Friday, November 25, 2016


School should be filled with ENRICHING Experiences !

What makes a life well-lived?  When you look at the various options for education , careers, spiritual and family-life experiences, what one thing brings it all together, makes it rich and memorable to those who partake?  Any college will tell you when they sell you on "campus life" that it isn't just about how much education you can get, its about what experiences will you be exposed to that will allow you to broaden your horizons, build your contacts, make your memories.  After all, looking back years from now, that's the part that made life worth living.

 Here at The Chase Academy, we work hard to try and find experiences that not only enrich your child's academic day, but also build his/ her social skills, and perhaps give them a glimpse at some area of the community where they could invest themselves as a volunteer or maybe as a future career.  
   We believe by broadening your child's experiences, your child will be better prepared, more aware and as comparably diverse as their public school peers.  Each activity we plan brings something to your child they haven't had before ~ each activity chosen with such deliberation that one year at The Chase Academy is a year your child won't soon forget.
 Here's a look at the fun-filled Fall we've had so far:


Grandparents Day: Kindergarten - 5th grade Classes

We started our year with Grandparents' Day.  On this day we invited the grandparents of children in Kindergarten through Fifth grade, to see our facility, meet our faculty, and attend a brief presentation on children with autism.  For many of these grandparents, this is the first time a professional had taken the time to explain to them what autism is and what it may look like in their grand-child.  Afterwards, everyone shared lunch, cookies and lemonade at our Grandparents luncheon.
This brings the next generation into the fold.  It shows the children that its important that your "village" understand you and your needs so that the best decisions on how to raise you can be made.  Having a village is fundamental to children AND adults on the spectrum.

DeLeon Springs - FAMILY DAY PICNIC 2016

Our first whole group "Family Day" gathering.  Always a success, the picnic at Deleon Springs is an annual event that all families look forward to.  We swim, cook hot dogs and hamburgers, eat together, get to know one another and perhaps, swim some more!  Friendships are established here, not just between kids, but between families.  Having an extended support system, building friends among those who understand you is another important facet of growing up happy and healthy.  Moreover, its a skill these children will need as an adult if they are to continue having fulfilling and rich relationships with those around them.

This year we filled the whole pavilion with our picnic!

 Junior & High School Bowling

Scheduled for the first week of school, this field trip is an opportunity for teen age peers to become friends!  What we have here is a combination of last year's students and this year's newbies!  It also combined the new Junior High class of 12 students with the five students in High School.  Grades 6th -10th attended this event, and navigated their way through a day of bowling and new room of students.

October 2016


Founder Sherri Wentworth brought her educational program into the school in October as our first guest presenter this year.  We welcomed Sherri and learned about her commitment to saving our native wildlife, often from the humans who inhabit their environment.  We also learned about the sacrifice and expense of putting all your efforts into a cause in which you believe deeply.  

Founder/Owner Sherri presents her Barred Owl to the whole school

So in support of Sherri's efforts (and because I know what its like to do the work no one else will and  have others watch but not give what they can), we started our BIRTHDAY program.  For this academic year, $25.00 per child will be donated each month, on the child's birthday month.  Sometimes we donate $100.00 and sometimes only $25.00, but always we support Sherri's efforts and send our financial support so she can keep doing the work WE find valuable


This was our second annual CHASE and the Brews event.  This year's event was held in Port Orange this year at Tomoka Brewery!  We were so fortunate to find three gentlemen volunteers to work their NETWORK and bring in tips for our cause.  Our winning bartender Tom Caffrey and his company Realty Pros Assured raised $795.00 on his own, ($250 donated by the Realty Agency!), while Volusia County Blues Founder Mike Gallucci raised over $350.00 and our last bartender Steve Sather raised almost $100.00 just by "working the crowd."  

Tom Caffrey (Dressed as a Rock Star) with the rest of the team at Realty Pros Assured!

Mike Gallucci pouring for tips

Parent Shelly Vincent and Steve Sather


Each year, we dress up on Halloween and Trick-or-Treat in our mall!  Our retail neighbors are always prepared and full of support for our students.  This event introduces our "typical" neighbors to our children, who quickly learn that our children, like all children, only want to make friends and have fun!

 No matter their age, our children love this holiday, and the people in our mall LOVE to participate each year. We all look forward to establishing our neighborhood for the school year!


Another annual event is the corn maze, celebrated this year at DeLeon Springs' Vo-LaSalle Farms!  Students learned about hydroponic farming, about the various types of fruits and veggies grown at this "pick-your-own" farm before taking the hayride to visit baby piglets and nanny goats; finally settling in the hay-bale maze, the corn crib and various water games.  Lastly, we roasted hot dogs for lunch and marshmallows for some'mores afterwards!  Better than a camping trip, this was a student-friendly look at an entire culture not usually experienced by our children.

Guides led us through the covered hot houses that allow limited sunlight to plants that need it.  Ms. April class poses in front of the games area and Mrs. Genoveva helps Derrius roast hot dogs.


Taking the chance to share the democratic process with our children, we created a student voting booth and let all kids have a chance at the process ~

Mrs. Genaveva's class become registered voters!
High Schoolers register and vote too!
Allie & Mako fill out their registration cards
I bet you wonder who won?   In our election - students voted only - Hillary Clinton was our choice for President.  We will never know what could have been, but because we are a democracy, our students were gracious (most of the time) about having Donald Trump take over the seat of President of the United States.  Democracy in action - that's what we're teaching!  That way, everyone is a winner!


Most of our families remember Charisa and her mother Autumn who painted our sensory room with a wonderful mural, that was never finished.  Its been sitting incomplete for the four years we've been in the Sunshine Mall.  That is until, parent Shelly Vincent helped us contact Kathy Kurke and the ladies of the Daytona Art League.  Taking several Saturdays this fall, the ladies updated and completed this wonderful mural, making our Sensory space truly a welcoming environment for the kids.

Students LOVE this rhinoceros in her Tutu!  The leopard was drawn by former student Nina and left there by the other artists out of respect!

Pink Elephant on Parade!
Artists update the rainbow with flowers, butterflies, honey bees and rabbits!

In an incredible blend of old meets new, these volunteer artists honor the work of the former artists while adding their own unique touch to our mural.  Thanks ladies!!


This year's Family Thanksgiving Feast was held at Duff's ~ thanks to the creative thinking of parent Barbara Sprague and the quick action of our Programming and Community Involvement (are you a member yet?) who voted unanimously to put this new plan into action, despite my reservations about changing the plan for a third time.   They were right!  We had a RECORD number attend - over 100 family and friends joined together for a wonderful luncheon.

Here we are!  For better or worse, we've created a Chase Academy family and an active community that helps our children get involved and find their place in our bigger community, Volusia County!

Next up....  

PORT ORANGE CHRISTMAS PARADE...December 4th, see you there!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

2nd Annual CHASE and the Brews @ Tomoka Brewery, Port Orange

Thursday, October 27 @ 6pm

Our Second Annual Celebrity Bartending Event

Celebrity Bartenders Tom Caffrey, Michael Gallucci and Steve Sather
This event is one of our most popular!  Last year we raised over $2500.00 for the school with just our 3 bartenders!  This year, we are hoping to host this event on the EAST side of Volusia County at Port Orange's Tomoka Brewery (this is it!)  AND on the WEST side at  DeLand's Persimmon Hollow Brewery.  

How this event works is EASY!  "Celebrity" bartenders compete for your tips, and win these lovely plaques for all their hard efforts. 

Celebrity Bartender Plaques, Fall 2015

Supporters can "tip" their favorite bartender in many ways:  First, if you know you can't attend, you can tip in your absence via this webpage and our paypal/VISA option.  Just tell us the name of your preferred bartender and we'll make sure he gets the tip! 

Next you can JOIN US for the event and tip in their designated jars - cash AND credit work that night!

Finally, you can collect tips from your office, friends and extended family in the name of the bartender you're rooting for, and mail the check to us (or present it that night) here at the school!  Each classroom will be assigned to support one of our celebrity bartenders!  This means these family members and their friends are "rooting" (and therefore tipping) this bartender!  The winner will be announced that night!

Worthy of note was the bartender last year who found a matching sponsor!!  This helped her win and it really helped the school - we used the funds to pay the application and audit fees for our accreditation.  This year we continue to need funding for the accreditation process; there are annual fees, auditor fees, and application fees that meet us every step of the way!

Thank you in advance to Tomoka Brewing Company for hosting this event along with their BOOS and BREWS costume party!
Feel free to dress in your favorite costume that night!  Last year, we had team T-shirts made by our bartenders!!  

This year a costume party makes this event so much more fun!!  Included, will be a silent auction event as we have asked local businesses to donate gift cards, services, and baskets for you to bid on!  

Here's a quick look at this year's EAST Volusia Celebrity Bartending team:

Tom Caffrey
Realtor, Realty Pros Assured

Michael Gallucchi

Founder, Volusia County Blues Society

Steve Sather

Managing Partner, Black Pearl Real Estate
Owner, Sather Group Consulting

We will be finding out more about our three philanthropists over the next few weeks.  Hopefully, by then we can announce the WEST Volusia Brews event.  Be sure to stay tuned for updates on our bartenders, and to vote for your favorite!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sweet Summer Sweat!

 It's officially July but TCA hasn't slowed down one bit!!  

"Why, no Bella, Ms. Amy doesn't mind if you sit here!"
Michael is GREAT at the ABC Train puzzle!

We've got so many things going on here on campus as families from all bring their young campers to Camp CHASE:

Mrs. Deborah is helping Chris with his FIREWORKS Salt Art
 Camp CHASE 2016 is off to a big start with seven campers!  We've got several students who've returned for some summer fun, and then some new campers have joined us as well!  Everyone is enjoying their time as we explore different weekly themes making crafts daily and exploring websites that tell more about our topics! 
Aiden never tires of Mr. Potato Head!

Campers Ryan and Lisa enjoy Computer Explorations best!
Ryan and Aiden decide which bounce house is next!

 Don't worry!  There's plenty of fun too - we play games, watch movies and go to That One Fun Place weekly to bounce ourselves silly!

Meanwhile, Administrators are spending the summer developing all the new policies and procedures outlined in our spring accreditation audit for this upcoming year.  New programming affects almost EVERY area of our school!  Parents, Students & Teachers will see  policy changes across the board as we bring ourselves in line with these specific accreditation expectations.


Accreditation Standards are as follows:

Standard 1: Purpose and Direction                                                          
The school maintains and communicates a purpose and direction that commit to high expectations for learning as well as shared values and beliefs about teaching and learning. 
Standard 2: Governance and Leadership 
The school operates under governance and leadership that promote and support student performance and school effectiveness.
Standard 3: Teaching and Assessing for Learning 
The school’s curriculum, instructional design, and assessment practices guide and ensure teacher effectiveness and student learning. 
Standard 4: Resources and Support Systems
The school has resources and provides services that support its purpose and direction to ensure success for all students.
Standard 5: Using Results for Continuous Improvement
The school implements a comprehensive assessment system that generates a range of data about student learning and school effectiveness and uses the results to guide continuous improvement. 
For our administrators, this means formalizing programs that already exist on campus, giving them a formal presentation, data assessment model and review timetable, but also it means developing program models that better demonstrate our faculty and student successes through a variety of assessment opportunities.  
Involvement across the board will also increase as we provide for electronic attendance, and parent access to electronic grade books.  We will also provide quarterly parent workshops to better educate parents about the learning needs and styles of children on the Spectrum, and finally we will resurrect our Parent Advisory Board from 2015, as it aligns best with the communication and input or "buy-in" parents have within our school structure.  
Though this seems like a lot of work (believe me, it IS a lot of work), after we develop these systems and have them in place, you're going to have greater access to your child's education program, his teachers and the policies that shape his day.  The efforts are win-win for all the stakeholders at The Chase Academy!
We look forward to giving you more details as August approaches (The Fall Calendar is already posted under 2016-2017 Calendar), and we invite your participation at any and all levels of development as we move through this year.

Last MINUTE reminder: McKay and Gardiner Scholarships have fall deadlines:

  • Mckay requires Registration by July 3rd;  Enrollment in school by August 2nd.  Anyone missing this deadline will not be eligible for funding until October 2.
  • Gardiner Scholarship requires Registration by September 2nd for 100% funding.  Those filing after September 2nd will not receive 1st quarter funding.   
 Please keep these deadlines in mind

Friday, May 13, 2016

Summer's Coming!
(To download an application, highlight & right click on the link above)

It's hard to believe but the 2015-2016 school year is almost at an end!  This was our seventh full year of classes, and our most successful yet!  We've almost doubled in size, holding an average of 34 students in the school this year, and building our team to 8 wonderful professionals who work well with the students AND each other!  We are happy to add Ms. Deborah Thomas, a certified CDA to our staff, and re-welcome Ms. Rhonda, our teaching assistant back to the fold!  Both women have made a seamless entry into our program and have provided us all with much needed support!  We're hoping to see all 8 faculty members back NEXT fall!  Parents too have to complete an Intent to Enroll form to hold your spot for next year; these forms recently went home with your students.

Before we JUMP to the fall, let's talk about what your plans are for the summer.  There are two things we know for an absolute fact about kids on the spectrum:
          1)  They require a predictable, stable daily schedule - though they might tell you they like unscheduled time, and video game marathons, what we KNOW about these children is that this type of unpredictable schedule spikes their anxiety. Starting your very first day of summer, you should have a daily schedule, even at home.  Parcel out computer and TV time in between chores, bike rides, and outdoor activities - I used to even include arts and crafts!
          2)  Our students can easily lose the academic skills they stop practicing!  No matter what your plans are for the summer, you need to include time each week, maybe just an hour or two a day to practice their skills - there are a number of Summer-based workbooks that help your child bridge the skills they learned this past year with what they will be expected to have mastered by their next grade.  These books can be purchased at any local bookstore and include small daily activities AND some have great summer science experiments so the kids can make crafts and interact with their learning.  These are great because they don't take up too much of your summer, but you know they aren't losing their vital skill set for next year.

One idea I saw on Facebook, suggests that you give your children a chore list to complete in order to get the daily WiFi access code.  I think that's a great idea!!  Whatever you do, remember that a summer on the computer is not what's best for our kids - no matter how they beg!

Finally, we have Camp CHASE available for all families with autism and their siblings!  Starting June 20th, we have a weekly-themed day camp.  Week I begins Animals Attack with all sorts of games, crafts and activities to help kids discover more about animals!  Each week we begin a new theme, and we offer both a partial week ($75) or a full week ($125) option.  You can book a week or the whole summer!  Ms. April is our Camp Director and Ms. Amy has taken such care to develop summer themes that spark imagination and engage kids of all ages.  

 Whatever you do, know that we continue to work all summer towards our accreditation (our initial audit is this June), and on developing the life-skills component of the new high school.  Above all, I wish you family a restful and safe summer!


Thursday, March 24, 2016

An Evening with Victor Wainwright 

Celebrating International Autism Awareness!

We proudly introduce our silent auction, incorporating baskets of goods & services from local purveyors, and in partnership with Charity Fundraising, we also present a selection of framed, certified authentic autographed memorabilia from  rock, movies, country & sports celebrities.  Each item comes with a certificate of authenticity and a counterfeit-proof licensed authentication hologram from the forensic authentication firm RM Real. Finally, we are proud to partner with Winspire, Inc to bring you six one-of-a-kind vacation excursions!  Please read below on how YOU can participate in this auction!

Authentic Autographed Selections Include:

                The Beatles
Minimum Bid: $900

 The Eagles                  
Minimum Bid: $700

         The Rolling Stones 
                   Minimum Bid: $ 1000


 Michael Jackson
Minimum Bid: $500

              Taylor Swift  
Minimum Bid: 500
Star Wars Trilogy Poster      
Minimum Bid:  $800
    "Original" Star Trek
Minimum Bid: $700
 Apollo 11 Crew
Minimum Bid: $900

Neil Diamond "Sweet Caroline"
Minimum Bid: $500
           Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Minimum Bid: $500
Dale Earnhardt Jr.       
Minimum Bid: $400
"Bono" Self-portrait
Minimum Bid: $500
BB King- signed album                Aerosmith - signed album
      Minimum Bid: $500                                                        Minimum Bid: $700

Winspire Excursions Include:

Exotic Super Car Driving Experience, Las Vegas
Drive a REAL race car on a real track!
Includes a 3 night stay and airfare for 2 
Minimum Bid: $2400.00 /  Value: Priceless
New Orleans Jazz & Dining
Admission to Preservation Hall Jazz
Commander's Palace Brunch or Dinner & Wine Pairing
3 Nights stay and airfare for 2
Minimum Bid: $2850.00 /  Value: $5860.00
Sip & Soar through Napa Valley
Hot Air Balloon Ride for 2
Private Winery Tours & Tastings, Chaffeured
Meritage Resort & Spa - 3 nights & airfare for 2
Minimum Bid: $3800.00 / Value: Priceless

2016 Macy's Thanksgiving Parade!
  VIP Access & Buffet Breakfast
Private Indoor Viewing location above the parade 
Minimum Bid: $1800.00 /  Value: Priceless
 Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony
Christmas 2016 VIP Cocktail Reception, Tree Lighting Viewing 
& Buffet Dinner for 2 
Minimum Bid: $ 1550.00 / Value: Priceless
The Players Championship 2017
Tickets for 2 to Saturday & Sunday; Hospitality Access 
Friday Tee Time for 2 at select course & 4 night stay for 2
TPC Sawgrass;  Ponte Vedre Beach, Florida 
Minimum Bid: $3600.00 / Value: Priceless
 We certainly hope you'll join us this year as we celebrate Autism Awareness around the world, and another great year for autism education right here in Volusia County!  Be sure to get your tickets @

Also, please note that if you'd like to support The Chase Academy by bidding on any of the above items, you can place your bid via email at or via text at 386-690-893.  Please include your name, phone number and bid price. We will update all items between now and April 2nd, and include hourly updates on our FACEBOOK page once the auction begins .  If there's an item you'd like to be kept updated on, please include which item you are interested in and we'll make sure you're updated on any offer received.

I hope to see you April 2nd!!