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LAKELAND (Sept. 15, 2020) – Florida Southern College celebrated the much-anticipated expansion of Roberts Academy on Monday, Sept. 14, as students from Grades 6 through 8 moved into classrooms in their new, stand-alone middle school at the state’s first transitional school for children with dyslexia.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for our students and our teachers, to move into this brand-new building,” said Dr. Kim Kelley, Roberts Academy’s head of school. “I think our teachers are as excited as the students.”

With the opening of this new, two-story middle school, Roberts Academy gains nine classrooms and additional office space for instructors and administrative staff. The bright, colorful facility includes a mathematics lab, a science lab, an art room, a technology room, a large lunchroom and food preparation area. An outside reading patio is still under construction.

The middle school is just south of the Roberts Academy’s first two academic buildings – now used exclusively for students in Grades 2 through 5 – and directly across Frank Lloyd Wright Way, at the corner of Hollingsworth Road.

The Roberts Academy, which was made possible in 2010 through the generous support of local philanthropists Hal and Marjorie Roberts, uses the multisensory Orton-Gillingham approach to address reading, spelling, and writing difficulties experienced by students with dyslexia. Developed by neuropsychologist Samuel T. Orton and educator/psychologist Anna Gillingham, the instructional model uses sight, hearing, touch, and movement to teach struggling readers to connect language with letters and sounds.

Technology in each middle-school classroom allows teachers to provide in-person and virtual instruction simultaneously. Currently, every class has at least one remote learner. The middle school’s 74 students are able to switch between virtual and face-to-face classes, if families provide advance notice. Roberts Academy has implemented all recommended CDC and Department of Health precautions, in order to maintain a safe environment while moving instruction forward.

About Florida Southern College

Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private college in Florida. The College maintains its commitment to academic excellence through 70+ undergraduate programs and distinctive graduate programs in business administration, education, nursing, and physical therapy. Florida Southern has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio; is an award-winning national leader in engaged learning; and boasts 30 NCAA Division II national championships. It is ranked among the top 10 Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in its 2021 “Best Colleges” guide, and is included in The Princeton Review’s 2021 “386 Best Colleges” guide, the “Fiske Guide to Colleges 2021,” and Forbes magazine’s “America’s Top Colleges” guide. The College is committed to the development of the whole student through vibrant student life programs that prepare graduates to make a positive, consequential impact on society. FSC is conveniently located within an hour’s drive of both Orlando and Tampa. FSC is home to the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Named the “Most Beautiful Campus in the Nation” for two consecutive years by The Princeton Review and one of the nation’s “Ten College Campuses with the Best Architecture” by Architectural Digest, Florida Southern is an internationally-recognized place of beauty and academic excellence.

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