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TeCMEN Committee to Host Industry Day - 08/16/2017

Special to the Daily News FORT WALTON BEACH — In an effort to spotlight the diverse capabilities that exist among the area’s technical businesses, the Economic Develop...

Building For The Future - 07/10/2017

Building For The Future Looking beyond beaches and the military to boost economic development BY LINDA KLEINDIENST ~ Article written by 850 Magazine   Okaloosa and Walton countie...

Okaloosa County School District | Programs | Colleges | Universities | Technology Centers

A person's education is the foundation for success, Northwest Florida offers outstanding academic offerings as well as a talented workforce.

A fundamental goal of our community's educational system is to provide the quality education and training needed to maintain a competitive edge for our growing business and industry base needs. Student achievement in Okaloosa County is accelerating, with a rising number of students performing above grade level.

Okaloosa's School District

The Okaloosa County School District was one of the first school districts to end the practice of social promotion, insisting that students meet academic standards in one grade before promotion to the next. After making the most dramatic learning gains since the state started grading schools, Okaloosa County has achieved a larger share of 'A' schools than the other 67 Florida counties. Okaloosa County School District serves approximately 30,000 students and operates thirty-three neighborhood public schools, which include: two K-12 schools; one K-8 school; a school with two locations for severely cognitively disabled students; a performing arts academy; a Pre-K center; and two charter schools, one of which is a dual enrollment collegiate school in conjunction with Northwest Florida State College.

Compare schools across multiple counties or multiple schools in Okaloosa County at www.floridastudentsachieve.org

Okaloosa County Schools Rank #2 in the State

Okaloosa Educational Attainment
No Diploma 8.4%
High School Graduate 27.37%
Some College, No Degree 25.34%
Associate Degree 10.59%
Bachelor's Degree 16.95%
Graduate/Professional Degree 11.35
Source: www.okaloosasites.com (Applied Geographic Solutions 2016)

Specialty Programs

The Okaloosa County School District offers a wide range of public school programs to assist students in their educational advancement and training: OkaloosaSchools.com

Technology and the use of computers in the classroom is a major component in today's student learning. Therefore, Okaloosa County schools are equipped with computers in classrooms. The district also offers training for teachers through a technology lab.

Secondary Education Partnerships

Okaloosa has established important partnerships with Florida colleges and universities to provide additional opportunities and challenges for students.
  • The University of Florida and University of West Florida:
    pre-engineering course work for middle and high school students
  • The Florida State University College of Medicine and West Florida Area Health Education Center:
    science and math instruction for students starting in seventh grade
  • Embry Riddle Aeronautical University:
    university-level aerospace studies
Community High: Okaloosa Institutes for Career Education: CHOICE
CHOICE is a unique program for high school students. CHOICE provides students with nationally recognized industry certifications and a solid foundation whether they plan to enter the workforce immediately after high school or continue their education at a career center, community college, or university. It lets students earn high school credit, college credit, and nationally-recognized industry certification – all at the same time. Having the faculty possess the national industry certifications attached to the courses they teach establishes greater credibility for them.  When educators have in-depth knowledge of the material and first-hand experience of the exams, they can do a more effective job of training their students with test-taking techniques.


  • Aerospace
  • Allied Health
  • Automotive
  • Construction Technology
  • Culinary
  • Early Child Development
  • Information Technology

STEMM Center

The Okaloosa STEMM Center, established in 2012, provides a base of operations housing three collocated activities in one centralized location:

The Center for STEMM Innovation (CSI) is a state-of-the-art teacher training center which offers teachers innovative instruction to assist in the promotion of STEMM growth in Okaloosa County and its schools. The center is equipped with progressive instructional technology with items such as hand-held data-loggers, TI-Nspire devices, and digital tablets. Grants and partnerships have made this one-of-a-kind center a reality. This teacher training center will seek to provide a base of operations for our STEMM partnerships that go above and beyond anything currently available: teacher mentoring, idea incubator, partnership/grant development, and developing common vision targets and synergism.

Engineers for America Program is an educational program that provides teacher workshops and student field trips that place emphasis on hands-on activities that relate to aerospace engineering. In its sixth year of operation, the EFA program teaches students how to conduct formal experiments called sorties. These sorties address the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) concepts that are aligned to the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) New Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS). All sorties have been designed to help students master the grade-level benchmarks that will be assessed on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and to motivate more students into technical careers to meet the critical shortage of engineers, scientists, mathematicians the country faces in the future. A concurrent goal of the program is to conduct teacher workshops to provide teachers STEM strategies and materials for use in their daily classroom activities. Teachers attend workshops, learn pedagogy and methodology, data collection instruments and methods, STEMM strategies and curriculum materials for their daily classroom use. The EFA program has been recognized by STEMflorida with the Improved Student Outcomes Award.

An integral part of the Okaloosa STEMM Center is the STEMM Academy, an accelerated middle school for students interested in pursuing STEMM careers. The emphasis on the Academy’s curriculum prepares students to pursue technical professions such as engineering, mathematics and research. The curriculum supports the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) Reading Strategic Initiatives and the Math/Science Initiatives.

Emerald Coast Autism Center

The Emerald Coast Autism Center (ECAC) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating and improving the lives of young children with autism in Okaloosa and Walton counties and surrounding areas. All instruction and activities at the ECAC are conducted in a manner consistent with the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The science of ABA is currently the only proven intervention for children with autism. Specifically, ECAC follows the Verbal Behavior (VB) approach to ABA, based on B.F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior. All staff members are trained ABA therapists, certified teachers, or are taking Master’s level coursework toward special education or BCBA certification. The center has an indoor playground, complete with a rock climbing wall, as well as a fenced-in outdoor playground for students. Academically, ECAC serves students from Pre-k through grade two. Also offers Speech and Occupational therapy on-site as a service to all families. The long-term goal of the ECAC is to grow into a stand-alone regional center for the education, and treatment of children with autism, and the support of their families.



Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC)
This 47 year old local college has evolved throughout the years from its original Okaloosa-Walton Junior College to today's Northwest Florida State College. NWFSC is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor's and associate degrees, certificates and diplomas.
  • Bachelor's program -- BAS and BSN
  • A variety of Associate Degrees
  • Short term technical certificates
  • Vocational certificates
  • Adult education
  • High school equivalency instruction
  • English-as-a-second language
  • Noncredit continuing education
  • Retirement learning
  • Customized training for business and industry
NWFSC is a public institution and serve approximately 17,000 students annually at six full-time campuses and centers, including a main campus in Niceville, a joint campus with the University of West Florida in Fort Walton Beach and centers in Crestview, DeFuniak Springs, Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field and South Walton. Bachelor's programs currently include a BAS degree program in Project and Acquisitions Management and a BSN in Nursing. An associate degree RN program in Nursing and other health programs are also offered.
NWFSC has a long and successful history of working effectively with business, industry, and government employers in providing training that is customized to meet the needs of the county's individual employers.


The University of West Florida (UWF)
The University of West Florida's Fort Walton Beach Campus serves the unique needs of employed students and military personnel. One of UWF's goal is to meet the changing needs of the non-traditional student population and to focus on demand-driven higher education programs that meet the needs of both students and the local community. UWF offers a full range ofprofessional programs. The UWF campus in Fort Walton Beach facilitates many advanced learning classes to provide bachelor and graduate programs.

In March 2006 the University of West Florida Board of Trustees voted to combine all eight of their university branch campuses and extended learning efforts under a new umbrella title of The University of West Florida-Emerald Coast. As UWF expands its outreach delivery throughout Northwest Florida, other field operations will additionally be included under this organizational title and structure.

The UWF Haas Center for Business Research
The University's Haas Center for Business Research provides another valuable service to the area. The mission of the Haas Center is to collect, analyze, and disseminate information on the Northwest Florida business and economic environment. It is the leading regional resource for social and demographic information for Northwest Florida.

UWF Office of Economic Development and Engagement
The University's Office of Economic Development and Engagement is a model program for regional comprehensive universities engaged in economic development partnerships. The mission is to enable and assist sustainable private sector growth, regional economic development and coordinate UWF's economic outreach to meet the current and emerging needs of the Northwest Florida economy.

The University of Florida-Research Engineering & Education Facility (REEF)
The UF-REEF offers Masters and Doctorate degree programs and courses in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Industrial and Systems Engineering. The REEF is located adjacent to the Eglin Air Force Base in Shalimar and is the location for the future Emerald Coast Technology & Research Center.

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide is the world’s pre-eminent university for aviation and aerospace education.  In addition to online classes, the university has several satellite campuses in Okaloosa County. These campuses offer associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, as well as undergraduate certifications such as Aviation Maintenance Technology Part 65. 

Carolina Aero Prep – Panhandle Campus
Carolina Aero Prep – Panhandle Campus offers technical curriculum and specializes in Federal Aviation Administration mechanic and inspection authorization certification. Carolina Aero Prep provides top-notch air frames and power plant mechanic training and testing for interested aeronautics enthusiasts. Carolina Aero Prep is the only service of this type in our area. Customers choose to enroll with us because we are economical and a twice-approved FAA school of the Southeast. We have a history of a higher than average student pass rate, further proving our track record of success and credibility. The mission is to allow military mechanics to obtain their FAA certification to future their career in commercial aeration. These courses are aimed at transitioning military aircraft mechanics to civilian certification and are G.I. Bill reimbursable because Carolina Aero Prep is veteran affairs certified. Carolina A&P offers ACFT courses such as Sheet Metal Training and Familiarization, Turbine Engine Familiarization, Aircraft Composite Familiarization and Repair Course, Intro to Basic Avionics, Aircraft Systems Familiarization. Additionally, Carolina A&P offers FAA courses such as Airframe & Powerplant Written and Oral Exam Prep Course Computer Home Study or International A&P Training Courses. 

Other University Branch Campuses
  • Troy University 
  • FAMU - College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • The University of Oklahoma
  • The University of Arkansas

Other Technical Facilities

  • The Bay Area Vocational Technical School
  • The Crestview Vocational Technical Center
For more information on the community's educational system click here.


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