Quest, Inc.



Julissa Gonzalez
ph 407.218.4300 ext. 4368
fax 407.218.4301

FACE Accomplishments from the 2009-2010 School Year

Tampa, Florida (July 30, 2010)
– It’s been one year since Quest Inc. – a leading nonprofit organization serving people with disabilities – began managing the Florida Autism Center of Excellence (FACE), and the school has since made many strides.

FACE is a Hillsborough County public charter school specializing in educational programs for children ages 3 to 22 with moderate to severe autism. Prior to the agreement, FACE was set to close before the start of the 2009-2010 school year, but when Quest assumed management on July 1, 2009, the school was able to remain open and continue operating.

FACE is one of the few public schools in the state that focus solely on children on the autism spectrum– a population that is on the rise, as an estimated one in every 91 US children are now diagnosed autism.

After partnering with Quest, enrollment at the school grew from 55 students to more than 70. Some additional accomplishments at FACE under Quest’s management during the 2009-2010 academic year included:

  • Introducing a new five-member board of directors featuring leaders from throughout the Tampa Bay community.

  • A $10,000 grant award from the Verizon Foundation to support professional development for educators and administrators at the school.

  • Adding more staff members with relevant professional certifications that included Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Specialist certifications.

  • Successfully completing a state audit determining the school’s compliance with ESE rules and regulations.

  • Launching new programs to enhance the academic experience at FACE, such as a music program, a community garden, and a vocational classroom.

  • Conducting extracurricular activities before and after normal school hours, including chorus, winter festivals, spring extravaganzas, community-based instruction and vocational programs, and a year-end celebration.

  • Participating in a “walk the halls” event in Tallahassee, where Quest Schools director Tom Porter and FACE PTO president Lisa Guthrie met with more than 10 state representatives to advocate for FACE and other charter schools.

  • Building partnerships with the local academic community, such as the University of South Florida’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), the Department of Psychological and Social Foundations at USF, and Hillsborough Community College’s HAWK radio station, which featured a one-hour program with both Quest and FACE representatives in February 2010.

The upcoming school year at FACE begins on August 24. FACE administrators hope to serve more students throughout the year who could benefit from these specialized services. They also want to add restrooms inside the elementary classrooms, enhance the school-wide physical education program and seek out additional opportunities for professional development and school improvements.

About Quest, Inc.:

Quest helps people with disabilities achieve their dreams of going to school, having a job, living on their own, and experiencing summer camp. As Central Florida’s largest provider of these services, Quest makes a difference in the lives of more than 1,000 people each day and has been part of our community for nearly 50 years. For more information about Quest, visit

About FACE:
The Florida Autism Center of Excellence (FACE) is managed by Quest, Inc., and offers successful educational programs for children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. As a public charter school that serves students with moderate to severe autism in pre-K through 12th grade and beyond, FACE provides a comprehensive academic environment to address the unmet needs of the growing number of children in Florida with developmental disabilities. Located at 6400 E. Chelsea St. in Tampa, the school is available to families in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Manatee and Sarasota counties. For more information, please call Tom Porter, director of Quest schools, at 813.621.3223, or visit