Online California School Steps Up Its Offline Work

Macbeth Academy, an online college prep school, is trying to reach out and get more involved in communities of their students. The result has led to planning a student-run holiday food drive and toy drive.

by Akira Kyles, Carroll County Times / November 6, 2019
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(TNS) — Macbeth Academy, a California-based online independent college preparatory school, is working to get more involved in the Carroll County community, where 25 percent of its students are based.

For the rest of the year, the academy will hold multiple drives through the holiday season: a Thanksgiving food drive in November, and a toy drive and a clothing drive in December.

Founded in 2016, Macbeth Academy is an online institution that allows students to either take a full-time class load or part-time if they are currently enrolled in a public or private school. Macbeth’s first official day of classes for this school year was Aug. 26.

Because the school is based online, they are trying to reach out and get more involved in communities of their students — offline.

“What we’re trying to do is reach out to the community and help the community specifically with different drives. So the first thing we have is our Thanksgiving food drive, and then we have a toy drive, and it’s helping people in need in our community," said Kayla Solinksy, executive director of Macbeth Academy. “And the students that we work with specifically are gifted and talented students. So, their students that have really high like test scores or they’re performing artists or we have published authors or inventors, computer engineers that are in like grade seven, so these are all really gifted kids.”

Macbeth Academy is based out of Irvine, California, and most of its students are based out of the same state. The academy is also active in other states including Texas, New York and Minnesota.

Macbeth lets its students take the initiative with the drive after giving them the proper tools. For the food drive, Gabriel Atalla, 15, is taking the lead to coordinate the collections.

“They’re a great organization, they helped me a lot in this drive,” Gabriel said. “They have helped give me flyers to hand out, the materials to build the boxes with, they gave me numbers to call the managers of grocery stores and their local restaurants.”

Gabriel currently uses Macbeth Academy to improve his English while he attends Century High School as a sophomore. According to Gabriel, since working with Macbeth, his English skills have improved.

“I’ve been able to write essays more easily due to my involvement with Macbeth Academy,” Gabriel said.

The boxes to collect food from the drive will be set up at multiple locations including Century, Ava Wanas Montessori School in Taylorsville and Mount Airy, Safeway, Buppert’s Farm, Mathnasium of Sykesville, Oscar’s Alehouse, and the Carroll County Public Library branch in Eldersburg. Food for the drive will be collected from Nov. 1 through Nov. 27 and sent to the South Carroll Food Pantry.

During winter, the top item of clothing that most shelters need are socks, so that is a crucial item that Macbeth is trying to collect, along with other clothing items such as new under garments for women and children.

According to Solinksy, who is based out of Eldersburg, Macbeth Academy will also hold a toy drive in December, and the toys will benefit House of Ruth in Baltimore.

House of Ruth is a domestic violence center that also shelters survivors of domestic violence, including children. House of Ruth has requested that toys donated be new, unused toys and that they are for not only for toddlers and older children, but infants as well.

The toys and clothes will be collected from Dec. 1 through Dec. 20 and will be collected at three Bubala Indoor Playground locations: in Pikesville, Eldersburg and Fulton.

Because some students might not have access to technology, Macbeth Academy also offers in-person lessons once a week at the Eldersburg branch library.

“We’re online, but let’s say there’s some students that are, you know, disadvantaged and they don’t have access to like technology, for instance, so the Carroll County library in Eldersburg, is wonderful,” Solinsky said. “They have laptops, where the students can log in and meet with their teachers or we have spaces that they’re open to letting Macbeth Academy partner because we’re nonprofit. So, we’re just helping the community and just having students that don’t have access, give them access.”

In efforts to educate and benefit the community further, according to Solinsky, Macbeth also would like to start a STEM education program, to start next year.

“So then the next thing that we’re trying to do is we’re partnering with the library to do free events, STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — events for students, that are free and open to the public,” Solinsky said. “So we’re going to have a Macbeth Invention Team. We also are going to be doing NASA Space Camp, where we’re going to be working ... to like help bring programming to the community.”

The Macbeth Invention Team is going to be similar to a robotics team that will teach kids to solve real-world problems.

According to Solinsky, the NASA Space Camp is expected to start next summer, and she has a particular goal in mind for the program.

“My goal is to actually have our students in Carroll County speak with an astronaut, like we have these talks with people that are in the International Space Station and they have like, imagine in an auditorium full of high-schoolers, elementary-schoolers, middle-schoolers, and it’s open to the public, and it’s promoted by the library, and then it’s like a live talk with someone from the space station.”

©2019 the Carroll County Times (Westminster, Md.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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