With a current head count of 745 students on two campuses, Foundation Academy in Winter Garden has come a long way since it opened over 50 years ago. It also shows no signs of slowing down.
The school’s faculty and teachers aim to build a strong foundation for life for students, from the inside out, by focusing on the development of the whole child. This is achieved through small class sizes that allow educators to act as mentors through a Christ-centered approach that balances each student’s academic, spiritual, social and emotional needs. In this way, they are inspired to discover and develop their unique, God-given talents and potential.
Excelling in Academics
While faith is the backbone of learning at Foundation Academy, David Buckles, the school’s president, says all students are welcome to attend. “We use that as an opportunity to share Jesus while we’re educating,” he says.
Foundation Academy’s comprehensive college preparatory curriculum is fully accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Honors classes begin in elementary school and advanced placement and dual enrollment courses are offered in high school.
Technology is important in the classroom setting. Students use Google Chromebooks, and teachers have access to roving labs that can be used inside the classroom. Director of Education Carol Grosshans says Foundation Academy will be continuing to add to its technology credentials in the coming year.
When it comes to academics, Grosshans says the one-to-one relationship provided at Foundation Academy helps the students excel.
“They truly feel like their teachers care about them,” she says. “So whether they’re learning to dissect a frog or they’re learning their ABCs, there’s that connect between our teachers and the kids to make sure they are learning what they need to learn but with a heart and with a caring attitude toward our kids and our families as a whole.”
We are Family
During a recent parent survey, the school’s family atmosphere was a topic that was mentioned frequently. So much so that Buckles considers “family” a key word in Foundation Academy’s halls.
Jeane Boast, who has three children attending the school, agrees. Her oldest child started at Foundation Academy in preschool and is now close to graduation. She says there are about 25 students in his class who have been together in each grade level over the past 13 years and that they have built lasting friendships during their time there.
Boast describes the school environment as warm and loving, noting that the educators are highly invested in the students. She believes her children have grown in self-esteem and academics due not only to the encouragement they receive at home but also at the school.
“It’s not just a school relationship; it’s a personal relationship,” Boast says.
Heather Graziotti teaches the honors program at Foundation Academy, and she also has two children enrolled there. She says as her children grew with the school, she fell in love with the teachers and other families. She wanted to be there because her kids had such positive experiences.
“Our slogan is #FAisFamily and that’s truly what it is,” Graziotti says. “As soon as you come through the front door, you have a feeling that everybody is welcome.”
In the coming years, there are big plans for the continued growth of Foundation Academy. Buckles hopes to begin construction on an athletic complex at the south campus this summer. There are also plans for a gym addition, weight room and locker room expansion, classroom expansions, a fine arts center and more on the school’s 67 acres.
While the school’s current size allows for a close-knit community of students, educators and families, this aspect of Foundation Academy life will be nurtured as it expands. Buckles wants to ensure that students and parents alike always feel a sense of warmth and love because they are a part of Foundation Academy family.
“That’s one thing as we continue to grow, and we have very aggressive growing plans, that we will guard because we want to keep that,” he says.
Through the school’s evolution one thing is certain: Foundation Academy’s educators will continue to help students build strong foundations for their futures because it is two campuses, one heart.
125 E. Plant St.
Winter Garden, FL 34787
15305 Tilden Rd.
Winter Garden, FL 34787
From the Students
Students of all ages and grade levels shared why they love to go to school at Foundation Academy.
I love my school because of the relationships I’ve developed with my teachers and my peers.
Samantha, 12th grade
I love my school because it’s so family friendly and it shares a lot with Christ and that is very important to me.
Isaac, 7th grade
I love my school because of its warm embracing of Christianity. We can spread the word of Christ in the school, and in other schools we wouldn’t be able to do that.
Valencia, 8th grade
I love my school because it has friends.
I love my school because the teachers are nice.
Jason, 4th grade
I love my school because everyone here is nice.
Amelia, 4th grade
I love my school because everybody is nice.
I love my school because I like learning about God.
Dylan, 2nd grade
Foundation Academy’s Top 10 of 2016
The faculty and students at Foundation Academy had an incredible 2015-16 school year. Here is a breakdown of some of their best moments.
1. The school’s master site plan was approved by the City of Winter Garden, paving the way for a new athletic complex, fine arts center and other exciting campus enhancements.
2. Pre-K through 12th grade students packed and donated over 700 Christmas shoeboxes for Haiti. A group of high school leaders then served on a mission team and to deliver many of these directly to the children in Haiti.
3. Earned Best of Show at the state of Florida ACSI Art Competition, making it the 7th consecutive year an FA student has earned this prestigious award.
4. The varsity football team made it to the regional final championship game for the 2nd straight year.
5. The elementary track team took first place in the annual regional track meet for the 3rd straight year.
6. For the 8th consecutive year, Foundation Academy has achieved 100 percent college placement.
7. The Wizard of Oz, Foundation Academy’s spring musical, was the largest cross-campus collaboration and included students from grades 2-12.
8. Five students achieved 1st or 2nd place in the ACSI Math Olympics and Spelling Bee.
9. The varsity girls’ basketball team won the district championship with a score of 47-44 over Windermere Preparatory School.
10. AP art students achieved a 100 percent pass rate for the 7th consecutive year.