TAL FAQs

What scholarships does The Academic Link accept?
A.The Academic Link accepts the McKay Scholarship. We are also approved to accept the Step Up program and the PSLA.  It is important to remember that we may not be the appropriate school for your child based on the services your child might need.
Is The Academic Link a traditional school?
A. No. The Academic Link sets itself apart from traditional schools by significantly reducing class size to 5 to 7 students; customizing curriculum to each student; and most importantly, partnering closely with each parent to individualize courses and goals for his or her child.
What is your school calendar?
A. We start our school year immediately after Labor Day.  See our school calendar.
Is The Academic Link a school?
A. The Academic Link is a small private Christian school.  We are also serve home school students in a variety of ways.  Parents are able to choose between home school  or private school for their students.
Why homeschool over a traditional school?
A. According to Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America, a study conducted by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, demonstrated that homeschoolers, on the average, out-performed their counterparts in the public schools by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects. A significant finding, when analyzing the data for 8th graders, was the evidence that homeschoolers who are homeschooled two or more years score substantially higher than students who have been homeschooled one year or less. The new homeschoolers were scoring on the average in the 59th percentile compared to students homeschooled the last two or more years who scored between 86th and 92nd percentile.This was confirmed in another study by Dr. Lawrence Rudner of 20,760 homeschooled students which found the homeschoolers who have homeschooled all their school aged years had the highest academic achievement. This was especially apparent in the higher grades. This is a good encouragement to families to catch the long-range vision and homeschool through high school.
The NHERI study in 2009 as reported by the Home School Legal Defense Association states the following:  Academic achievement: ” The biggest news? Homeschoolers are still achieving well beyond their public school counterparts—no matter what their family background, socioeconomic level, or style of homeschooling.” In the study, homeschoolers scored 34–39 percentile points higher than the norm on standardized achievement tests. The homeschool national average ranged from the 84th percentile for Language, Math, and Social Studies to the 89th percentile for Reading.  Read more.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics for the Department of Education, parents were asked which one of the applicable reasons they considered to be their most important reason for homeschooling—31 percent of homeschooled children had parents who cited concern about the environment of other schools, such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure, as the most important reason for homeschooling and 30 percent had parents who said the most important reason was to provide religious or moral instruction (table 4). While these were the two most common responses, another 16 percent of homeschooled students had parents who said dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools was their most important reason for homeschooling.

What qualifications do the teachers have?
A.The teachers are state certified. All have bachelor degrees in education or in their subject area. Many of our teachers have their M.Ed.  In addition, we have an M.Ed ESE teacher on staff.  Two of our teachers are adjunct professors at local universities.  See teacher bios for full qualifications.
How does The Academic Link define Individualized Education?
A.The Academic Link defines Individualized Education as the process of providing instruction and curriculum specifically designed and crafted with the individual student in mind so as to meet and appropriately challenge the student’s academic abilities.  Further, The Academic Link identifies Individualized Education as the practice of instructing the student as distinct from other students and deserving of one-on-one attention on a daily basis to build on strengths and address weaknesses.
Is there a difference in assessments than the traditional school?
A.Yes, teachers are focused on assessments that encourage critical thinking and creativity.  However, there is a place for multiple choice tests in assessments.  Additionally, assessments are customized, if needed, for any one student.  Typically, this is beneficial for students with learning difficulties such as dyslexia.  Projects are used as both a learning tool as well as an assessment tool.  Unlike most schools, we do not assign projects to be done at home; all projects are done in class.

All work assigned is graded and reviewed for mastery.  Further, work is often graded with the student present so that corrections or reteaching can occur right away.  Students are enthusiastic about finding out their grade on an assignment right away.  They are much more receptive to making corrections right after they have completed the assignment.

What methods are used to inform parents about their child’s progress?
A.Report cards are issued each quarter.  Progress reports are issued midway through each quarter.  Quarterly meetings are required between the Executive Director and a student’s parents.  Each student brings home a weekly folder with his or her work.  Teachers are available everyday before or after school.  Teachers reach out to parents to keep them informed of concerns and successes.  The school can forward grade records at anytime as requested.  Additionally, the Academic Link utilizes a math program that will provide parents with specific skills information; two reading programs that also provide valuable information about skills and abilities; and other valuable online resources that provide skill based information.
How are academics customized for my child?
A. Each student is evaluated for skills in reading, writing, and math. Based on the results of these tests, we partner with the student’s parents to choose a curriculum best suited for  their elementary, middle school or high school student.  Previous testing such as standardized tests and/or professional testing are part of the planning process for individualized instruction.  Modifications and accommodations are put in place as needed.  Parents work with the Executive Director to determine courses that benefit their child.  For example, it may be appropriate for a student to take two math classes and eliminate a history class or a study hall to make greater gains in math.  Finally, teachers are committed to observing each student and making recommendations that support each student.
What records or accountability does the Palm Beach County School Board require on homeschool students?
A. Parents choosing to homeschool their child must submit a Home Education Letter of Intent to the Palm Beach County School Board.

An annual evaluation is required by the Palm Beach County School Board. Evaluations must be completed by one of three entities:  a state certified teacher; a licensed school psychologist; or the distance learning school the student may be using.

Every parent is required to keep a portfolio with a sampling of the student’s work for two years.  The Academic Link manages the portfolio for its students.

The Florida Statutes should be reviewed and the above requirements are not considered to be all inclusive of Florida State Statutes for School Choice,  Florida State Statutes,  or the Palm Beach County School District Home Education Office.

May my child participate in extracurricular sports with a public or private school?
A.Yes, your middle school and high school student may participate in sports at your designated public school.  Many private schools open their doors to home school students for their sports programs.  There are GPA requirements for students participating in FHSAA membership schools.

Florida State Statutes for home educated students provides that homeschooled students enrolled in private schools, such as The Oaks Private School which serves homeschool students, may participate in sports at FHSAA schools, provided certain requirements are met.  More information can be found at  http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/1006.15