San Jose Academy and San Jose Preparatory High School on Sunbeam Road in Mandarin are currently accepting students. Our school is located in a safe neighborhood surrounded by homes and small businesses. When our students are not safely secured behind our doors, they spend their time supervised in the shade.
Unfortunately, some of you may have heard of us because of the alleged malfeasance of our former management company, Newpoint Education Partners. In May of this year, Newpoint was indicted on charges of grand theft, money laundering, fraud, and aggravated white-collar crime. None of these charges were in any way related to Newpoint’s management of our schools. None of these charges related to the education received by our students. Nevertheless, our board of directors severed ties with Newpoint in June of this year. Our focus is, was, and always will be on the well being of our students. Though we are thankful to Newpoint for their guidance in our formative years, we were not willing to burden our parents and students with distractions.
As one partnership ends, another begins; our schools have partnered with Google Apps for Education. Since our inception, we have emphasized the importance of preparing students to take their place in the Information Age. The world is changing, and our youth are more attuned with technology than any generation that has come before them. Because of this, we ensure that students at our schools have around the clock access to lectures, assessments and study guides for their classes. Over the last decade, Google has become synonymous with the pursuit of knowledge. We welcome their expertise into our classrooms so that no student leaves with his or her questions unanswered. More and more of our faculty are becoming certified by Google every day, and we expect to have the entire faculty certified by the end of the year.
Important as technology is, it is not the be-all and end-all of instruction. Teachers have always served as the shepherds of the future, and I believe ours are some of the finest in the county. Our faculty is comprised of doctors, lawyers, and former government officials. When our students say they want to be doctors and lawyers, our faculty tells them what life will be like in the trenches. Education is one of the noblest pursuits, but we do not believe in enveloping our students in an ivory tower.
Speaking of our students, we take pride in the small-school environment we provide for them. Far too often, students become lost in a sea of a thousand nameless faces. This is not the case at San Jose Academy or San Jose Preparatory High School. Our faculty knows their students, each and every one. Our curriculum is broad, but our instruction is narrowly tailored to meet the needs of each individual. We do not just tout the advantages of technology; we use it. We put our students through a rigorous assessment that provides our faculty with the data they need to catch students up or keep them ahead. We know if a student is struggling, and we provide in-school tutoring to make sure that no one slips through the cracks.
Our small size allows for bonds with not only the students, but their parents as well. Parents have direct access to our faculty, and we encourage them to pick up the phone or send an email whenever they have a question. Many of our faculty are parents too, and their students attend our school. They know that learning is a constant process that does not end just because the final bell has rung.
Because we know how expensive college can be, we encourage all of our students to take their college courses now while they’re free. Through dual enrollment, our students receive credit through the University of North Florida, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Edward Waters College, as well as various other partners. With enough college courses under their belts, our students can enter college with a year already completed. This also allows them to bypass the grueling courses designed to weed out freshman. In addition to providing our students with a foot in the door to college, we provide them with connections to local businesses so that they may pursue internships to build their resume. The job market is challenging, even with a four-year degree, so we want our students to build their resume up now.
Our goal and purpose is to make sure that every student who comes through our doors is ready for college when they receive their cap and gown. This was true when we first opened our doors, and it is still true today. We welcome you to join us. Our doors are always open to students who are willing to learn.
Hall is director of San Jose Academy & Preparatory High School.