Outstanding Academic Program

FAU High Research Program

1. FAU High School Research Program

The FAU High School (FAUHS) Research Program exposes dual enrolled students in grades 9-12 to research in a variety of disciplines to ignite their curiosity and solve real-world issues. The program consists of a set of research courses and individualized mentoring that guides students through the process of learning necessary, industry-standard research skills, and completing publication-worthy research projects.

The program serves FAUHS students on both the Boca Raton and Jupiter campuses at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). The student population is both ethnically and socio-economically diverse. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of the students belong to a minority group, and around 25- 30% are eligible for free/reduced lunch, depending on the year.

Over the past six years FAUHS student researchers have won 231 research grants totaling $234,145, delivered 488 conference presentations, filed 6 patents, and published 62 research manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, which have collectively been cited 1038 times by other researchers in 58 different countries. One of this year’s graduates was the first high school student and one of two students at FAU ever awarded the nationally prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for her accomplishments in undergraduate research, including a publication.

The outcomes of the FAU High School Research Program not only demonstrate the impact on FAUHS students, but also on their research disciplines. The breadth of FAUHS students’ research spans a wide range of topics, including breast cancer, citrus greening disease, machine learning, Alzheimer’s disease, cryptocurrency, and ocean acidification. These are highly relevant topics to our local community, state, nation, and around the world.

2. The Foundations School, Center for Creative Education

The Foundations School is an independent elementary school that seeks to disrupt educational inequality by providing Palm Beach County youth with affordable and equitable access to a high-quality education built on reading proficiency, creative practice, social/emotional wellbeing, and overall academic achievement. Their approach relies on small class sizes and individualized instruction to meet each student’s needs.

The Foundations School incorporates the arts into daily education in order to establish a strong literacy foundation. Rather than rely on arts-specific courses, The Foundations School uses the creative process to engage students in core curriculum subjects. This integrated approach gives students creative ways to more deeply understand the academic content while maximizing their engagement and retention of information.

The Foundations School is located in zip code 33407, which suffers from long-standing intergenerational poverty. 96% of the students who attended The Foundations School in the 2021-2022 school year qualify for free or reduced lunch. Historically, students attending the schools in this area have struggled to succeed. In the five public schools surrounding The Foundations School’s current location, only about 27% of third-grade students are reading on or above grade level. In one school, only 17% of third-grade students are reading on or above grade level.

The Foundations School gives students access to a high-quality education that sets them up for academic success in the future. The third grade is considered an important milestone in a student’s literacy journey because in the fourth grade, students shift their focus away from learning to read, and they start reading to learn. Thus, students who are behind in reading begin to fall behind in other academic subjects. The Foundations School is designed to meet this important milestone and equip students with the skills they need to be successful in the rest of their education.

Additionally, The Foundations School teaches skills that ultimately set students up for career success. This is achieved not only through providing the foundations for academic success, but also by teaching creative thinking and problem-solving skills that are needed in today’s workforce. This has a positive impact not only on the students themselves but on their families and their communities at-large.

The Foundations School also serves as a demonstration school and partners with the Departments of Education at Palm Beach State College, Florida Atlantic University, and Palm Beach Atlantic University to host pre-service teachers and arts majors so that they can experience the value of arts integration and creativity in the classroom. This is critical to CCE’s mission of sharing its model of teaching and learning with the larger education community.

3. Prestigious National Scholarship Program, Palm Beach Atlantic University

The Prestigious National Scholarship Program at Palm Beach Atlantic University is dedicated to promoting and assisting student applicants to major national and international awards. Born of a university initiative in 2017, the program helps match student applicants with ideal awards, offers feedback on application materials, and coordinates practice interviews with internal committees. The initial aims of the program were to offer the best students at PBA the opportunity to compete with the best students in the nation and to highlight the world-class academic and service work being done at PBA. Rather than only focus on a select group of PBA honors students, the program seeks to provide opportunities to a wide range of students throughout the university. Beginning with the Fulbright Award (with incremental expansion to the Gilman, Truman, and Rhodes Scholarships over the first decade), the program is introducing an institutional culture of achievement in major award competition.

The goal of this program from the beginning has been to promote the opportunity for major national and international award competition, and to then offer the institutional infrastructure in support of those applications. The goal was to begin with applicants to the Fulbright Program and then use that model to expand to other major award competitions. The goal for the first year of Fulbright Award competition was simply to have multiple applicants, and the goal for the second and third years was to have a PBA student win a Fulbright Award each year. In its first year (2018), the program ended up having four applicants and one winner. After having two winners each in 2019, 2020, and 2021, the program had three students win Fulbright Awards in 2022, and also witnessed its first winner of the prestigious Gilman Scholarship. The goal in the future will be to expand the program for further study/research/teaching opportunities to benefit students from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Scholar Career Coaching

4. Scholar Career Coaching, Palm Beach County Schools

Scholar Career Coaching (Scholar CC) is a mentorship program in South Florida that coaches, motivates, and supports high potential English as a Second Language Students and First-Generation in Title I schools. We provide complimentary college and career services including group mentoring, scholarship assistance, standardized testing and college admission fee waivers, FAFSA assistance, and SAT tutoring. In addition, we bring outside professionals and motivational speakers to share inspiring stories and to provide essential community resources to our students.

Our organization is actively working with community leaders to help bridge the education gap for underserved high potential students. Through our college and career pathway, we motivate students to pursue an education beyond high school, whether higher education, community college, technical schools, apprenticeships, or the military.

The mentorship program allows students to be mentored by passionate mentors who share similar academic and career interests. Students also receive one-on-one and group support from Scholar CC program staff. Our student group can and will succeed, and we remain committed to them, their families, and our community.

Scholar Career Coaching has mentored over 1,000 students and awarded 50+ private scholarships thanks to sponsors and community supporters