At Resurgence Hall, a K-8 public charter school serving primarily black and Latinx students from low-income backgrounds, the quest for a permanent home kept Head of School Tori Jackson Hines up at night.
“In Atlanta, south of I-20, Resurgence Hall is the only non-failing school our families have access to,” she explains.
Before the school opened its doors in 2017, commercial space was cost-prohibitive. So Tori and her teaching team set to work transforming the temporary space they found in a local church into a suitable learning environment for their 115 students.
At its founding, Resurgence Hall sought to create a “21st century learning experience” for all its students.
To do so, the school has placed special emphasis on design thinking and computer science in an extended-day format.
Acknowledging that each student learns at their own pace, the school also utilizes a mix of individualized attention and adaptive technology to meet students where they are—and help them excel.
Two years later, Resurgence Hall was bursting at the seams and had become the first school in Georgia to make computer science part of the core curriculum starting in kindergarten. In addition to expanded facilities, the school needed reliable connectivity.
With support from the Facilities Investment Fund, the school was given a fixed-rate, five-year loan to secure and renovate space. It purchased nearly a full city block close to its original location in April 2019 and completed a $3-million renovation over the summer. This quintupled their space to 50,000 square feet of state-of-the-art learning space that will allow them to serve up to 675 students.
The Facilities Investment Fund is one of two non-profit loan funds within the Walton Family Foundation's Building Equity Initiative, an unprecedented effort to make it easier and more affordable for public charter schools to find, secure and renovate facilities. To date, thousands of students in more than 100 schools are in new or renovated schools or have received facilities technical assistance with support from $185 million in BEI funds.
Through the Facilitiies Investment Fund alone, $58 million will enable an estimated 3,300 students to attend school in a state-ofthe-art facility. An additional $264 million in loans are in the pipeline for more than 25 projects to serve an estimated 11,700 students in 10 cities.
Tori said the scale of progress Resurgence Hall has made is unheard of in a state where public facilities funding is extremely limited for charter schools.
“Even though we educate the same children, public charter schools have limited access to taxpayer money for facilities,” she says.
“The depths that FIF went to make sure we found something we could afford while not impacting the educational program was incredible. Their commitment to caring about protecting teachers and children and finding a way to make it work is unmatched. FIF has secured our future for years to come.”