Start on the right track with College Academy
Clara Melo De Paula
High School is already challenging enough for most students; all the tests, projects, SATs and college applications can sometimes be hard to keep up with. Yet some students still feel like they aren’t living up to their full potential and Broward County felt the same way, so they created an alternative for those specific students. College Academy is a partnership with Broward College that allows students to get a head start on their college education.
College Academy (CA) is a free two-year program for students to finish their high school credits while also working on their Associates of Arts (AA) degree during their junior and senior year of high school. CA was founded in 2001 and was modeled after the Miami Dade School of Advanced Studies.
To attend CA, students need a grade point average of 3.25, instead of the traditional 3.0 for dual enrollment, and also need to take the Post Education Readiness Test (PERT). Achieving a score of 106 in reading, 103 in writing and a 123 in math, instead of the 114 in math required for dual enrollment.
“We use some of the basic dual enrollment requirements, we have a little bit higher grade point average requirement… just because of the fact that [students] are full time instead of just taking a course here and there like a traditional [dual enrollment] kid,” said Dr. Jodie Weinstein, CA Central Campus Guidance Counselor.
Not only does CA give the opportunity for students to get a head start on their college education for free, but also allows students for a more personalized experience. Since CA is a partnership with Broward College, the students in a classroom range from 20-40 students for most courses and students have the opportunity to finish their main course work while also having support from their teachers.
“I teach here as an adjunct and I teach general psychology class. My classes are kept at 30 students, that is all that can be in there. And, I have a friend who teaches the same course at the University of Central Florida, her class has 1,500 students in it. She will never get to meet all of them and interact with them. So, I think that’s probably, to me, the best benefit,” said Weinstein.
Recently, CA faculty held an event for early release day in which students gathered around Broward College Central Campus for a kickball match, along with some food and music.
Since CA students have a different schedule but also have early release, many students are left with nothing to do until the buses arrive to take them home.
“On early release days… College Academy students are invited to participate on early release activities, this is mainly due to the fact that buses leave a 2 p.m. and early release starts around 12:15. So on that extra time, we come out to a field and play a fun team-based game” said Rajudarshan Persaud, a CA student.
This past early release, the students played a game of kickball by the lake at BC, where students were divided into groups of juniors and seniors.
“We feel these events build a little bit of community and allow us to get together, both students and faculty, … and gives everybody a chance to kind of see each other outside of the classroom, which helps us to personalize a little bit more” said Dr. Jodie Weinstein, Guidance Director for CA.
During the event, students have the opportunity to play sports, hang out with their friends and eat some pizza that the faculty provides. Even though a score was not kept for this game, students still were able to enjoy and relax for a little bit.
“I pretty much come every single time we have [an event], … a lot of my friends come here so … we all have a lot of fun and also free pizza,” said Persaud.
Along with the early release events, College Academy does many more activities that help students socialize and feel a little bit more like they are still in high school, such as Senior Step Up Day, Spirit Week and even Prom at the end of the school year.
CA, however, does require a lot of time for school work so faculty does advise for students to think about their extracurricular activities before joining.
For more information about College Academy, go to www.browardschools.com/collegeacademy.
Photo: College Academy students enjoying an early release day. Clara Melo De Paula /The Observer.