Ascend Academy

  • What is Ascend?

    The more competitive the college/university, the more specific the requirements are for admission. Preparing for admission to the top colleges and universities in the country requires extra support, specific coursework, leadership and service both in and out of the school community, top test scores, and more. 

    Poinciana High School's Ascend Academy is for students who are focused on ascending to new heights in their high school education. Ascend is a program designed to help students not only earn the AP Capstone Diploma, but work toward admission to a top 100 college or university in the country.    

    The AP Capstone Diploma program was designed by CollegeBoard, and equips students with the independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication skills valued by colleges. It cultivates curious, independent, and collaborative scholars and prepares them to make logical, evidence-based decisions.

    AP Capstone is comprised of two courses – AP Seminar and AP Research – and is designed to complement and enhance discipline specific study in other AP courses. It allows students to engage in unique research opportunities and to master argument-based writing skills that the AP Capstone Diploma program develops.

    Connect with Ascend 

    Follow us on Instagram at phs_ascendacademy! Follow the hashtag #PHSAscendAcademy. 

    Check out the latest version of the Ascend newsletter for current students at

    Program Application 

    The Ascend Academy opens during the spring of each school year. Please contact the program coordinator, Mrs. Malfara, with any questions at

    Program Benefits

    • Opportunity to take advanced coursework tailored to your interests and strengths competitive with college applicants worldwide  
    • Cohort-model used for ACT/SAT testing and common classes (when possible)
    • 1:1 support and advising directed toward top 100 admission with College & Career Counselor and School Counselor  
    • Programming and events designed specifically for top 100 admission  

    The 4-Year Plan 

    Click here to learn about how to make the most of each year of high school as you prepare for top college admission. 


    Our first Ascend class graduated in 2021. Since then, our Ascend graduates have been accepted to the following top 100 schools (in alphabetical order): 

    Amherst College
    Auburn University
    Babson College
    Case Western Reserve University
    Davidson College
    Florida State University
    Georgia Institute of Technology  
    Middlebury College
    New York University
    Northeastern University  
    Pennsylvania State University  
    Syracuse University  
    Swarthmore College
    University of Florida
    Washington University in St. Louis
    Vassar College  

    Other notable, competitive college admissions (in alphabetical order): 

    Florida Institute of Technology
    Florida Polytechnic University  
    Occidental College  
    Oglethorpe University
    University of Central Florida
    University of Miami
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Savannah College of Art and Design  

    Congratulations to the Class of 2022!