Joining the ranks of Harvey Milk High School in New York and The Alliance School in Milwaukee, Pride School is coming to Atlanta. Currently operating out of a church, Pride School Atlanta (PSA) Founder Christian Zsilavetz aims to have the school fully operational by September 2016.
The K-12 institution strives to provide a judgment free environment for students and faculty who identify as LGBT or simply different. Their mission is below:
“To provide LGBTQQIAA students, families, and educators a safe, fun and rigorous learning environment free of homophobia and transphobia—a place that honors their identities so they can be themselves, find themselves, and find friends and mentors who can help them navigate the challenges of life and education.”
In addition to its progressive approach to students and faculty, the school will utilize a less than conventional method of education. The website explains its system:
“All students will have the freedom, responsibility, and support to create their own individualized curriculum, education, and school climate through trust and democratic decision-making processes. Sometimes students thrive on structure in their day, and at other times freedom. In our model, borrowed from longstanding schools around the world, curriculum is flexible and there is no mandatory homework or testing. Students are free to discover what, when and how they prefer to learn, trusted that their natural curiosity and desire to pursue personal goals will lead them to a rigorous and rich education. Each day will be full of opportunities for each member of the Pride School Family to become the best person they can be, ready to face the world with confidence, knowledge, and the ability to help others do the same.”
Zsilavetz, a transgender educator, moved to the South from Seattle. He started PSA after his own experiences working in public and private schools, struggling to find acceptance. Zsilavetz told Yahoo:
“Kids have full permission to be themselves—as well as educators. Where there’s no wondering, ‘Is this teacher going to be a person for me to be myself with?' This is a place where they [students] can just open up and be the best person they can be.”