Character development, family-like atmosphere part of Orlando charter school's curriculum

Students say family-like atmosphere helps with academics

ORLANDO, Fla. – Central Florida Leadership Academy is a charter school focused on both academics and on character development.

The Orange County school offers free tuition and serves students from sixth through 12th grade. The school uses what's known as the Hyde Model.

"Which really just means our focus is on character development and families. We believe parents are the primary teachers and home is the primary classroom," said Principal Joanne Goubourn.

Goubourn says the school follows the Orange County Public Schools curriculum but integrates character development into the classroom daily. Students are broken into small groups called discovery groups.

"We face so many things in our lives, at home, at school. So it really lets us stop and talk about what's going on," Goubourn said. "We talk about our words and our principles or we talk about the struggles of the day. We do a check-in. ‘How are you? What's going on this week?'"

Each day, as students enter the school, they're greeted with a handshake by the faculty. Posted on the walls are reminders of core values and principles, like honesty, integrity and truth.

Class of 2018 graduate Alexis West said the one-on-one attention and family-like atmosphere helped pull her through some tough times.

"I can't even begin to say what everyone here has done for me. I've gone through a lot of things and haven't always been the best student to deal with, so I appreciate them always being here with open arms and helping me out when I needed them," said West.

CFLA is currently enrolling for the 2019-2020 school year. If you'd like more information on upcoming open houses as well as an application, click here.

About the Author: