Expanding its position as a premier institution of higher education in Northeast Florida, Jacksonville University announced a transformational agreement with IDEA Public Schools to develop a pre-k-through-doctorate education hub in the heart of Arlington.
With the purchase of land immediately south of Jacksonville University, IDEA Jacksonville will build its next nationally-ranked, tuition-free public school campus in the historic Arlington community. Together with Jacksonville University’s undergraduate and graduate programs, and with Wilma’s Little People’s School for 2-4 year olds, the addition of IDEA School’s K-12 campus creates an epicenter for accessible, quality educational opportunities spanning the entire trajectory of a student’s academic journey.
“Jacksonville University is proud to partner with IDEA Jacksonville in our shared vision to create exceptional, life-changing educational opportunities for young people,” said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost. “Our missions are remarkably similar: we look beyond today to prepare students for what comes next. For IDEA Jacksonville, that means every one of their students is ready for college. For Jacksonville University, it means developing a passion for learning at every stage of life. Our partnership is a natural fit, and it will transform the lives of students in Arlington.”
IDEA Jacksonville Executive Director Jose De Leon adds: “We are honored to partner with Jacksonville University as we open our K-5th Academy and 6th-12th College Preparatory campuses in the Arlington community. This partnership will open up many opportunities for our IDEA scholars, as well as for the Jacksonville University students. We are excited for our K, 1st, 2nd, and 6th grade scholars to begin when we open in August 2022. IDEA students will experience college throughout their years at our campuses, bringing us even closer to our mission of college for all children.”
IDEA Jacksonville will break ground this summer on their second Jacksonville location — the River Bluff campus — featuring state-of-the-art facilities and award-winning curriculum. Beginning in the fall of 2022, the River Bluff campus will educate approximately 500 students in kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 6th grade. At scale, the campus will serve students all the way through 12th grade in two schools located within the Arlington campus. IDEA Jacksonville will provide technology to every student, free bus transportation and after school programming.
IDEA Public Schools first announced its expansion into Jacksonville in 2020. The schools provide an additional education option to help close the opportunity gap and increase levels of achievement for students and families in Jacksonville. IDEA Jacksonville plans to expand to six sites by 2025.
In addition to its newest location in Arlington, IDEA Jacksonville will temporarily lease office space from Jacksonville University to establish its regional headquarters. Once the Arlington campus is complete, IDEA Jacksonville will move its regional headquarters into office space at the new school.
“Having IDEA Jacksonville’s home base here in Arlington offers so many opportunities to collaborate for the benefit of students in the community and here at Jacksonville University,” said Jacksonville University Provost Dr. Chris Sapienza. “We are excited to explore the possibilities with our new neighbors and develop effective synergies between our two institutions.”
Gary Chartrand, the newest member of the IDEA Florida Board of Directors and former chair of the Florida Board of Education, added: “Being a supporter of both Jacksonville University and IDEA schools, I am delighted to see this agreement between these two great institutions of learning. The residents of the Arlington community will have a very unique, high-quality K-12 option for educating their children.”
IDEA believes a quality K-12 public education is the key to success in college and life and is committed to helping every student achieve their success. IDEA sets high expectations for every student and goes the extra mile to ensure every student realizes their own potential. Personalized learning, critical thinking skills, mastery of core subjects and continued support through college is IDEA’s recipe for success.
For 15 consecutive years, 100 percent of IDEA Public School graduates have been accepted into college. Many are the first in their family to go to college, and IDEA alumni graduate college at three times the national average.
“As the Duval County Public School’s Board Member for District 1 and a graduate of Jacksonville University, I am excited about the creation of the IDEA Jacksonville and Jacksonville University partnership,” said Duval County District 1 School Board Member Dr. Kelly Coker. “I believe this partnership will offer a quality school choice option in the Arlington community. Jacksonville University has a long tradition of excellence, and IDEA has been diligent in hiring proven educational leaders for this partnership. I have no doubt that the combined resources of IDEA and Jacksonville University will provide a positive learning environment for the students of Duval County, and I look forward to their future success.”
More information about enrollment or joining the IDEA Jacksonville team can be found here.
By Laura Phelps
Sr. Director of Public and Media Relations