As students apply and are accepted from areas across Bay County, the target population of the school intends to mirror Bay District’s student body population and provide services accordingly. Bay District’s School Choice program affords parents the opportunity to seek educational opportunities in a variety of schools; UA’s current student population is 515 and currently reflects 76% Caucasian, 11% African American, 13% Other, 8% Hispanic; 34% Free/Reduced Lunch Recipients; 8.2% Exceptional Student Education; and 1% English Language Learners.
University Academy opened its doors on August 20th of 2012 on the Florida State University – Panama City Campus starting with Kindergarten through 3rd Grade. Thanks to FSU’s generosity and the availability of classroom space at FSU-PC, UA began to practice innovations in teaching gathered from top educational researchers, including FCRR, (Florida Center for Reading Research), before its home was scheduled for completion.
In June 2014, the school moved to its permanent site within the SweetBay Community on Lisenby Avenue, adding 4K and 5th grades for 2014-15. The new location provided room for expansion of the number of students and grades while maintaining the excellence developed during its exciting first years of operation. Phase Two renovations in 2016 made room for 6th and 7th grade with 8th Grade to be added in 2017-2018.
After beginning the day in a classroom community that reflects typical grade clusters, students move to lesson groups that meet their current ability and that offer specific instruction to help them reach their personal goals. Each day includes a schedule of special area classes such as art, music, Rock and Roll Academy, Spanish, a community lunchtime where teachers and students share fellowship and food, and thirty minutes dedicated to physical movement and education.
The afternoon curriculum is focused on real-world application of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. These subjects represent the letters that make the term STEAM, infusing the arts into an exciting STEM foundation. The units taught in the afternoon are based on Florida’s Next Generation Science Standards, supplemented by those developed by the National Academy of Sciences, and include music, art, theater, and writing. These lessons develop deeper understanding of science concepts through active learning.
This innovative program is supported by University Academy’s extended school day, which allows more time to teach – leading to active science, hand-on activities, and investigations. Class trips off campus also expand the learning environment. For example, field trips include visits to the Bay County Humane Society, Pensacola’s Florida Public Archeology Network, St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos, Saint Andrews State Park, National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Touch Tanks.
STEAM units incorporate essential ideas across content areas. Students learning about motion can investigate changes that occur with direction and force, record predictions, write observations that explain motion, create works of art that follow movement across the canvas, and play instruments that reflect rhythms. Artistic expression is fostered in music classes, STEAM unit studies, and UA’s unique Rock and Roll Academy. These 5th Grade students’ figures are artistic expressions of motion created as part of their unit studies.
10 Reasons to Consider the University Academy
- Differentiated instruction is provided for each student’s level of achievement with the goal of helping students achieve or exceed grade level standards.
- “Walk to Math” and “Walk to Read” classes are scheduled school wide in the first three hours of the day, without other subject interruption.
- A dedicated time of “Unit Study” is provided for collaboration of science, social studies, and expository writing.
- Dedicated time is given each day to “Remediation and Enrichment” based on student needs.
- Character education is encouraged, expected, and led by the Principal and Leadership Team.
- Spanish language is offered in all grades. Middle school students may choose it as an elective.
- Science is active, hands-on, with experimentation and record keeping.
- Incorporation of the arts occurs in all classes.
- All teachers are certified in the State of Florida.
- Paraprofessionals are in each elementary class as part of the academic support team.
We hope you will join us. Apply today!