In a new charter school will open its doors in Bay County. At Florida State University-Panama City, the charter school founders held an open house to introduce the charter academy and its goals.
Parents inside the Bayside Auditorium at FSU-PC were all ears during the introduction of University Academy at Florida State University-Panama City. The charter academy is a creation of the St. Andrew Bay Land Company and FSU. Its goal is to provide innovated, never before send in Bay County, researched-based curriculum with a strong emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (S.T.E.M.).
"Often times students will read about science, they will write about science, but they won't actually do science, they won't actually manipulate and discover and creates and analyze, so that is one of the things that we are trying to do with S.T.E.M.," said one of the five founders Kelly Forehand.
School officials set up a model classroom for parents to see. Inside there are different stations that are set up for hands-on learning for students focusing on S.T.E.M. It's that emphasis on S.T.E.M. that convinced mom Li Zimmerman to sign up.
"The fact that they are actually focusing on math and technology versus the rest of that, they are catering to our kids individual needs," Zimmerman.
But mom July Huseby, who originally was planning on home schooling her kindergartner, is not completely sold on the idea quite yet. She has concerns with the school's extended school stay, scheduled to start at 8:00 a.m. and end at 3:00 p.m.
"Just because she is so young and it's a long day," Huseby said.
She does like, however, how the school will be cater learning for each individual student.
"It's extremely innovated and new and basically what that means is if you have your child might be in first grade, but ability wise they might be on a fourth grade level, then they would walk to read walk to that classroom and get that individualized instruction that they need," said founder Kelly Forehand. "It's really going to be a fluid model where students go and move where their needs can be met."
The school is currently accepting 126 students for its first year. It's set to begin classes on August 20th. Its ultimate goal is to move into the old airport site off of Highway 390 next year.