i3 Academy is a Flagship program at Flagler Palm Coast High School that was launched nearly four years ago and has expanded since the start in 2013. If you don’t know what a Flagship is then click here to view a previous article about Flagships. i3 has been impactful in the Flagler County school system through their collaboration with the community and the new style of learning they have brought. The i3 Flagship began when Mrs. Kerri Sands and Mr. Blake VandeBunte traveled to Indiana to learn about the New Tech program back in 2013, where they learned how to run their own New Tech school.
The i3 Academy has not only proved to be a successful way to teach, but also has grown in their number of students. i3 started the first year with 60 students and has now grown to 135 students.
Mr. Blake VandeBunte, the director of i3 stated, ”Our enrollment has grown each year. We currently have 9th and 10th grade groups that are either near or at capacity. Our applications for the 2017-2018 school year are coming in faster than any other year. We have had several projects over the last few years covered by the local news which has been very exciting for students, parents, and staff members.”
Austin McCleer, an i3 senior stated,“I came to i3 to experience a new way to learn, instead of going to high school and reading books we get to work on projects with our classmates. It’s a completely different experience.”
The purpose of i3 in Flagler County is to give high school students more options on what their preferred school surroundings will be like, such as one-on-one teacher time. Also there are only a small amount of students at the i3 campus so for some middle schoolers just coming into high school, the lower student count might keep them focused and be the best option, rather than the large amount of students at the main campus.
The academy has also been helpful to other county’s around Florida that are interested in becoming a New Tech school, and tour the campus for an example. i3 recently hosted a tour of superintendents around the area who are interested in becoming a New Tech school. Dates for i3 student recruitment days and informational meetings can be found here.