Mia Nevells remembers what attending last June’s Quakertown Community High School graduation felt like as a senior who wasn’t allowed to walk on the big stage.

Mia Nevells is the first graduate at a new 8-12 school in the Quakertown Community School District.
Mia Nevells is the first graduate at a new 8-12 school in the Quakertown Community School District.

“It was gut-wrenching,” said Mia, who attended the celebration at the PPL Center in Allentown to be there for her friends. Though Mia completed her law enforcement training at the Upper Bucks County Technical School, she was just shy of attaining her high school degree. When she learned of The Academy at Quakertown, the Quakertown Community School District’s new educational facility for at-risk 8-12 graders, she enrolled. “I feel like such a weight has been lifted,” she said, after receiving her diploma on Sept. 7 from Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lisa Hoffman. “I just needed a little more time.” Indeed, less than one week into the new school year, she is the Academy’s first graduate. “Mia is proof that perseverance and hard work pays off,” Hoffman said. “Everyone is very proud of her for sticking with it.”

The district developed the school during the spring and summer as its contract with Ombudsman Educational Services was ending. QCSD officials believed they could produce better results for students. The students’ initial lessons are conducted in a cyber format. Students needing additional help are instructed by academy staff. The format allows for a specialized, structured educational environment that focuses on individualized behavioral support, consistent expectations and clear boundaries. Staff works closely with students, families and related service agencies to address student needs. Individual and group counseling are provided to address issues that interfere with learning.