What has long been one of Hamilton County schools’ hidden jewels is becoming harder to miss these days. Now, in its tenth year, the charter school Ivy Academy is rapidly growing, appealing to students with a love of nature. 

Described as a school with an environmental theme, Ivy Academy’s first decade has seen growth from a handful of students, to more than 300, with more on the way.  Students in grades 6-12 get their required academics on the inside, and hands-on learning on the outside.

According to the newly released state report card, Ivy Academy boasts a perfect graduation rate, and high attendance.  There’s something about Ivy that makes students want to come to school.

Ivy Academy is the first public school in Tennessee to partner with Tennessee State Parks for high school majors in environmentally related fields. Park rangers from all over the state make regular visits, and some are stationed on campus. A partnership with the state department of environment and conservation provides a pipeline to careers, a major party of Hamilton County’s Future Ready Institutes.

The surrounding trails and creeks are part of the student learning experience, along with a few chickens and rabbits, with goats on the way.  Some of the students are pursuing veterinary careers, and they’re getting an early start that traditional schools are unable to provide.

The school has just opened a new facility, financed by the USDA’s office of rural development, which houses the Tennessee State Parks Environmental Institute.

Ivy Academy is open to all Hamilton County students.