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ONE BAY: Lifelong Learning Visits Lake Nona

January 25, 2012

On December 8, 2011, the ONE BAY: Lifelong Learning Steering Committee held its meeting at the Lake Nona YMCA / NorthLake Park Community School, the first co-located YMCA and elementary school in the Orange County school district. 

It is an amazing partnership, in which the YMCA and school are totally integrated.

The elementary school serves more than 1,000 children each year in the 30,000 square foot YMCA building.  With 37 percent of the school’s students on free and reduced lunch, and a 60 percent minority population, the school has received an “A” rating and has ranked in the top 10% of the state of Florida every year since opening. In addition, children’s scores ranked 90th percentile for reading and the school meets 100% of No Child Left Behind.

Extending the students’ exposure to an educational environment every year, the school has tripled its hours of operation from 1,600 hours for a typical school to more than 5,400 hours a year.  The Lake Nona YMCA is open seven days a week from 6 am – 10 pm, 362 days a year. Teachers, parents and administrators are all given the opportunity to become members of the YMCA.

The facility received the Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence for “maximizing resources in all areas”- environmental, community, fiscal and facility. It is an amazing partnership, in which the YMCA and school are totally integrated. This unusual relationship has changed the culture of the school. The key topic of discussion at the Steering Committee’s meeting was how to duplicate this model elsewhere throughout Florida and the United States.

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