1Voice Academy – Introduction

In an effort to meet the ever growing needs of our patient population and enhance the CARE component of our mission, the 1Voice Foundation has launched an initiative to open the 1Voice Academy, the first school in the United States for children with cancer.

The 1Voice Academy will provide an innovative learning environment for academic, recreational and social support for children battling cancer. Offering supportive surroundings, the 1Voice Academy will enhance wellness, compliment healing and foster the recovery process. In addition, we will offer academic standards with standardized measurement and effective teaching to improve the quality of education by offering a safe and sterile environment and allow the students to excel in a customized educational plan that will maximize their strengths and minimize their challenges. We want to accommodate their specific needs without them feeling accommodated.

On January 14, 2011, Mary Ann Massolio, Executive Director for the 1Voice Foundation, presented the concept to Mary Ellen Elia, Hillsborough County School Superintendent, Wynne Tye, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction and Cathy Valdes, Chief Facilities Officer. The Hillsborough County School District is in support of the concept and has defined it as a “Homebound Medical Satellite Educational Center”. The 1Voice Academy will be a center for excellence and a model for the nation. We believe this concept will be more cost effective by centralizing medical homebound teachers in one pre existing facility while providing an opportunity for community support for the entire family. By having the visibility and showcasing this prototype, it will also allow additional philanthropic opportunity to support its existence.

According to the National Childhood Cancer Foundation, approximately 15,780 children are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States. That accounts for 46 children every week day.

Children with cancer experience side effects much the same way adults do, but they cannot always express what they are feeling or understand why they are feeling that way. They just know they are unable to attend events, participate in sports and have disruptions with their school schedule due to hospitalizations, clinic appointments and low blood counts. Being in an enclosed classroom with a contagious classmate can send an immune compromised child to the hospital. In 2010, the School Nurses Association reported that 40% of staff and students reported respiratory problems. In January, 2012, the National Education Association reported on CNN reported that 1/3 of the schools in the United States are believed to be causing respiratory problems. Dangerous levels of mold are a common threat as well. As a result, many patients co enroll in the Homebound Medical Program which allows for a teacher to come into their home. This is certainly an option, however, it still doesn’t deal with the isolation and how the child feels and it doesn’t allow parents to be in their work place if they are home with their child. The 1Voice Academy would provide an additional option for pediatric oncology families to educate their child in a safe environment, continue bringing in needed revenue from their workplace and a center for support with additional non academic programs.

Next: Rationale