By Ann Byle
New York – The Muskegon Maritime Academy, set to open in September for grades K-5, will offer a non-traditional approach to education that includes the Performance Psychology Program produced by a specialist from the United States Military Academy, known as West Point.
“I did not start this school for it to be traditional,” said founder Franklin A. Fudail. “I started this school on the premise that it would be innovative and revolutionary. The enhanced performance psychology program makes it both of those things.”
Fudail, an entrepreneur who grew up in Muskegon, worked with Dr. Kathryn Longshore, a performance enhancement specialist at West Point, who he met while working on a separate project. Longshore created the curriculum specifically for grades four and five, with the objective “to enhance students’ performance in academics, physical fitness, personal development, and life in general,” according to curriculum documents.
“There is no private, public, or charter school in Muskegon County with a program anywhere close to this,” said Fudail. “We are giving our students something that is truly unique”.
The learning objectives of the curriculum including developing mental toughness; learn tools to identify, express, and regulate emotions and thoughts; and cultivate resilience and the ability to cope with adversity. Longshore also points to skills such as managing stress, breathing strategies, and focus and attention.
“Students will also learn valuable lessons about teamwork, communication, and leadership,” said Longshore. “Starting early with these young students will empower them to take control of their inner world early on in development, and set them up for future and lasting success.”
Fudail, a native of Muskegon, started the Muskegon Heights Boxing Club and Reading & Math Program in 2004 for young men, as well as the subsequent summer empowerment program for girls in 2012. The programs visited West Point for a STEM Program during that time, which is where he got a glimpse into the advanced programs offered at America’s most prestigious academy.
“I’m excited to implement the unique program created by Dr. Longshore specifically for our students,” said Fudail. “She brings a level of expertise that is unparalleled when it comes to this curriculum. I’m eager for our teachers to begin using it in the classrooms.”
The Muskegon Maritime Academy will also offer free tutoring, separate classes for boys and girls, a Junior Cadet Program for grades 1-4, a Family Resource Center, and self-defense training for cadets in grades 1-5.
For Fudail, the school and this unique curriculum—which will be taught alongside STEM-based water and maritime emphases and other core subjects—is about the importance of self-confidence and self-esteem in education.
“When students feel good about themselves they will perform better academically,” he said. “In most schools, if a kid performs or tests poorly academically, the school labels them and sticks them in special classes. At our school, we will allocate tutors to help students and increase our enhanced performance efforts. We will build, not destroy, our students’ belief in themselves.”
For more information and to enroll, visit www.muskegonmaritimeacademy.org.