Imagine a school where the entire educational experience is custom-designed for each student, where teaching happens on a one-to-one basis using a schedule that best fits the needs of each student, and where teachers get to know their students as individuals, boosting their confidence and self-esteem in the process.

Fusion Academy Princeton, now in its second full school year, is that school. A fully accredited college preparatory private school serving grades 6 to 12, Fusion Academy fully embraces each student’s individual interests, strengths, and learning styles with its one teacher, one student classroom setting. Classes are offered year-round on a flexible time schedule and their relationship approach to education uses a “love, motivate, then teach” mentoring model, where teachers build strong personal bonds with students as a gateway to learning.

Fusion Academy was formed more than 20 years ago in Southern California out of frustration that traditional schools did not meet the needs of all students. Eight years ago they started expanding their model throughout the country. There are now 30 locations in California, Chicago, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Texas, with more opening.

“One-to-one learning really works,” explains Matt Douglas, a former High School teacher and Fusion Academy’s current director of admissions and outreach. The one-to-one approach allows students’ academic, social, and emotional needs to be met in a variety of unique ways. Students who have low academic self-esteem can find success in a stress-free, engaging learning environment. Instruction can be differentiated to meet learning styles or address learning differences, and gifted learners can be challenged to explore advanced content. Finally, the mentoring relationships help students who are struggling with anxiety or school phobia.

“Flexible scheduling is another need that our one-to-one model can accommodate,” continues Douglas. “Our student body includes an Olympic hopeful, a professional actress, and a competitive horse show jumper who all take advantage of our customized scheduling.”

Fusion Academy accepts full and part-time students and charges by the course. “There are three ways to be a student at Fusion. The majority of our students are full-time and take their entire course load with us, but many, like home schooled students or those needing course remediation or acceleration, take individual classes for credit. Others attend for tutoring and enrichment.”

Though classes are taught on an individual basis, students socialize with each other, and with their teachers. For every one-to-one session with their teachers, a student is assigned one hour in the Homework Café. These sessions are a key part of the program in that they allow students to work independently on their homework while being supported by a Fusion teacher. The Homework Café is also the social hub of the campus, where students hang out, participate in student lead clubs and activities, eat lunch, and develop quality relationships with their peers.

Fusion Academy offers hundreds of courses including a variety of creative electives, such recording arts, fine arts and yoga, and in keeping with their flexible model, students can enroll at any time in the year. “Every kid has their own story about why they are with us, and our goal is to give each story a happy ending.”

Fusion Academy, 116 Stanhope Street, Princeton. 609-919-9193.

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