The Okaloosa Academy Charter School Serves ‘At Risk’ Students from grades 4-12 in an alternative placement setting. The school’s website says that the institution “focuses on opportunities to achieve greatness even under imperfect circumstances.”
As a charter school that has been granted a charter by the Okaloosa County School District, any child in Okaloosa County can technically attend Okaloosa Academy. However, most students at Okaloosa Academy are referred to the school by other Okaloosa County School principals or a representative for the Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools. These students will typically meet the definition of ‘at-risk’.
An ‘At-Risk’ student is a student who meets any of the following criteria:
Okaloosa Academy uses the Learning Enrichment Alternative Program (LEAP) for its students in 4th and 5th grades. The curricula teach students in Math, English and Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Art, Music and Physical Education. The program aims to engage and enrich students with the material through contextual, hands-on programs. Each student has their own Personal Education Plan.
In addition to their regular studies, Okaloosa Academy has their students “participate in behavior modification and character development training. This school-wide instruction requires students to model appropriate behavior through role-playing activities.
All in all, the school focuses on reading and math in order to help students achieve their fullest potential. The teachers model the behavior and learning outcomes they want to see in their students in what is called “Understanding By Design.” Part of this method includes a technique called ‘scaffolding.’ Scaffolding takes place when the teacher models the desired learning strategy or tasks and then begins to shift the responsibility for the use of that behavior or process to the student.
The curricula for 6th-12th graders emphasiezes a strong base of knowledge for moving forward.
Credit Recovery, the process of earning back class credits toward high school graduation, works to catch students up. Catching up on credits is aided by an online program called Edgenuity. Learners can learn at their own speed and can complete coursework for both middle and high school credit.
Students also have a variety of elective opportunities available at the school. Students can choose from classes in art, music and leadership and mentoring programs. Students in the Okaloosa Academy Art Program were even named an honorable mention in the Federal Duck Stamp Competition. 11th and 12th grade students in the leadership and mentoring program are, after they are given a background check, able to mentor younger students. “The mentoring program gives older students a sense of purpose and accomplishment and provide someone to look up to for the younger students.”
Okaloosa Academy requires all students to wear a uniform while on school grounds for the school day. Students may wear any color pants or shorts without rips, tears, holes or frays on them. The pants must have belt loops and a belt has to be worn at all times. Students are also required to wear an Okaloosa Academy Charter School Shirt. No jackets or hoodies are allowed to be worn at school unless they are provided by OACS.