Welcome to The First Hope

Anchoring at The First Hope of The First Academy

A Christian alternative to special needs education.

The First Hope, a program for special needs children, is a unique approach to teach children with disabilities. Classes are at a 2:1 student:teacher ratio for all our Inclusion and Transitions+ Programs, except Transitions+ Intermediate and Secondary which is 4:1 student:teacher ratio — with a goal of independence. Our vision is to create an environment of learning and development for special needs children in a Christ-centered program.

These exclusive programs are structured around both Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) goals and educational inclusion opportunities. With a mostly 2:1 student to teacher ratio, the objective is to fully integrate each student into regular classes as each child is uniquely able.


This program is available to children age 3 to grade 12 who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, PDD, Asperger’s Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Language Delays, Fragile-X Syndrome, Sensory Processing Disorder, Developmental Delay, Severe Learning Disability and other Developmental Disabilities.

The Hope Conference

Our annual conference kicked off by keynote speaker Chris Ulmer, CEO of Special Books by Special Kids, is designed to benefit teachers, paraprofessionals, school administrators, church personnel, parents, and family members of people with unique needs. Pre-register now for the exciting Saturday, February 24, 2018 event.

Register Now | Go to Conference Page

Our unique program includes four program options:

  1. Transitions+ Primary, Intermediate, and Secondary: students work on reading, math and life skills
  2. Inclusion: 2 days of the week students are integrated with The Classical School students and then 3 days of the week work 2:1 addressing behavioral, social, motor deficits, sensory needs and educational goals uniquely created for each individual child. .
  3. Early Learning Program: a language based program that addresses behavioral and social skills for children aged 3-4 years old.
  4. Homeschool Program: supporting students at home with additional supports as needed.

All programs include quarterly Parent/Teacher conferences.

The First Hope Contacts

Patty Myers
The First Hope Principal
(407) 206-8801

Kelly Rapp
Kelly Rapp
Program Assistant
(407) 206-8801
Jennifer Pinckney - Program Support Coordinator
Jennifer Pinckney
Program Support Coordinator
(407) 206-8801

The First Hope Calendar

Download the The First Hope Annual Calendar (for print).

Want to subscribe for updates? See the list of subscriptions.

  • Facts at a Glance

    • 21,102

      Volunteer hours given by the Upper School Students last year.
    • 1,460

      Alumni since 1986.
  • The First Academy is Accredited by:

    • Florida Council of Independent Schools
    • Florida Kindergarten Council
    • Southern Association of Independent Schools
    • AdvancEd Southern Association of Colleges & Schools
    • Council on Educational Standards & Accountability
    • Association of Christian Schools International
  • Attend Our Admissions Open House on January 28