Camelot Academy of Santa Rosa Opens Its Doors for the First Time to Educate Students with Exceptional Needs
As students walked into Camelot Academy of Santa Rosa for the first time this year, a vision long in the works became a reality. After months of planning and preparation, the school opened its doors on Aug. 24 to serve students within the Santa Rosa School District that have an array of exceptional needs.
The school, which is located in Pace, Florida, educates students, grades K-12 and provides social and emotional support through individualized attention and a curriculum based on each student’s cognitive ability, learning style, and interest. The school specializes in educational models that focus on its High School Dropout Prevention Program and its Early Elementary Intervention Program.
“It feels amazing after all the stages we went through to get everything prepared,” said Director of Operations Toscca Madison. “It was a big journey, and so rewarding to see the school open on the first day.”
Madison, who was previously the Academic Coordinator at Camelot Academy of Escambia in nearby Pensacola, has been part of the plans to launch the school since the beginning. Since day one, she has ensured that staff and students wear face coverings at all times and follow proper safety protocols to maintain a safe, healthy learning environment.
She says that students and staff have used opening a new Camelot school to create a special bond. Teachers and students recognize the importance of being the first in a new school, embarking on a new journey.
“We all know we have a part in making this school special,” said Madison. “It really helps with building school pride.”
Students are thrilled to make an impact as the first to attend Santa Rosa.
According to 6th grader Cameron Lock, he is excited to use what he has learned about kindness and respect to “treat others the right way.”
Sage Strickland, 11th grade, enjoys the school’s new tradition of Fun Friday, and the way the staff continually goes the extra mile with her and her classmates.
“The staff always cares about us and help us understand our work so we can complete it on time,” said Strickland.
This is a year of firsts not just for the school as a whole, but for language arts and intermediate reading teacher, Jaylen Smith. After a career working with Habitat Humanity, Smith begins his first year teaching. He comes from a family of teachers and was motivated to be part of Santa Rosa to help support students who need Camelot’s education model.
“It’s definitely exciting to help launch a school as a new teacher,” said Smith. “I love having the opportunity to help create something. It’s been an absolute joy.”
“Everyone on the resource team and the staff should be proud of the work they put in to make this happen,” said Madison. “It’s been rewarding and fulfilling from day one, and now we see everything come into place.”
The goal for students who attend Camelot Academy of Santa Rosa is to make progress on their individual goals and objectives, as stated in their Individual Education Plan, so they may return to their neighborhood school as soon as possible. Camelot’s partnership with the Santa Rosa School District allows students to receive specific educational support in smaller classes with more individual attention.