University Academy’s curriculum aligns with the school’s mission and goals. The educational program centers on research to lead student learning. University Academy expands the learning environment, emphasizing innovative teaching and learning, maximizing academic achievement for all students, and promoting high expectations for the school community to become responsible, productive, lasting learners. The Board’s commitment to students has been confirmed by its decision to extend the school day, hire strong leadership, monitor student achievement each month, and expand to middle grades.
University Academy’s core academic curricula will provide appropriate instruction based upon the state’s frameworks, course descriptions, and State Standards prescribed by the Florida State Department of Education. University Academy Elementary School has demonstrated success in curricular choices that follow the recommendations of experts in the field.
University Academy embraced the flexibility of the charter school system to redesign the school structure. Using suggestions offered by top researchers, the school addresses the needs of students in each demographic group to make a difference in outcomes. The structure of extended time for core subjects, paired with mentoring, is aligned with the school’s mission to maximize achievement, improve motivation, and increase safety. Equitable access to technology provides content linked to student interest, motivation, and aptitude.
The reading curriculum, based on Florida Standards, adopts resources and practices that lead students to develop proficiency in reading, to access materials in all content areas, to access both paper-based and digital print easily, to successfully communicate ideas, and to achieve their own future goals. University Academy Elementary School’s SRA core curriculum continues to provide the foundation for reading coupled with Ready which provides the most current level of instruction aligned to standards and required rigor. Informational text is expanded through supplemental materials along with novels and trade books for practice with authentic text.
University Academy students explore writing across the content areas and are assessed with school-wide writing exercises that are scored with a rubrics aligned with grade level writing expectations for Florida students.
University Academy Elementary School uses Singapore Math as its core mathematics program. The program provides opportunities for students to explore mathematical concepts in a different way. Rigorous math instruction is supplemented with other research-based resources to help students engage with content in various formats.
University Academy science follows both the State Next Generation Standards and the National Science Foundation Standards. These are blended into STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) units that allow students to connect essential concepts. The extended school day provides time for students to actively investigate ideas.University Academy has adopted the Stemscopes science curriculum which originated at Rice University and provides hands-on science learning that challenges students to think deeply and creatively about concepts and real world applications.
Concepts are linked within the STEAM units to tie social sciences, art, language, and science together. For example, while one scientist explores organization as observed in animal and plant life, a social scientist explains the way people organize families, communities, states, and nations, and an artist expresses life’s organization in terms of color, shape, line, and performance. Project based learning provides application of these concepts. Community service and participation in activities outside the classroom are integral to the structure of University Academy. When Florida’s Governor Rick Scott came to honor Northwest Florida Veterans, the 5th Grade students were invited to meet the veterans and present flags to each one