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The Academy - Building Tomorrow's Promise

The Academy will be a high-performing, college-preparatory public charter high school serving a student body of 480 foster, underserved and community teens, including 80 foster teens who will live on-site. The charter was approved in February, 2012, by the Orange County Department of Education. Click here to read the press release on the charter approval. Located in Santa Ana, it is expected to open in Fall 2013.

» Click here to visit the school’s website.

The mission of The Academy is:

To provide a transformational learning environment for foster, underserved and community teens
that offers consistency, stability, support, and a community in which to
belong, thrive, and grow into responsible, independent adults.

Our vision is to provide:

  • A safe, stable and supportive environment where young people thrive academically, socially, ethically, and emotionally;
  • Inspiring faculty who understand the unique needs of foster and underserved students;
  • Faculty who sets high performance standards and expectations for all students;
  • Innovative programs to bring students to grade level and above, including special education assistance;
  • Low student to teacher ratio (20 to 1);
  • Vocational and career exploration opportunities in addition to a college preparatory curriculum; and
  • Opportunities for community engagement and staff to help with obtaining and maintaining employment.


Academy Curriculum

The Academy will emphasize the development of:

  • Academic skills (focus will be on science, technology, engineering, math (the STEM subjects) in addition to language arts, history & social science, foreign language, visual & performing arts);
  • Life skills (social, cultural, and personal and social responsibility); and
  • 21st Century skills (critical thinking, creativity, communication skills - both interpersonal and for presentation, collaboration, cross-cultural understanding, decision making, technology).


Project-Based Learning (PBL)

Many foster and underserved students have limited attention spans, feel a lack of control over many aspects of their lives, and have had negative experiences in typical school settings. For these reasons, The Academy will use the Project-Based Learning methodology.

Research has proven that through PBL students’ demonstrate improvement in test scores of academic achievement. After two years of PBL, students went from well below to well above average in almost every area. PBL is noted to increase school attendance, helps students’ confidence and improves attitudes toward learning. Students are attracted to this approach because it engages them in real-world activities, in addition to building problem solving, critical thinking and communications skills, and teaches them how to conduct research, utilize high tech tools and take responsibility for their own learning. This process forms the foundation of skills they will carry into adulthood.


Residential Program

Foster teens face challenges of adolescence and have the added angst of coming to terms with their living situation; they do not have a place to call home. The Academy’s three residential buildings will house eight family style homes. Each home will have house parents who will care for and teach independent living skills to ten foster youth.


Academy Outcomes

The anticipated outcomes will be significant and will:

  • Help break the cycle of abuse;
  • Level the playing field for foster and at-risk students;
  • Reduce the number of times a child is uprooted; and
  • Be a place a child can call ‘home’ through family-style living.

We anticipate the following results based on the model of San Pasqual Academy in San Diego:

  • A 95% high school graduation rate;
  • 75% attendance in university, community college, or trade school;
  • 75% of students will gain work experience while in high school;
  • 90% of vocational students will be employed after graduation; and
  • 95% of The Academy residential youth will master independent living skills.


More Information

» Click here to visit the school’s website.

If you are interested in making a gift, please contact to Pam Shambra, Capital Campaign Director, at PShambra@orangewoodfoundation.org.

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