Academics: K-12

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The Foundation Academy is fully accredited by AdvancED. Our academic programs follow Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, and we do not require FCAT testing for our students. Students are prepared for the academic challenges facing them as they move forward in life. Our graduates achieve 100% college acceptance. 

The Foundation Academy (K-12th grade) focuses on team collaboration, skill building, and inquiry; infused with arts as the key to the development of critical thinking, self-discipline, and confidence. TFA’S education model includes Project Based Learning education with an emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). This allows all students to bring to the table high-order thinking along with their individual strengths.


STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century!

-Susan Riley, Arts Integration Specialist

The STEAM Model

The pathway to STEAM is exciting, but can also be dangerous without an understanding of what STEAM truly means in both its intention and its implementation.  Like its STEM predecessor, STEAM can stop short of its best manifestation without several core components:

  • STEAM is an integrated approach to learning which requires an intentional connection between standards, assessments and lesson design/implementation
  • True STEAM experiences involve two or more standards from Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and the Arts to be taught AND assessed in and through each other
  • Inquiry, collaboration, and an emphasis on process-based learning are at the heart of the STEAM approach
  • Utilizing and leveraging the integrity of the arts themselves is essential to an authentic STEAM initiative
  • All projects start with the school’s essential question (E.Q.) Each year’s essential question is updated.
  • 2020-2021 essential question:
    • “How Am I Essential?”



What is Project Inquiry Based Learning (PIBL) as described by Buck Institute of Education?

Project Inquiry Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge. Essential Elements of PIBL include:

  • Significant Content – At its core, the project is focused on teaching students important knowledge and skills, derived from standards and key concepts at the heart of academic subjects.
  • 21st-century competencies –Students build competencies valuable for today’s world, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity/innovation, which are explicitly taught and assessed.
  • In-Depth Inquiry –Students are engaged in an extended, rigorous process of asking questions, using resources, and developing answers.
  • Driving Question – Project work is focused by an open-ended question that students understand and find intriguing, which captures their task or frames their exploration.
  • Need to Know – Students see the need to gain knowledge, understand concepts, and apply skills in order to answer the Driving Question and create project products, beginning with an Entry Event that generates interest and curiosity.
  • Voice and Choice – Students are allowed to make some choices about the products to be created, how they work, and how they use their time, guided by the teacher and depending on age level and PIBL experience.
  • Critique and Revision –The project includes processes for students to give and receive feedback on the quality of their work, leading them to make revisions or conduct further inquiry.
  • Public Audience – Students present their work to other people, beyond their classmates and teacher.



There are 15 Essential Skills used daily at TFA. The skills listed below are used by teachers and students to promote higher order thinking. Essential skills are a tool for understanding, applying, and communicating knowledge, and developing social and emotional maturity.


  • Comparing
    Examining for likenesses and differences
  • Abstracting
    Breaking up a whole and/or creating a whole from pieces
  • Analyzing Perspective
    Examining the elements and parts of something in its relationship to the way you view it or someone else views it
  • Philosophizing
    To reason.  To bring into conformity with a philosophical point of view.  A search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means
  • Discriminate
    The power to distinguish and select what is true, appropriate, or excellent
  • Evaluating Measurement
    To determine the significance or worth by carefully appraising or study
  • Organizing
    To form something into a clear structure so that it can be systematically followed
  • Analyzing
    To break down a complex whole to its parts



  • Paraphrasing
    A restatement giving the meaning in another form
  • Sequencing
    A continuous and connected series united by a theme
  • Arguing
    Showing proof
  • Listening
    To pay attention in order to hear and understand
  • Questioning
    To subject to analysis
  • Clarifying
    To be free of confusion, to make understandable
  • Storytelling
    Uses sequencing analyzing perspective to tell a point of view


The TFA Senior Expectations

TFA seniors are required to meet expectations that will help them to develop the skills needed to be citizens and stewards of our world.

  • Able to interpret information
  • Use of multimedia for research and writing
  • Able to write effectively
  • Comprehensive reading
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Develop an interest and love for other cultures and languages
  • Produce an exhibition that displays academic and creative proficiency
  • Scientific thinking
  • Capable of public speaking
  • Use previous knowledge to build on new knowledge



  • Solid work ethic leadership skills
  • Work in a team environment
  • Respect for self and others
  • Spiritual understanding
  • Morally and ethically sound
  • Able to accept constructive criticism
  • Socially conscious
  • Environmentally conscious
  • Self-confident
  • Responsibility / Ownership
  • Importance of connecting to global situations


Personal Proficiency

  • Basic life skills
  • Proper hygiene and dressing for success
  • Leadership skills
  • Working in a team environment
  • Proficiency of the essential skills
  • Goal setting
  • Realistic expectations
  • Self-starter
  • Self-disciplined
  • Critical thinking



The Foundation Academy graduates have gone on to much success since the school’s founding in 1988. TFA graduates are prepared to critically think, innovate and work collaboratively. These skills are what support great community members, employees, business owners, and happy families.



Facing the Future- Supporting post-secondary options and graduation

The Foundation Academy encourages all our seniors to further their education through post-secondary endeavors by completing a degree or certification program at a state or private college. Some students choose to enter one of our military branches.

During a TFA students senior year they will:

Participate in Community Service Projects – Seniors develop community service projects and are required to complete a senior exit portfolio demonstrating the qualifications to be a TFA graduate who is prepared for post-secondary life.

Visit local colleges – Visits are arranged to tour and learn about options for study as well as scholarship opportunities at FSCJ, UNF, JU and other local college campuses. Speakers representing the different majors from these colleges are invited to come and expound on what their schools offer.

Take courses under Studio School – This program supports a successful transition for our students entering post-secondary life. Skills in personal financial literacy, resume writing and application writing are part of the Studio School. Internships are arranged that expose students to jobs in industries such as medical, sales and construction that often includes paid internships in specialty building skills. TFA partners with organizations in the community that offer these programs. Many field trips are arranged to businesses, government, hospitals, parks and such, to expose our students throughout the years to post-secondary options.

Student Led Conferences This important opportunity allows parents to engage with the senior advisors for a productive year. Seniors along with parents discuss report cards just like underclassmen, but is a time for parents to attend with any and all questions about graduation, internship programs, financial aid and beyond. Should any student or parent have questions, Anne Bruno, Academic Advisor, is available for individual appointments or questions.


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