With roots as a vocational high school, Pontiac Academy for Excellence has evolved to the needs to its community and is now a district on one campus, offering elementary, middle and high school with caring staff and faculty who focus on the whole child, the whole family and the whole community. Let’s take a look back.
New Directions Institute (NDI) was opened, chartered by Saginaw Valley State University. NDI was managed by the Leona Group. The Institute was a collaborative effort of Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency (OHLSA), Motech and representatives of the building trades. NDI combined academics with hands-on learning in the construction and automotive trades, but faced hurdles like low attendance and enrollment, high staff turn over, several principals, budget constraints, discipline issues and a break down of the school’s structure.
The School Board resolved to change directions by closing the high school and continuing NDI as a K-5 elementary school.
The Leona Group dissolved its relationship with the School Board, and The Romine Group was chosen as the new management company. Soon after, The Romine Group merged with Beacon Education Management. An amendment to the original charter was written and accepted by SVSU to re-charter the school as a K-5 school and NDI was renamed Pontiac Academy for Excellence.
SVSU expanded the charter to 12th grade. The school would initially open as a K-5 school and add a grade level each year. (Exception: year two when two grade levels were added.)
PAE opened its doors as a K-5 charter school with 247 students and 20 staff members.
The program expanded to K-7 with 445 students. The building underwent construction to complete the first and second floors.
Beacon Education Management merged with Chancellor Academies and became Chancellor Beacon Academies.
Enrollment jumped to 647 as eighth grade was added and the building grew again with the addition of the 3rd floor.
The addition of high school grades began as PAE became a K-9 program with 769 students.
Chancellor Beacon Academies merged with Imagine Schools. PAE was now managed by Imagine Schools.
PAE ended its relationship with Imagine Schools. The decision was made to move toward self-management. Charter Management Alternatives was hired to aide in this transition. PAE under went construction again.
A new high school building opened in fall of 2005. In the 2005-2006 school year enrollment was 1033 with the addition of the 11th grade. The PAE staff grew to almost 100.
The school year marked PAE becoming a full K-12 program with 1058 students and saw the opening of first floor of the High School building and Administrative Offices. The first graduating class of Pontiac Academy for Excellence included thirteen students. During the summer, four High School Seniors traveled to China with the Michigan State University Special Program for Gifted Students.
Enrollment was 1105. PAE transitioned to being self-managed during this school year.
The school year began as a self-managed school. Four PAE students, along with selected staff, attended President Obama’s Inauguration in Washington, D.C.. This event was sponsored by Oakland University’s Upward Bound Program. PAE continued to partner with Oakland University for education field placement students, hosting 120 college students this year. PAE Elementary and Middle Schools both made AYP on the 2008-2009 MEAP test. The leadership of PAE consisted of a Superintendent along with an Elementary Principal and a Secondary Principal. 1135 students attended PAE during the 2008-2009 school year.
To accommodate the growing number of students enrolling and attending PAE, a decision was made to divide our school into three separate schools, thereby making PAE a school district. Prior to the doors opening for the 2009-2010 school year, construction once again began to produce more classrooms, relocate the District Administrative Offices and give each building (Elementary School, Middle School, and High School) a central location for its administrative offices. Leadership expanded as well, with an Elementary Principal, a Middle School Principal and a High School Principal. Not only did this allow more students to join the family of PAE, it allowed each building level to focus solely on the needs of its students at their academic level. The first group of Pontiac Academy for Excellence National Honor Society students were inducted this year.
As of count day 2009, there were 1440 students attending the Pontiac Academy for Excellence School District.
To live up to the expectations and requirements of 21st century learning, many technological advances were made to increase learning for our students prior to the 2010-2011 school year. A mobile laptop cart was installed for each school. Starboards with interactive student response devices were purchased (five mobile carts for the Elementary School and Middle School each and a permanent installation in each High School classroom). An additional computer was also installed in each core content classroom. A state of the art phone messenger service was installed for better home-school communication. A full district (K-12) positive behavior and character education curriculum was purchased. An additional Elementary School principal was hired dividing the school into lower-Elementary and upper-Elementary sections. Each Middle School Math classroom has two co-teachers and the Science department has adopted an experimental-inquiry approach to teaching. The National Junior Honor Society inducted our first group of 57 students this year. The High School implemented a 9th grade Academic Interventions, Mentoring, Monitoring and Support (AIMMS) program to ensure the success and graduation of our students.