The College of the Florida Keys (CFK) celebrated the groundbreaking of its new STEM charter high school, the CFK Academy, with a ceremony on Tuesday, February 8. The 7,000 square-foot building, being constructed by Ajax Building Company, will be located centrally on the College’s Key West Campus and is scheduled to be complete in December 2022. The CFK Academy, which will be a free public high school, will open its doors to students in grades nine through 12 in the 2023- 2024 school year. The complete high school experience will come with additional perks of being part of the College, including the opportunity to earn an associate degree and industry credentials alongside a high school diploma.

“Buildings are more than just physical spaces. At CFK, they represent safe havens; they help to instill confidence; they provide opportunity,” remarked Dr. Jonathan Gueverra, CFK President and CEO, at the ceremony. “With this facility, we hope to decrease the number of individuals whose access to top level STEM and career technical education is limited.”

The school’s curriculum will apply a project-based learning approach through all grades and place emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. CFK Academy students will have access to a variety of college-level academic and career technical education (CTE) courses and programs through expanded Dual Enrollment (DE) opportunities. CFK’s DE program allows high school students to complete courses that earn both high school and college credits, at no cost to the students or their parents. Currently, many DE students commute between their high school and CFK to take advantage of the program. The addition of the CFK Academy will allow students to take a full curriculum of both high school and college courses in one location. This will provide more options and convenience for high school students aspiring to get a head start on college while they are completing their high school graduation requirements.

The CFK Academy will be a part of the College community; however, it will maintain its own space, including 24/7 security and a designated school resource officer. The school will also keep the standard technological and curriculum requirements for the State of Florida.

“In 2019, Governor DeSantis set a goal of making Florida the number one state in the nation for workforce education by 2030,” said Gueverra. “We can get there, but it will take a combined effort that allows for education, training, retraining, lifelong learning, and refocusing our efforts to educate all individuals. It will take innovation, creativity, and adequate resources. This CFK Academy is a step in that direction.