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Academy serving Fairfield students who learn differently in 5th year

Posted at 3:11 PM, Sep 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-22 15:20:56-04

FAIRFIELD, Ohio — Not every student learns the same way – or at the same pace - and for those teens in Fairfield the district’s alternative academy is an option different from the traditional high school setting.

Smaller classrooms, student-paced learning with one-on-one instruction in blended classrooms with year-to-year teacher continuity all coordinated to help 9-12 students in the Fairfield Academy to optimize the best ways they learn.

Since 2014 the academy has had its own building of classrooms, offices and mini-cafeteria located on Donald Road as part of the combined Fairfield Intermediate and Central Elementary campuses.

Fairfield junior Ellie Frye said she has learned to thrive in the alternative program, which this year enrolls 111 high school students.

Frye transferred to the academy in her sophomore year and never looked back.

“This is a very small (school) community and all the teachers here - and all the staff and all the students – are just great,” said Frye.

The academy “is between a public school and an online school, where you would be isolated. Everyone here gets to know each other. At the high school, it’s kind of hard to get to be known personally,” she said.

“I would completely recommend it and I’ve recommended it to a lot of people,” she said.

Fairfield Academy Director Kyle Jamison said the program isn’t just focused on helping students earn their school credits toward graduating high school. That’s only the minimum goal, he said, and that’s why academy students are exposed to dozens of college and career speakers from all types of post-secondary schools and industries to better broaden their horizons.

Moreover, enrolled student can still participate in Fairfield High School school sports, band and other extra-curricular activities.

“We certainly aren’t the school for everybody but we are a school that can meet a lot of needs for students who aren’t being successful in that traditional school setting,” said Jamison.

Student “will get a really personal experience here and the building sells itself,” he said referring to energetically bright wall colors plastered with positive and motivational sayings all designed to inspire success in academics and life.

Work has also begun on a planned expansion of the program to accommodate 7th and 8th graders next school year.

“It’s a good, customer service experience here,” he said.

The Journal-News is a media partner of WCPO 9 On Your Side.