More than just a high school.
The curriculum at Focus Academy is structured with dual purposes: academic achievement and social success. Many students are scholastically capable but are hindered by struggles in dealing with peers. We offer differentiated, individualized instruction, but emphasize a full high school experience including creative arts, physical education and state of the art technology.
Academic achievement based on student abilities and interests
Differentiated, personalized instruction
Community-based instruction and experiences
Emphasis on increasing independence
State of the art technology
Creative arts including art and music
Computer coding and culinary arts
Sports and fitness
A full high school experience
Transition Program for workplace training and life skills
Based on careful research on how adolescents and young adults learn best, the Focus Academy school day begins at 8:45 a.m. Students attend academic classes in the morning, break for lunch, then spend the afternoon in a variety of electives. Brain breaks are interspersed throughout the day. The school day ends at 3:45 p.m.
Via Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies, personalized learning opportunities are designed to maximize the engagement and progress of every Focus student. UDL enables our education team to design learning experiences in ways that provide students with multiple means of engagement, representations of content, and ways to demonstrate knowledge. These UDL opportunities are aligned with what research supports about learning and the human brain. They optimize the three important networks of the brain: the affective, which processes the "why" of learning; recognition, which processes the "what"; and strategic, which processes the "how." In offering lessons that cover all three networks, Focus Academy teachers maximize student learning.
Focus Academy utilizes the Access Points curriculum, a modified curriculum which tailors instruction to each student's academic level and goals. This curriculum choice also allows for more flexibility in teaching -- as well as in learning. Students participate in State testing at the end of each year utilizing the Florida Alternative Assessment. End of Course exams are also administered as required.
Rigorous academics are an important part of the curriculum at Focus Academy. Students are regularly assessed to gauge their progress in subject areas. Reading and math scores routinely gain an average of one to one and a half grade levels over the course of the year at Focus Academy. In many cases, students have remained at the same grade level in both of these subject areas for years without any progress at their previous schools.
Parents are encouraged to log in to our school's student information system to check on student assignments and grades. Daily planners and notes home are also routinely used to keep parents informed of student progress.
An emphasis on moving toward independence is a primary component of the Focus Academy program, and begins on the very first day of school. Students learn strategies for self-advocacy and build self-esteem through mastering these skills, enabling them to move seamlessly into the Transition Program.
Special Needs Family Hour Podcast featuring Executive Director of Programs Loretta Gallo-Lopez
More Learning Opportunities
At Focus Academy, students also have access to activities that strengthen social skills in ways not offered through other schools.
The AM Rally is a fee-based early drop-off program offered Monday through Friday, 7:30-8:20 a.m. The program provides physical, sensory and social activities to help students successfully transition into their school day.
Our After School Enrichment Program is a fee-based program running Monday through Friday, 4 to 6 p.m. The goal of the program is to deepen social learning via involvement in activities that encourage or require involvement with others. Activities included are based on student passions or interests. It is designed to strengthen social connections, and give students ways of seeing through different perspectives.