At the 2016 National Alliance for Public Schools’ National Charter Schools Conference, Academica Founder and President Fernando Zulueta, addressed a large crowd on the subject of the accomplishments of charter schools with children of low-income families. The talk demonstrated the notable strides of the charter school movement, which, along with Academica, began gaining momentum 20 years ago.
A great deal has changed since Governor Lawton Chiles signed Florida’s charter school bill into law in 1996. Academica was founded as a charter school service and support entity in 1999.
Today, as arguably the largest and most successful organization of its kind, Academica supports over 200 educational institutions, including charter schools, international digital learning communities, and a college. Academica serves approximately 150,000 students globally. The Academica story began with a simple notion, one to improve South Florida’s public school system in a novel manner.
1996 Governor Lawton Chiles signed Florida’s charter school bill into law
1997 Somerset Academy, Inc and Somerset Neighborhood School were founded
1998 Mater Academy, Inc. is founded.
1999 Doral Academy, Inc. is established.
1999 Academica is founded
2001 Pinecrest Academy, Inc. is established
2004 International Studies Charter High School is established in partnership with the Spanish, French and Italian consulates.
2007 Ben Gamla Charter School, the nation’s first Hebrew-language charter school, is established
2008 Academica supported schools shift from K-12 system to K-16, offering high schools students access to free college courses. These high schools begin graduating students with Associate’s in Arts degrees out of high school.
2008 In partnership with the City of Hialeah, the City of Hialeah Educational Academy is established
2010 Mater Academy East Charter School is named a National Blue Ribbon School
2010 Academica Virtual Education (AVE) is established. Through AVE, Academica International Studies (AIS) offers its dual diploma program to seven students living in a small village in the north of Spain.
2010 In partnership with the City of Belle Isle, Florida, Cornerstone Charter Academy is established.
2011 Somerset Academy Davie is named a National Blue Ribbon School
2012 Somerset Academy, Inc.: the first Charter Management Organization in the nation to receive District Accreditation from SACS/AdvancEd
2012 Doral College, a private non-profit institution of higher learning based in Doral, Florida, is established.
2013 Academica International Studies (AIS) begins offering Dual Diploma to students in Italy
2013 The SLAM (Sports Leadership, Arts& Management) network opens its first school with the help of Ambassador Armando Christian Perez, aka “Pitbull”
2014 Doral Performing Arts & Entertainment is named a National Blue Ribbon School
2014 Doral College graduated its first class of 22 students with Associate in Arts degrees.
2014 Mater Gardens Academy is named a National Blue Ribbon School
2015 Mater Performing Arts & Entertainment Academy is named a National Blue Ribbon School
2015 The Doral Academy Preparatory network achieved District Accreditation from AdvancEd.
2015 Doral Academy Charter Middle School is named a National Blue Ribbon School
2015 International Studies Charter High School is named a National Blue Ribbon School
2016 Somerset Arts Conservatory is named a National Blue Ribbon School
2017 On March 22nd, the Jefferson County, Florida School Board voted to turn over their K-12 programs to the Somerset Academy Charter School Network. A historic vote in Florida, and possibly the nation.
2017 International Studies Charter Middle School is named a National Blue Ribbon School
2017 Doral Academy of Technology is named a National Blue Ribbon School
2017 Somerset Academy Davie is named a National Blue Ribbon School for the second time.
2018 Somerset Academy Miramar is named a National Blue Ribbon School
2019 Mater Academy East Charter Middle School is named a National Blue Ribbon School for the second time
2019 20th Anniversary of Academica
2019 Mater Academy East Charter Elementary School is named a National Blue Ribbon School
2019 Pinecrest Academy North Campus is named a National Blue Ribbon School
2019 Fernando Zulueta inducted into the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Hall of Fame.
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