Fortis Academy opening at LifeSprings Church
By Christine Bolaños
After moving around in the Austin area a few times, Fortis Academy staff hopes it has finally found a permanent home for the Christian-based school at LifeSprings Church in Liberty Hill.
“We were coming from Austin and the location that we were at was too small for us. God was blessing us and we were continuing to grow,” explained school head Rebekah Silvers. “We met the pastors here at the church and instantly had a connection with them and knew that this was to be more than a renter situation. It would be more of a long-term partnership and so we felt like God was leading us out in this area.”
Fortis Academy, according to its website, “is governed by a Board of Trustees that under God seeks to develop polices and approaches consistent with the Word of God for the glory of God.”
The school describes itself as a classical, Christian, university model school. It has been open since 2009. The school builds a community of children that will become lifelong learners and “characters” for Christ. The academy is ideal for parents who do not want children attending a traditional five-days-a-week school, but do not want to homeschool completely. Children attend the school two to three days a week depending on age, and then parents work with students on supplementary material the rest of the week at home. That material is provided by the school allowing parents to take on the role of co-teacher.
“We honor family time. Students have a little more freedom to do other things. There are more weekends and free days and more family time,” Silvers said.
According to the school’s website, Fortis Academy provides a classical, college preparatory education to students from kindergarten to 12th grade. The college-simulated format “encourages students to pursue apprenticeships, volunteer opportunities, extra-curricular activities, and other character building endeavors.”
In addition to courses, Fortis Academy provides a variety of extra-curricular and sports activities including Spanish, choir, art, flag football, soccer, volleyball, basketball and track.
“As students go into high school, we will have dual credit and AP classes,” Silvers said. Fortis focuses on grammar at the elementary level, logic in the middle school years and rhetoric during high school.
As a private school, the academy emphasizes a love of learning to promote life-long growth versus teaching to the test.
“Inherent in a university-model school system, courses are offered by academic level, rather than age, allowing individually-paced progression where students can both accelerate in their strengths, and address their weaknesses,” according to the website.
The Academy puts prviate school in reach for many in that reduced class time helps balance the costs paid to employ “superior teachers,” the website states.
Fortis is open for Mother’s Day Out through 12 grade.
“Basically to parents that want to join in the partnership of educating their children. Kinder through 5th come in Monday and Wednesday and 6th grade and above on Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” Silvers said. “They get their core schooling with some elective classes just like a regular school.”
Kinder through 8th grade school hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ninth through 12th grades schedule begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.
“It’s just an alternative to traditional schooling,” Silvers said. “(The school has) amazing staff. I feel like our staff is 100 percent committed to the child. We’re trying to raise disciples. We’re fully committed to build their character.
“One of our number one things is character development,” she added. “Not just academics but the whole child. I feel like our staff buy in. Their children are here. They buy into what we’re doing. They’re committed to the program and are classically trained.”
To learn more about the academy, parents are encouraged to visit fortisacademyums.com.
“Because we just moved here we are reaching out to businesses to start partnerships with them. We’re trying to get involved. I feel like we’re getting into Liberty Hill at the ground level,” Silvers said. “The pastor here in phenomenal. He has a lot of great connections with the community. It’s very, very important for us to become a part of the community.”