot of flexibility to create their own curriculum.
  • Richard Rowan‘s second- and fifth-grade sons were at Avondale Elementary before switching to i3 Academy. He’s a teacher himself and was impressed by all the top-tier people he knew in education who were going over there, including Dr. Nalls.
  • Trudi and John Lockett‘s second grade son was previously at Chalkville Elementary. They were looking for something that would challenge him and i3 Academy seemed like a great option.

Here’s What the Parents Had to Say

i3 Academy just opened in August 2020, so with COVID-19, it’s been a bit of a different experience than anyone expected. We asked each of these parents about their experience with the school so far.

Bham Now: what’s your experience been like so far?

Lavetta Harvell's daughter attends i3 Academy
First day of school picture for Lavetta Harvell’s daughter. Photo via i3 Academy
  • Harvell: “Great! One day, we were about to have bad weather and she came home and said ‘Mom, there’s gonna be a tornado.’ She explained that it can spin up to 200 miles per hour and picks up debris. Her eyes lit up.”
  • Moore: “My kids come home and are always talking about school.”
  • Rowan: “They have really enjoyed it, even though with COVID restrictions, it’s been an abnormal year for everyone.”
  • Locketts: “I’ve been extremely impressed. I love the way they communicate with parents and keep us involved. I don’t feel like I’m sending my son to strangers. It feels so homey to me, like a family. Even at the end of the day, he’s still amped up and showing off things he learned.”

Bham Now: what does your child think?

Moore boys at i3 Academy
Patsy Moore’s sons at i3 Academy. Photo via i3 Academy
  • Harvell: “She loves it! She loves her teacher and loves that she has all these different labs.”
  • Moore: “My kids love the learning.”
  • Rowan: “My kids adore and love their teachers.”
  • Locketts: “Our son was reluctant to start a new school and leave his friends, but after a week or so, he was all in.”

Bham Now: what’s your child’s favorite thing so far?

Richard Rowan's boys at i3 Academy
Richard Rowan’s sons are both at i3 Academy. Photo via Richard Rowan
  • Harvell: “The environment and the atmosphere you get when you pull up in the carpool line—there’s music playing and the teachers and staff are happy and excited to welcome you into the school.”
  • Moore: “My first grader loves Spanish and art. My kindergartener hasn’t really said yet.”
  • Rowan: “My kids love extracurriculars like robotics. My second grader is constantly quizzing me on Spanish words.”
  • Lockett: “Using the iPad to interact, learning about animals, Spanish. Now he wants to get involved in an after-school drama club. At i3, he gets total exposure to a lot of different things other schools don’t have the resources to provide.”

Bham Now: what would you say to parents who are thinking of applying for the lottery?

Trudi and John Lockett's son is at i3 Academy
Trudi and John Lockett’s son is at i3 Academy. Photo via the Locketts
  • Harvell: “You don’t have to worry about if your child is safe —they take health very seriously. The staff act like family and provide for the kids, even when they’re out of school for holidays. They provided uniforms at the beginning so parents didn’t have to buy them. They provided iPads and backpacks for the kids and laid a foundation for parents to bring their child to school or help them learn by virtually. We love i3 Academy and are never leaving.”
  • Moore: “I like the fact that they take care of families. Thanksgiving and Christmas, they sent a full meal home to every family. This school includes the parents in the decisions that they make.”
  • Rowan: “No matter where your child is currently, this is an incredible opportunity. It’s an excellent and out-of-the-box type of education.”
  • Lockett: “Definitely do it. You will not regret it. A lot of people are reluctant—the school is new and you have to take your child from the place they’re familiar with, but I guarantee you will not be disappointed. “

You’ll find Frequently Asked Questions about the enrollment process on the i3 Academy website.

Applications for the 2021-2022 lottery are open now through January 18 for rising K-6 graders. 

Apply on i3’s website, and email with any questions. Follow i3 Academy on Instagram + Facebook, too. 

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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