Students achieve academic success at Pontiac Academy for Excellence Posted: January 07, 2013

At the dawn of modern charter schools, in 1997 OLHSA received a planning grant of $50,000 from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and started a technical trade school, New Directions Institute. The vision for the institute included training high school students in automotive technology and construction to prepare them for work after graduation.

A challenging first year for New Directions Institute ensued. The lofty vision wasn’t being executed as hoped, so the board of directors decided to change directions. The institute closed and reopened as a kindergarten through third-grade elementary school in 2000. Adding a grade each year, the new Pontiac Academy for Excellence had its first graduating class of 15 students in 2009.

“We saw the need for alternative education in the community,” said Ronald B. Borngesser, OLHSA CEO. “OLHSA’s Head Start was only meeting the educational demand of children under the age of five, and the parents weren’t satisfied with the options thereafter. PAE gives them a fantastic alternative option.”

PAE functions on a few beliefs:

  • Hard work and dedication are necessary to achieve excellence.

  • All students can learn.

  • Learning is a shared responsibility of the student, school, parents and community.

  • Failure is not an option… Whatever it takes!

PAE meets federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) year after year. This past academic year, PAE enrolled 1,400 students and had a graduating class of 58. Of those 58 students, 48 boasted college acceptance letters with a total of $144,000 awarded scholarships. Another four students went on to serve their nation in a military academy.

While OLHSA and PAE operate separately, the relationship remains strong, offering support to the students and their families. Whether a child starts in OLHSA’s Head Start program and goes on to PAE or they attend PAE and find support in one of OLHSA’s programs, being partners and neighbors makes for more accessible resources.

PAE is dedicated to educating the communities’ youth in collaboration with the school community to prepare students academically and socially to compete in a global society. Read more about PAE and their mission here.