Curriculum

HFA’s mission and daily focus is prepare high school students to succeed in college, pursue a career of personal choice, and become transformational agents in their respective communities through an explicit focus on innovation and creativity.

One of the strengths of the Henry Ford Academy model is its success in ensuring that students and teachers understand and make tangible connections between what they learn and teach in class and how this knowledge is relevant and necessary in their post-secondary career and educational experience. Each HFA graduate will demonstrate a readiness to thrive as a contributing member of the 21st-century global community by meeting expectations for high standards of personal mastery in each of the Five Developmental Areas: Academic Content, Technology, Communication, Thinking and Learning, and Personal Management. By intentionally locating our school in the heart of San Antonio’s culturally rich and emerging downtown area, we are positioned to engage with, learn from, and develop deep strategic partnerships with employers and a range of educational, arts and community organizations to provide our students those real-world learning experiences.

We are committed to graduating 100 percent of our students and sending 100 percent of those graduates on to a college, university or other rigorous post-secondary education. Our commitment to the acquisition and application of knowledge from core subjects and 21st century skills mastery is evident in our rigorous college preparatory curriculum, which is fully aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), and the consistent opportunities for students to use different types of thinking (analytical, practical, creative, and research-based). We substantially exceeded state accountability standards in state student assessments on core knowledge again in 2017.

HFA is San Antonio’s only tuition-free high school that focuses on art and design as essential components of a world class education. We excel at developing not only students’ academic knowledge and skills, but also their potential as critical thinkers and innovative problem solvers — all in a vibrant, accepting atmosphere where students and teachers work together. We provide an intensive art & design program that includes both visual and performing arts, and a developing STEAM program that includes graphic design courses, advanced science courses, and an science-based projects in the community. Students have access to a Maker Space that further fosters hands-on learning and creativity.

HFA’s approach to addressing real-world challenges – Design Thinking — empowers students to uncover and explore authentic challenges in their community, then create a prototype that responds to the needs of a specific person or group of people facing that challenge explicitly and directly. Students develop related skills in collaboration, empathy, communication, synthesis, analysis, divergent and convergent thinking. They create something new and of real value.

To graduate, all HFA students must successfully complete the Senior Mastery Process, a three-part, 18-month capstone experience in which students prepare for and complete an extended exploration of their individual career interests, design and conduct a substantial action research project, engage in an internship associated with that research, and present their findings in a formal defense.

All of this would not be possible without intentional focus on what our students need to be successful; each individual child’s ability to achieve depends on our ability to meet their unique personal (cultural, emotional, socio-economic) and academic needs, so we provide a small average class size of 25:1, enthusiastic teachers who display an deep content knowledge, personalized education that includes individual support and interventions, staff positions (such as a College Transitions Counselor) dedicated to our strategic implementation, and relevant, enriching real-world learning opportunities (field studies, internships, and community service projects).

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