VIDEO: Florida Preparatory Academy Provides An Edge On the College Experience
By Space Coast Daily // June 20, 2016
gives students more freedom to learn
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New Class Schedule For Upper School Is Winner Among Students, Parents
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – There is nothing teens and ‘tweens love more than freedom, and when that freedom can help them in college and as well as enhance their sense of responsibility, well, that’s a very good thing.
Florida Preparatory Academy’s new class schedule for its upper school students is proving a winner among students, parents and teachers because it gives students more freedom to learn.
As colleges become more selective and financial aid harder to snag, gaining an edge on the college experience during the high school years can make a significant difference when students face the real thing.
During the 2016-2017 school year, Florida Prep will launch a new longer class schedule similar to that currently followed by college students with the aim of getting students better acclimated to college life.
The new class schedule at Florida Prep mimics college classes in duration so students can feel at home with the longer sessions of learning they will be experiencing in just a couple of years.
“We’re very excited about this, because it better prepares high school kids for college,” said James Dwight, president of the Melbourne college preparatory school.
“As educators, it is our task to make learning more interesting and challenging, and the new schedule helps us with that task. It’s more in line with a college schedule and it allows our students to delve deeper into a subject.”
It is no surprise that Florida Prep has adopted the new schedule, because the school has earned a reputation for holding their students to high standards of personal responsibility and accountability, since at the core of the school’s philosophy is individual student success and success demands responsibility.
The philosophy works. Since 1978, Florida Prep students have achieved 100 percent college acceptance. This year’s graduating class, although small in size, received more than $2 million in scholarship offers from colleges and universities around the world.
Dwight believes the new class schedule will help Florida Prep students achieve even more. In past school years, the school’s high school classes were 45 minutes in duration, as they continue to be in most upper schools around the country. However, research into how students learn has noted that this time frame is not optimal. It is just too short.
“It takes students five or ten minutes to settle and they’re getting ready to leave five or ten minutes before the class ends, so you end up with very little actual class time,” added Dwight.
UNIQUE AND EXCITING SCHEDULING
The new class schedule calls for a schedule that fits four different classes, each one hour and fifteen minutes long on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while on Tuesdays and Thursdays students attend three different classes of one hour and 45 minutes in length. An hour break for lunch is built into the schedule.
The response from all parties involved has been through the roof, says Dwight.
“When we talked to students, parents and staff, feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” said Dwight.
The faculty loves it because it helps to better focus the students.
“Teachers are thrilled because it will allow for more project-based learning,” said Dwight.
The new schedule also creates room early in the day for students to attend team practices and makes it easier for students to go off campus to participate in dual enrollment college level classes at Florida Institute of Technology and Eastern Florida State College.
Internship opportunities will also be easier to access, since the students will have longer class periods that can be used to work off site.
“It makes it logistically possible for local businesses to have our kids spend a class period or two interning there,” said Dwight.
“It really opens up possibilities. For example, we have just partnered with Artemis (an information technology company) to place kids in internships there during the school year. It gives our students a chance to have a greater depth and breadth of experience.”
SYMBIOTIC WITH COLLEGES
Having a schedule that is symbiotic with colleges such as Florida Tech additionally allows for the addition of adjunct professors from such institutions of higher learning.
Because middle schoolers perform best with more structured learning, Florida Prep will continue the traditional 45-minute class length with that age group, but has structured all core classes to be held in the same building in the mornings, freeing up time in the afternoon for high school level electives.
“In our experience, many of our middle schoolers do well with college credit classes,” said Dwight.
Teachers will be available to help students one-on-one Mondays through Thursdays from 3:15 to 3:45 p.m. From 4 to 6 p.m., all students are highly encouraged to participate in the school’s many sports and clubs. From 8 to 10 p.m., boarding school students are free to engage in activities such as the school’s three rock bands.
“The new class schedule is the next step in making Florida Prep even more unique and exciting for our kids,” said Dwight. “It’s education for the 21st. Century.”
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