GOCA’s Press Release – Jax Chamber of Commerce, published Friday, August 21, 2015

July 25, 2016
National School Meal Programs
July 25, 2016

Susie and I are frequently privileged with invitations to view unique programs throughout Florida’s First Coast. This week we were honored to sit down with the leaders of Global Outreach Charter Academy (GOCA). We were immediately in shock and in utter awe with the amazing international programs they offer, right down the street from where we grew up in Arlington! Global Outreach Charter is a multilingual academic center. Academics include a challenging, creative, and rich multicultural curriculum that allow their K-8 aged students to master skills that will allow them to strive in high school, on the collegiate level, and have more opportunity for careers whether it be locally or globally. The immersion in richly diverse academic curriculum is enhanced with outdoor education, community outreach, and global exploration. And best of all, it is a TUITION FREE option for ANY Duval County student! We are so excited about the gem we uncovered, we wanted to share for all of Jacksonville, and for families all over the “globe,” to see! 

GOCA_BLOGWHO: Global Outreach Charter Academy
WHAT: The first Duval County charter school for foreign languages. It emphasizes study of difficult foreign languages at an early stage and with a multicultural curriculum the program empowers students to have a competitive edge in the global competition.
EMAIL: info@gocacademy.com
FACEBOOK: @Global-Outreach-Charter-Academy
TWITTER: @GOCAcademy
INSTAGRAM: 

What IS a Charter School, Anyways?
Charter schools are schools that operate on a performance contract, or “charter,” with the Duval County School Board. They expand school options for students and are freed from many of the regulations that govern public schools, while still being held accountable for academic and financial results.  It is required they hire certified teachers and they are evaluated and assigned a school grade, using the same standards and criteria as other public schools. Global Outreach Charter’s distinguished feature is Russian and Spanish languages and cultural studies, allowing students to earn credits in highly valuable languages.  The founder of the school successfully opened three similar schools in Sacramento, California which grew from 70 to 700 students in 3 years and all were awarded “Best School of the Year!” An additional goal of Global Outreach is to provide Slavic students and their parents adjust to the American school system and accelerate their transition into American Society. To this end, Global Outreach Charter Academy provides newsletters in three languages and after school tutoring in English. This extra help hits home to Susie and me as it is a similar program our grandparents attended at Christ Episcopal Church in Detroit, Michigan. Families who had emigrated from Syria and who only spoke Arabic were taught English and were assisted in merging with American society. We are forever indebted to programs such as these!

So, What Was So Amazing About It?
Really, was it THAT amazing, you ask? Well, first off, the wife and husband team I met with just moved to Jacksonville from Cyprus. Yes, that is Cyprus, a beautiful island off the coast of Greece!!! From THERE to Jacksonville!!! They moved to the States to allow their children to learn the American culture, further their experience in the English language, and to learn global perspective. So you know, they are dedicated to the values of the School, because they are living them. With Russian and Arabic backgrounds, the couple speaks Russian, Arabic, and English and use Greek to communicate amongst themselves. Who knows how many other languages they have mastered while living abroad! I speak a tiny bit of three languages, and a please and thank you in sign language, and would give anything to really master a second language! How I would love to know what they do and have the opportunities they do! Milena described how she got a job at the corporate level right out of college just because she is fluent in Russian! I hope with all my heart that my children can learn and travel and work abroad and have any career opportunity they choose because they have learned languages and are understanding of other cultures. I know Global Outreach is an option to make these dreams happen!

Here are some more reasons why we were infused with excitement and ignited with the passion Milena and her husband have for letting all of Jacksonville know about the opportunities Global Outreach Charter Academy has to offer:

  • Every student from Middle School has the opportunity to travel abroad during the tenure of their study. They work hard to provide a low cost option for ALL Middle School students to make a trip abroad. AMAZING!!!
  • The school has a foreign exchange student program. In 2015 they had students from Germany studying at the school. Having those students emerged with the Jacksonville students allows everyone to learn understanding, global communication, and language from other students their age that comes alive outside of books! This year, the school is anticipating hosting students from France!
  • Global Outreach has an Early High School Program where Middle School students can earn up to six high school credits, preparing them for the advanced coursework of high school and those advanced placement or International Baccalaureate programs. 
  • GOCA has classrooms equipped for special needs students with doctoral level instructors. This is a program that all of Jacksonville’s special needs students can take advantage of. Many families feel that languages are not obtainable for their child, however languages are not only possible, but extremely helpful in the development of special needs students.
  • The school offers a rich variety of after school programs, including language, arts, sports, chess, Lego and many more. The School’s ultimate goal is to offer more powerful Russian programs like ice hockey and ballet! The public can take advantage of these after school language clubs, too!
  • Dining at Global Outreach is also a unique program for Jacksonville. Global Outreach Charter partnered with a new catering company, Turnaround Solution Catering Company, to provide ALL students FREE OF CHARGE healthy options for nutrition every day with daily inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables. Parents can rest easy knowing that their children will learn about good nutrition and eat healthily at school!

More for the Future
With the genius idea of utilizing a building across the street from Regency Square Mall, the leaders of Global Outreach are revitalizing the area. Their goals include opening a VPK program to incorporate languages into academic curriculum at a younger age, when it is even easier to learn. They are passionate to open a high school with opportunity to continue the cultural curriculum in preparation for college. And they are working hard to add even MORE language options for students during the school day! Sitting down with Milena and her husband has already ignited the passion in me to really learn language at home. I even got out my Spanish dictionary with my children later that day! We know that when Jacksonville families hear about this amazing charter school they will want to learn more about it for their children. We are excited to help Global Outreach Charter Academy share their passion and excitement for language and culture with the families of Jacksonville!

For more information on Global Outreach Charter Academy and their programs, CLICK HERE.

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