Academy News

Pensacola Radio Show Features Escambia Academy

February 16, 2024
Pensacola Radio Show Features Escambia Academy Hero Image

The flexible, personalized education offered by Escambia County Acceleration Academies hit the airwaves recently, when ECAA Director Mat Taylor made a guest appearance on the “Pep Talk with Jake Walker” radio program on Pensacola Newsradio 92.3.

As the program began, Walker said that he heard about ECAA from a friend of his at church. “She’s been talking about you and Acceleration Academies for months and months,” Walker said. “I’m glad to be able to finally have you on the show.”

At the host’s invitation, Taylor gave listeners an overview of what makes ECAA different than a traditional high school: A schedule flexible enough to fit around work and family responsibilities; an online learning platform that’s available 24/7; academic and personal coaches who provide one-on-one support on-campus and via Zoom and phone.

The goal, Taylor said, is to give learners the chance to earn a diploma some might have thought beyond their grasp. The academy even provides laptop computers and other learning aids to students — who are called “graduation candidates” to remind them of their goals — who are in need.

“We just need you to commit to showing up and we will help get you where you need to be,” Taylor said.

“Wow, you’re just breaking down all the barriers between everyone and higher education,” Walker said. “I guess the magic question is, how much does this all cost?”

Taylor’s reply: “It’s free.”

He explained that ECAA works in partnership with Escambia County Public Schools to provide an option for learners who had struggled in traditional schools. And like all public schools, the education is supported by public funding and free of charge to students.

In addition to successfully completing their coursework, learners must pass standardized tests required by Florida to earn their diplomas. That can be a struggle for some, but at ECAA, they’re not alone. Coaches work with them to prepare for the tests, returning again and again to material that can be hard to master the first time through.

“We call it a productive struggle,” Taylor explained. “We’re going to work with you on overcoming that struggle of what it is you don’t know — and we’ll keep working with you until we get you where you need to be.”

To listen to the entire radio program, click here.