Currently in society there is very little an adult can do without a high school diploma making it no longer optional but a necessity. A high school diploma is the key that unlocks the door to someone’s pursuit of higher education, the credentials in a highly competitive job market economy and long-term career opportunities. Promise Academy is equipped to provide a comprehensive educational experience resulting in a high school diploma for at risk students. Promise Academy is a premier dropout prevention educational institution dedicated to addressing the barriers to graduation through a comprehensive approach for students in grades six through twelve. Promise has developed a program that will provide individualized support to help students in danger of dropping out of school graduate on time and ready to fulfill your college and career goals.
Located in Duval County, the First Coast region of northeast Florida, Promise is a comprehensive four-year public high school serving students who are two or more years behind academically, regardless of reading and math skill levels. The current enrollment stands at 1,250 students in grades 6“12. The school opened in the fall of 2011 and graduated its first senior class in the spring of 2012. The school sits in the neighborhood known as the Northside. Located in one of the older areas of Duval County, the community enjoys a diversified economic base. The student body is culturally diverse with a population that is fifty-seven percent African American, sixteen percent white, thirteen percent Hispanic, eleven percent Multi-Racial and one percent Asian. Promise Academy is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The administrative team, faculty and staff at Promise Academy are highly qualified as defined by the Florida Department of Education and excited about the opportunity to serve students and their needs. All visitors are encouraged to take a glimpse at all of the amazing initiatives geared towards making every student successful in the classroom and beyond graduation. The administrative team consists of one principal and three assistant principals each with a minimum of three years administrative experience. The faculty of forty-five teachers representing all core content areas of instruction, special education, foreign language and electives. Ninety percent of the faculty hold a Master’s degree in their field of instruction. In addition, the school employs an instructional coach for reading, mathematics and special education to support the continued development of the instructional staff. The students are also supported by the work of three school counselors, two deans of students and seven security officers.
Reflecting the districts mission to provide educational excellence in every school, in every classroom, for every student, every day, the core courses of language arts, math, science, and social studies are aligned to the Florida Standards. Dual Enrollment courses are offered in all of the core disciplines. All classrooms enjoy access to instructional technology that includes student laptops, interactive monitors used to complement traditional methods of instruction throughout the curriculum. World language courses include French and Spanish to satisfy the college admissions criteria for most colleges and universities. A wide variety of elective courses are offered in business, music, art, theater, physical education, engineering, social studies, language arts, and family and consumer sciences. Some of the elective courses offered in business allow for the opportunity of certifications in Career and Technical Education (CTE). The academic program is organized on a rotating block schedule. Students attend four block classes daily; each block class meets every other day. Students successfully completing coursework may earn a maximum of four credits each semester for a total of eight credits in a school year. Students are provided individualized attention and support to ensure completion of coursework so students are not left behind and finish high school on time. Supports include rigorous face-to-face instruction with a focus on ACT/SAT preparation for college and career readiness. Student advocates and mentors provide academic and emotional support through motivation, individual and group counseling, tutoring, positive behavior supports and interventions. When needed students are supported with attendance challenges by providing transportation assistance when public school bus transportation is not available.
The school administers the following National and State assessments to aid teachers and counselors in diagnosing individual strengths and weaknesses in order to provide more effective instruction. The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) is administered to all students in grades seven, nine, ten and eleven. Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) is administered each year in English Language Arts (ELA) and Algebra I to students in all grades six through ten and select eleventh and twelfth grades students still needing to pass the grade ten in order to satisfy graduation requirements. End of Course (EOC) Assessments are administered to students in Civics, Algebra 1, US History, Biology and Geometry as part of their final grade. In order to graduate students must show proficiency in Algebra 1. Due to the nontraditional nature of Promise Academy, the school is not awarded a school grade. The school has elected to receive an improvement rating. Schools are permitted to receive an improvement rating if the school that provides dropout prevention and academic intervention services. Improvement ratings of Commendable, Maintaining or Declining depending upon the overall improvement of students in Reading and Mathematics. For the 2017-18 school year, Promise Academy received a rating of Maintaining. A rating of Maintaining is awarded when a school when twenty-six to forty-nine percent of student make improvements in reading and mathematics. Over the last three years, Promise Academy has demonstrated consistent improvement moving from twenty-seven percent improvement in 2015-2016 school year to the current measure of forty-five percent improvement in 2017-2018 school year.
Promise Academy believes parents are a key component to the educational success of students. Parents are a valuable resource in developing the most effective educational plan for each student. The school recognizes the need to work with parents and families to accomplish the school goals of academic achievement and personal growth for each student. Parents will be encouraged to attend and provide input at monthly School Advisory Council meetings. This allows all parents to have a voice in goals, school improvement initiatives, and concerns. Parents also will be given a copy of the student’s test scores through reports that will go home with their student. The school will provide parents an explanation of the interventions teachers are using to assist the child in reaching achievement goals. Parents will be provided an explanation of grading procedures. Promise Academy strives to promote a positive, welcoming and safe school environment for all students, parents, and community members with timely open honest communication.
Duval County Public Schools Division of Family and Community Engagement provides guidance and direction for partnerships between the school and local businesses and organizations. Participating businesses and organizations range from for-profit to non-profit, one-person businesses, faith-based and large corporate organizations. Currently, Promise has community partnerships with Communities In Schools (CIS) and I’m A Star Foundation. CIS uses a case management model to provide services to at-risk students to help them achieve the following improved attendance, academic improvement and decrease behavioral obstacles. I’m A Star Foundation provides mentorship, career exploration and internships for students to facilitate the creation of goals for life after graduation. These organizations also assist the school with parent involvement activities in addition to after-school programs. Each partnership is designed to serve both student needs and the mission of the partner business or organization.
Launched in 2011, Promise Academy was opened and tasked with responsibility to identify and recruit students who were in danger of dropping out of Duval County Public Schools and provide them with services to enable them to earn a high school diploma or demonstrate college readiness. The consequences of not receiving a high school diploma are increasingly serious for both students and society as a whole. Research results seem to indicate that most school and community based programs are effective in decreasing school dropout rates. As the only public dropout prevention school in Duval County, Promise Academy, has been instrumental in decreasing the school district’s dropout rate resulting in a graduation rate of over 80%; the highest mark ever received by the District.