One of the major accomplishments of the Board working with Dr. Marshall this year at Fortis Academy is the resolution reaffirming our founding vision and mission. They Board passed a resolution which defines clearly who we are as a school and where we are going. Running with that mandate from the board, Dr. Marshall is working with the Administrative staff on a strategic plan to guide our school to fulfill its mission.
I have enjoyed working with Dr. Marshall and truly appreciate his love and commitment to classical Christian education. I have had the privilege to see Dr. Marshall behind the scenes and have witnessed both his compassion for people, commitment to doing what is right, and his willingness to sacrifice to help our school. Dr. Marshall has worked with many schools, so I was very encouraged when he began talking about our strengths as a school and how we should be proud of who we are.
What is the Fortis Academy mission or vision?
The mission of Fortis Academy is to “partner with families to classically educate and disciple our sons and daughters to lead and serve others for the glory of God… Fortis Academy provides a classical, college preparatory education to students, grades [Pre]K-12, while satisfying those whose core values demand greater parental involvement in the child-rearing process.”
What does it mean that the Fortis Academy Board of Directors recently voted to reaffirm its originating vision?
Through prayerful discussion, research and advice, the board strongly reaffirmed this mission. Fortis will renew itself as a lean, economically accessible, college-preparatory classical and Christian University Model School.
How will this reaffirmation have an impact on the academic program?
Fortis Academy will further align its grammar > logic > rhetoric academic curriculum scope and sequence vertically (grade to grade) and horizontally (subject to subject integration) to achieve a graceful transition through the sequence to graduation. Amanda May is working on this with Dr. Marshall each week he is on site. Graduation requirements are already aligned with college entrance expectations.
Will the college preparatory nature of the program qualitatively influence admission policy?
Fortis Academy will place a stronger priority on mission-appropriate enrollment of students that can prosper at the pace and level of rigor required to achieve college readiness by graduation.
Will Fortis Academy provide college test preparation and guidance to support the college-preparatory nature of the academic program?
Yes. The college test preparation and guidance program will consist of electives to be included in the schedule or by seminar. These are currently under development.
Will there be a means provided for students to earn college credit prior to high school graduation?
Over time Fortis plans to include a reasonable number of mission-appropriate Advanced Placement courses to enable a student to earn college credit while studying with a biblical worldview,
Are there other aspects of school program offerings that will adjust to meet the Academy mission?
Yes. Fortis will develop a lean, competitive athletic program focusing on one appropriate sports opportunity per season (and per gender when needed) and a conditioning program as pay to play electives. We will seek to motivate each student to participate in at least one program.
What will Fortis Academy do to attract and retain the best possible teachers?
The Board and Admin Staff recognize the importance of keeping the great faculty it already enjoys and attracting and retaining new terms long term. To do so Fortis needs to improve compensation, find a way to offer some full-time positions, improve working conditions and learn to recruit specific talent.
Will all these improvements be available next school year?
The improvements will roll out over multiple years and the improvements for next year will be announced by or before January.
Is the current facility adequate to support the Fortis program with these improvements in mind?
With permissible improvements the current facility can support the program. It will need to support a facilities model to include but not be limited to recreational facilities, specialized classrooms for laboratory sciences and more appropriately sized classrooms conducive for learning in any configuration depending on the pedagogical approach. Discussions are underway in this regard.
What do you mean by improving financial sustainability?
Independent School Management provides a set of stability markers for the private school industry that will provide benchmarks to guide and measure Fortis’ progress in this regard. Some indicators include achieving 95-100% hard income (not donations) coverage of operational expenses, generating enrollment waiting pools by stimulating demand and thereby ensuring revenue year over year, a healthy current ratio, a low level of past-due or uncollectible accounts, cash reserves as a percentage of budget etc.
How will Fortis remain economically accessible to families and roll out these improvements?
Focusing narrowly on provision of the college-preparatory academic program will constitute the primary means by which Fortis will maintain financial accessibility. Each program must be mission appropriate. The school will avoid diversifying into tangential areas that drain resources.
Does Fortis Academy have the intellectual and experiential capital to create a plan to operationalize this renewed vision?
For this purpose we retained Dr. Rodney Marshall as part time interim Head of School to advise the board, coach the new management team, diagnose Fortis’ improvement needs and create the operational plan to achieve this vision over time.