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Jacksonville school for students with special needs adds grade

by: Lorena Inclan, Action News Jax Updated:

A Jacksonville school that helps young kids transition to public school is now offering a new grade.

Students at Daniel Academy learn math and science and also how to control their behavior.

It’s why some parents want to keep their kids at the school as long as it takes for them to perfect that ability.

Daniel Academy 6th grader Alexis Johnson said her favorite subject is math.

School hasn’t always come easy to her.

Her mother, Latanya McCray, told Action News Jax she was nearly expelled from her former school approximately two years ago.

“Fighting teachers, fighting students -- throwing chairs, desks, temper tantrums,” Mccray said.

Alexis has ADHD and an anger disorder.

McCray said Daniel Academy was her last resort.

“They've helped me a lot and I've improved,” she said. 

The school keeps class sizes small and provides mental health services, which have helped students such as Alexis excel.

Principal Kerry Flanigan said there was so much demand from parents to keep kids at the school longer that they added a class for 6th graders.

“They're also taking some classes using Florida Virtual School, and that’s another way we're transitioning them to prepare them to go back into the public school system,” Flanigan said.

Alexis said she’s not only getting As and Bs, she's also learning ways to control her anger.

“We can like take a break, or we ask if we can go out the classroom for a couple of minutes,” Alexis said.  

McCray said Daniel Academy has given her family a second chance.

“I see a future for her,” she said. “She's excited about coming here, about going to college.”

Daniel Academy is a private school, but the principal said they accept scholarships for students with disabilities.