Fusion Academy, 20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 111, is a new alternative college-prep private school for grades 6-12 that offers class sizes as small as they come: one student, one teacher. At Fusion, the educational experience is customized around each student. Classes are taught one-to-one and are self-paced. The material is presented considering each student’s interests, strengths, and learning style. Students may attend Fusion Academy full-time, or enroll in its after-school or summer programs. Details: 866-514-7520.
Los Gatos Patch: How are Fusion Academy’s principle and mission realized during its day-to-day operation?
Danielle Ryckman: We are here to provide quality education to students in a 1:1 environment while also considering the whole child and providing multiple social opportunities. Students who come to us want to be here because something about the traditional setting was not fitting for them. One of our students recently said to me that since coming to Fusion there has not been a day that he has not woken up excited about coming to school. This is so important to me because part of our mission is that we believe in the direct relationship between emotional achievement and overall success. Our students feel safe and comfortable on our campus and they are having fun learning. Students that felt disengaged are getting excited about learning again. All students can learn and the majority really want to they just need to be in the right environment for them. We are excited to be supporting students with finding their success! We had our first Fusion Los Gatos graduate this summer and we were so proud when he made the decision to pursue college after having decided college was not for him prior to coming to Fusion. It is incredible to see students who felt disenfranchised get excited about learning again.
Patch: What was the inspiration behind opening a Fusion Academy campus in Los Gatos?
Ryckman: Fusion Academy has its roots beginning more than 20 years ago in San Diego. As we have branched out and grown to now 11 school campuses with more opening on the East Coast in the fall, we have found ourselves in Los Gatos where we are excited to be providing an alternative for students. Los Gatos in particular has wonderful schools, however for the student that needs an alternative program, there are few resources. As I meet with professionals and families in the area, I am hearing over and over again how excited everyone is that we are here because many families have been driving great distances to get the support their students need.
Patch: Describe the biggest challenge Fusion Academy faces in the Town of Los Gatos?
Ryckman: We are thrilled to be in Los Gatos in a temporary space downtown. We are currently working with the town on securing our permanent space with hopes of being in a bigger location by the fall. The biggest challenge we have right now is having enough space to meet the overwhelming need in the area.
Patch: Describe the best thing about having a campus in Los Gatos?
Ryckman: First of all, I could not be happier with how well we have been welcomed by surrounding businesses in Los Gatos. This is such a tight-knit community and everyone has really embraced us. Also, as I walk in the downtown area I see students and families in abundance. I just love that when my students pop out to grab lunch, they are surrounded by a warm, friendly, safe community filled with many other students just like them. My family and I moved to the area from Southern California in October and I am just in love with this community. There are always so many wonderful events going on for families, everyone who lives here seems to take great pride in their town, and let’s be honest, it’s just beautiful here.
Patch: What is one thing you would never change about Fusion Academy?
Ryckman: There are so many things I would never change because this model really works. Besides the obvious 1:1 classes, the unique culture that highly values compassion is one of the most important things to me. When I found Fusion I was struck by the fact that I could walk on any campus and feel the same welcoming, fun, loving environment and incredibly genuine people who truly value education. I am learning and growing every day on campus and so impressed with the wonderful people I get to be surrounded by on a daily basis. We have fun here and so do our amazing students!
Patch: What is Fusion Academy’s greatest asset?
Ryckman: The people. Our program is relationship based and students learn best when they are in a safe, warm, and fun environment where you feel people truly see you and care about you. Our students want to be here and we love having them here.
Patch: What is your favorite spot in town?
Ryckman: I love the park across from our building on 20 S. Santa Cruz Ave. We spend a lot of time there with our students between classes or for a break. If you are there during the week you have probably seen one of our students hanging out, throwing a Frisbee, or making a scale model of the park as a creative project for math class. Our students love that park. I also spend a lot of time there with my husband and my daughter. I have never been there without meeting people who are so warm and friendly. I am also excited for the park Jazz concerts starting this summer.
Patch: What's one thing the community should know about Fusion Academy?
Ryckman: We are so excited to be here. Please come visit us. We are always happy to give a tour and welcome guests on our campus.