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Ascend Academy School officials propose alternative programs tailored to address special needs of their students

ASCENDAscend Academy School officials propose alternative programs tailored to address special needs of their students

 Ascend Academy Charter School is a newly designed “state-of-the-art” school facility located in the City of Margate, and is  presently in the final stages of construction. School officials are preparing to greet first class of students in time for Monday, Aug. 24, opening day of Broward County Public Schools system. Pictured (l-r): Ascend Academy Charter School Principal Vince Alessi, along with school Administrative Consultant, Donnie Carter.

By Charles Moseley

      There’s a popular slogan which states, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

From a philosophical perspective, most probably will agree, with the premise that no student should be given up on; however applying the notion that every student cannot only  learn but thrive in the right environment is a daunting task at best.

According to school Principal Vince Alessi, at the Ascend Academy every student is entitled to be provided with a shot at success with the proper educational program. He suggested on using a different approach to teaching; one which is designed to address the special needs of each student.

As a matter of fact his school plans to employ a different approach to educating students; one which is designed to adapt to the individual needs of each student; one that doesn’t use a cookie cutter approach to learning, where students are forced to adapt to a system which does not focus on the needs of the individual student. Therein lies the difference between Ascend Academy and the traditional approach that public schools offer.

Donnie Carter has played an integral role in the development of the school. He serves currently as an administrative consultant for the Ascend Academy Charter School. His professional career includes working in the retail corporate arena as well as carving out a niche at the top administrative level in both the Dade and Broward County Public Schools systems for over 20 years.

“One of our goals is to recognize and address the problems that Black inner city youth typically face-socializing improving their reading, giving them a high level of math, not just giving them 1, 2, 3…, we will give them the basics as well as training in a trade-a mentoring program – all designed to help those students move forward because the graduation rate is under the table-the dropout rate is under the table,” said Carter.

“We plan to work with students who have dropped out, students that were behind, students who specifically had problems reading and having the component that gave them a career pathway A lot of schools have the component which addresses the educational side without having the career part.

“We added the career part. We added counselors in to do more one-on-one counseling, who would address the important questions -‘where are you, where are you supposed to be?’- We also added mentoring as part of the whole thing, and that’s how we developed this school,” added Carter.

Ascend Academy Charter School Principal Vincent Alessi has a 10-year track record as a principal in the BCPS system. By his own admission he has worked a great deal in schools that have a substantial at-risk student population. Alessi worked as an assistant principal at Deerfield Middle School for nearly 15 years, and most recently as the former principal of Cypress Run Alternative Center, for at risk kids in Pompano Beach.

Plans are also underway according which includes expanding the school to include Kindergarten through-eighth grade with a long term goal of building a facility in the future to make the location where the school is located, as a mini educational complex.

‘The City of Margate is redoing the road to dress the road up and do some things along there to support the educational concept this place will become. The race right now is just to get the school started and then all the other stuff will follow.”

“Kids who were expelled kids who could not find a traditional setting that was agreeable for them to take charge of that school that for many students was their last chance. And I did it for five years.”

Alessi came out of retirement to take the reigns as principal of Ascend Academy. Alessi joined the effort which plans to open up additional schools which are dedicated to youth that have fallen behind and require additional credits in order to earn their high school diploma.

“We also have created a program to insure that they get a regular state certified high school diploma and we will help them acquire all the skills they need to get into the job market. I started on June 1st and everyday has become more exciting,” said Alessi.

Construction workers have been working around the clock all summer in an effort as they move closer to putting on the finishing touches on the “state of art” facility located in Margate. If all goes according to plan the school’s construction will be finished and ready to go in time for opening day for Broward County’s public schools. This school officials hope will meet the deadline before Aug. 24, which marks the opening day of school.

That is when the stage will be officially set, all the “cast of characters” put in place, to begin what school officials hope will mark the beginning of a long and successful run as the benchmark by which other schools are compared to here in South Florida.

A cursory review of the literature about the manner in which the school plans to distinguish a reputation built on academic excellence. Their slogan reads, “ASCEND AND EXCELL!” It goes on to state the following message on how they plan on providing students with the tools to succeed while attending their school and as they prepare to meet the challenges in life, in the future.

“Ascend Career Academy serves those students who require a different school educational challenge that is less focused on a traditional school environment and more aligned with individual student needs.  Every student who participates in this program will recognize and appreciate the value of personal dignity, self-discipline, and responsibility to succeed in the pursuit of a high school diploma that directs them on a successful career path.”

Ascend Academy recognizes that not all students  will pursue their education beyond high school and for those students  their curriculum offers a variety of career oriented programs which include; Homeland Security, Certified Transportation Services, Certified Protection Officer, Office Management. Food & Customer Service Skills, Retail & Customer Service Skills, and Child Care & Education. The school also is developing relationships with local companies in various industries which require employees with the skills learned through the vocational curriculum offered at Ascend Academy Charter School.

On the academic side each student will receive free tuition along with a free laptop, flexible learning schedule designed for each student to learn at their own pace.  In addition they also will be eligible for internships and on-site mentoring which is a very important to student in need of positive role models in their lives.

For more information on what Ascend Academy Charter High School has to offer visit, call or email: 5251 Coconut Creek Parkway in Margate, Fla. Phone: (954) 978-4555 or

Presently, enrollment is available.



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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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