Academy teaches students one-on-one

Two Futures Academy middle school students concentrate on their frog dissection project while in the lab. (photo by Carol Rupp)

Academy teaches students one-on-one

Back to school can come in different settings for many students. Whether it be at their local high school, charter school, at home or at a private school, there are many options for families to choose from today.

One of these options is Futures Academy, a tuition-based private school that teaches its students with a one-on-one approach.

“It used to be that we thought the same education fit everybody. We’ve realized that one size does not fit all, so I think it’s really important that students have other ways to get the information without having to sit in a classroom with 30 or 40 other people in a school of 2,000 where they feel lost,” campus director Carol Rupp said.

The academy is for students in grades 6-12 and there are currently 16 campuses in the state. The San Diego campus, 9915 Mira Mesa Blvd., Ste. 210, is close to Hibert Street just down the road from Scripps Ranch High School.

The school offers regular, remedial, honors and AP classes.

According to the school’s website, the method of teaching is based on research showing that “pacing instruction to each student’s individual needs improves learning outcomes.”

Rupp, who previously taught at public schools, said she feels she can serve students better with this one-to-one student to teacher ratio.

“I know what it’s like to have 150, 170 kids come through your door every day and you can’t serve all of them,” she said.

For every student enrolled, the staff at Futures Academy tailors their lessons and homework based on the way the student learns best, Rupp said.

“If they (teachers) have five kids on their schedule that are all taking the same class, they’re going to be teaching five different ways” Rupp said.

This is because the students enrolled come from various backgrounds and have different needs, Rupp explained. There are regular students enrolled, but there have been student athletes, students in the entertainment industry and competitive dancers.

The school also enrolls students with anxiety, attention deficit disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, for whom the standard public school setting may not work, Rupp said.

Eduardo Ceja, who has been teaching with Futures Academy for 12 years, said he likes this way of teaching because he can see the difference it makes.

“You get to see how much one-on-one can change students’ and families’ whole lives,” he said.

According to the school’s website, students can have flexibility with the school schedule. Students can attend classes Mondays through Fridays at regular school times, or can adjust their schedules to attend classes fewer days, hours or through Facetime or Google Hangouts, as needed, Rupp said. Students can also be enrolled full-time or part- time.

Students attending public school can enroll in Futures Academy for an AP course, but must have approval from their school to do so.

According to the website, full time tuition ranges from about $22,000 to $34,000 per school year. One course is $2,850. To help with tuition costs, the school offers financing options. Parents can also apply for a loan through Your Tuition Solution.

According to its website, the school is accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The textbooks the school uses are approved by the California Department of Education. When students graduate from Futures Academy, they do so with a high school diploma, Rupp said.

“We are teaching to the same standards that the public schools are teaching to,” Rupp said.

The San Diego campus currently has 35 students enrolled for the fall semester and can take up to about 50 students, Rupp said. Parents looking to enroll their students will first meet with Rupp to talk about their child and the school. They will then meet with Academic Lead Eduardo Ceja, who will help decide what teachers to pair with the student. The prospective student can also come in and shadow a class or a school day.

“It’s not just come in, this is your paperwork, let me gather your tuition, get your kid enrolled. There’s a lot of conversation that goes on so that the parents can come in and they can see how it works,” Rupp said.

In order to ensure students enrolled can get the most support, Rupp said all of the teachers on staff are multifaceted, so they can teach more than one class.

“We all wear many hats,” said Rupp, who also teaches some classes.

Ceja said he enjoys the work atmosphere but also teaching students because, “to see the transformation of students, it feels like we’re doing something special.”

While the academics are important, the school also offers activities for students to get the most out of their educational experience, Rupp said. The school offers clubs such as art club, music club, environmental club and has a student government. The campus also hosts a prom for its students in collaboration with its San Diego County and Orange County campuses.

“We try to make sure that kids aren’t losing anything by coming here,” Rupp said.

The fall semester is officially scheduled to begin on Aug. 26, but students can be enrolled at any time as the school has rolling enrollment.

While it may not be the correct setting for all students, Rupp said she wants families to know the school is there if they need it.

“I think it’s really important that there are multiple options for students to succeed. This is not the right school for everyone, but for those that it’s right for, it’s really right,” Rupp said.

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