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The Dr. Joseph F. Pollack Academic Center of Excellence, or PACE Academy, is a charter school with more than 20 years of experience serving students from around the metro Detroit area on its Southfield campus.
The school prides itself on its strong family atmosphere, one that supports all parents and provides a safe and loving learning environment for their children.
PACE Academy offers classes for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. There are four classrooms for each of the lower school grade levels with teachers and paraprofessionals serving the children. In the middle school, students in grades 6, 7 and 8 rotate classrooms for core classes and electives, including band, strings and art.
“We encourage students to try a variety of things. We find that when they get the subject areas they like the most, they stick with them and gain self-confidence,” says LaNesha Tanner, manager of Data and Student Information Services.
While the students are learning the core subjects, PACE Academy also focuses on the “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” and attempts to instill those in all students. Students are encouraged daily to do things like be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first and think win/win.
The class sizes at PACE Academy are small, Tanner says, with the largest being 25 students in the classroom. There are also support services available for those who need it – including behavior specialists, school counselor, social worker, and academic achievement professionals.
Besides classroom instruction, there are opportunities for students to participate in academic games, math battles, Battle of the Books, school-wide spelling bees and other activities.
“We like to see the students engaged while they are learning, so we have plenty of fun events available to them,” Tanner says.
When the school day ends, many of the students don’t immediately go home.
“We have plenty of after-school programs and activities. Our Champions program offers before- and after-school care. Students can also participate in several activities, such as archery, sports and praise dance,” Tanner says. There are also programs such as baton twirling, karate, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
Competitive sports – such as track, basketball, volleyball and cheer – are offered at the middle school level.
To help families who have busy schedules, children in the before- or after-school program can have breakfast and dinner at the school.
PACE Academy encourages students to stay active all year long, so they host a summer camp roundup in the spring.
“We are interested in the whole child. We want to make sure they have somewhere to go in the summertime and not just be idle,” Tanner says.
PACE Academy also offers programs to help incoming kindergarteners adjust to school life.
“We have kindergarten camp so the students can transition from home or day care to the kindergarten classroom easily. It’s a free, three-week program for our incoming students,” Tanner says.
When students are graduating from PACE Academy, they have many options.
“So many of our students grow up with us,” Tanner says. “After eighth grade, they often have their pick of high schools to attend. We even have an opportunity for high schools to visit PACE Academy and showcase their schools. This gives our students a taste of what’s available through the different programs and helps them decide on their best high school for them.”
Students who attend PACE Academy come from all over the metro Detroit area. Some live near the school, while others commute with their parents who work in the Southfield area near the school.
Parents are a large part of PACE Academy. Tanner says the school has a very active parent organization that keeps parents involved in and outside of the school. The parent group even organizes trips and outings for families.
For more information on the academics and programs, visit the PACE Academy website or call 248-569-1060.