In its first year of operation, the Central Florida Leadership Academy, a Hyde School affiliate located in Orlando, Florida, opened with 83 students in grades six and seven. This year, CFLA added eigth grade and is off to a strong start with a current enrollment of 125 students.
“One of the biggest challenges in starting a Hyde-model school is training teachers and staff to deliver the character curriculum and develop the character culture,” said Jody Litchford, the school’s founder. “We were very fortunate in our first year to have three separate training sessions put on by the Hyde Foundation, including the new teacher training offered to all Hyde Charter School new faculty in Bath, Maine, and two training sessions in Orlando by Foundation Executive Director Joanne Goubourn and her staff.” Veteran Hyde faculty member Paul Hurd spent two weeks at the school assisting in operations and coaching the faculty and President Malcolm Gauld visited Orlando in January and spoke to the faculty and students. Two of the new school’s faculty members, Social Studies teacher Nick Fuhler and Dean of Students Andy Wimmer, were also able to spend a week this summer on the Woodstock campus, interning with the summer program and assisting with Family Weekend and the Performing Arts Show.
Litchford says, “Realizing the importance of music in a well-rounded Hyde education, we have recently begun acquiring musical instruments. Through donations and purchases of used equipment, we now have a full-sized keyboard, three guitars, a complete set of stage drums, another snare drum and marching quads. The drums, particularly, are proving extremely popular among the middle school boys.”
The student body continues to be diverse, both economically with 45% of students qualifying for the national free and reduced lunch program, and culturally, with about 50% of the school representing a broad spectrum of ethnic and racial minority groups. CFLA continues to make progress on its mission to make a Hyde family-based character education available to all students.
Litchfield adds, “We welcome visits (and any other assistance) from Hyde alumni! If you’re in our area, please feel free to come and see us.”