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New Short North School
Gifted Academy: a welcome addition to the neighborhood

by Margaret Marten
November/December 2017 Issue

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Amanda Reidenbaugh, the school's director.
Photo | Gus Brunsman III

When it comes to Short North news, it’s not often that we hear about a school moving into the neighborhood. Construction, shops and businesses are typically the focus of local media. Naturally, when the Columbus Gifted Academy moved into the former Everett Middle School at 100 W. 4th Avenue in late August, it caught our attention. The historic building, formerly occupied by the Fifth Avenue International School, had been vacant for over three years. The idea of a school for super students settling into the neighborhood seemed positive and delightful. But what exactly is the Gifted Academy?

Entering its third academic year, the Gifted Academy is a relatively new program within the Columbus City Schools. That is not to say children identified as gifted had not been offered special programming prior to the academy’s inception, but it is the district’s first gifted program that includes middle-schoolers. ECLIPSE, a gifted program for third- through fifth-graders had operated stand-alone classrooms in over a dozen locations throughout Columbus in previous years. However with the creation of the CGA, students have been consolidated into one building – and middle-school scholars are included.

Students in third through eighth grade are tested in either general intelligence or specifically in both math and reading and given the opportunity to learn at a pace suited to their needs following a gifted curricula. In addition, the middle school program allows students to explore topics of interest through off-campus learning. Citywide partnerships with Columbus Museum of Art, COSI, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and others make the central location in the Short North a smart move.

Over 400 students are enrolled this year, more than the Academy could accommodate at the former Beck Elementary School where they were based prior to the move. As with many other schools, the district’s long-range goal as part of the Facilities Master Plan is to eventually build a new school when and if those funds are supported by Columbus voters. Until that time, however, the current location serves the academy remarkably well.

The old Everett Middle School at 100 W. 4th Avenue is now home to the Columbus Gifted Academy.
Photo | Gus Brunsman III

Amanda Reidenbaugh, the director, is grateful for the greenspace outside as well as the extra space inside at the new location. The Beck building in German Village had its challenges even before growth n student and staff forced them to move.

For example, one area or room had to provide a variety of functions. “Where we previously had a multi-purpose room, ‘gymacafetorium,’” she explained, “we now have two gyms, an auditorium performance space, and a cafeteria with a full, hot menu.”

Her attitude of gratitude extends beyond the building into the community where the staff has already developed a partnership with the Thompson Recreation Center on wellness initiatives and engaged in collaborative talks with The Dream Center/Rock City Church and others in the immediate area.

“The ongoing support of our surrounding community has been paramount in our smooth transition to the Everett Building,” said Reidenbaugh. “We feel welcome and excited to be a part of the Short North Arts District.”


CGA will hold its 3rd Annual NovemberFest on Friday, November 17, 2017 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the school, 100 W. 4th Avenue, featuring food trucks, carnival games, a YouTube Jukebox, and wares of local crafters and student artisans. Visit or call 614-365-6961 for more information.

© 2017 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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