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Program Profiles: Tampa Bay Education Guide Special Feature

From state-of-the-art technology to old-fashioned Socratic sessions by a lakeside, there’s a school, a method and an academic home for your children in Tampa Bay. Check out some of these exciting and enriching programs from local schools.


Berkeley Preparatory School

Berkeley energizes education and students with incredible experiential learning opportunities on an incomparable campus. In a safe, nurturing environment featuring inspiring teachers and engaged parents and alumni, students enjoy a broad curricular and extracurricular program along personalized paths.

Whether it’s learning Chinese, playing football or the bagpipes, studying art in Florence, or distributing water filters in the Dominican Republic, Berkeley students have unlimited ways to grow beyond the classroom. With more than 40 clubs and electives and an extensive afterschool athletic program, Middle Division students discover and pursue their hidden talents. Upper Division students flourish in an atmosphere akin to a small liberal arts college under the guidance of inspiring teaching professionals from all over the world. As well as more than 72 AP, Honors and Advanced Topics courses, future artists can explore visual and performing arts in one of the most diverse and complete arts programs in the Tampa Bay area.

Students broaden their horizons through the study of world languages (beginning in Pre-K), overseas travel and service, and our unique Global Scholars Program. Berkeley students perform more than 30,000 hours of service each year, learning how to unleash their leadership qualities to contribute to the world.

Berkeley’s full range of varsity and junior varsity teams in the Middle and Upper Divisions includes 16 sports and more than 80 teams. As a 3A school and member of the Florida High School Athletic Association and the Florida West Coast League, Berkeley has won more than 70 FHSAA Academic Team State Championships and been the Overall Team Academic Champion nine of the last 11 years.

As an Episcopal school, Berkeley embraces students from all faiths, traditions and perspectives. Every Berkeley student is accepted and appreciated. That’s why you’ll find no homecoming kings, no prom queens, no valedictorians and no class ranks. We truly are “One Berkeley.”


Corbett Preparatory School of IDS

Since 1968, Corbett Prep has taught generations of children in a uniquely child-centered culture and community. At the heart of the Corbett Prep experience are the positive, supportive relationships between students and teachers. Located on a beautiful 15-acre lakeside campus, Corbett Prep offers the International Baccalaureate programme for all PreK3-8th grade students. Teachers use research-based strategies to engage students in hands-on learning opportunities. In this extraordinary learning environment, a social-emotional curriculum provides the framework for student mindfulness and wellbeing with opportunities to discover and develop individual areas of giftedness for all students academics with joy and challenge; robust visual and performance arts classes; a dedicated Application Lab for experiential learning in science, engineering, the art of design and mathematics; a competitive middle school athletics program and strong physical education curriculum; and emphasis on leadership and international-mindedness.

Through a diverse, multicultural student body as well as partnerships with schools around the world, Corbett Prep students grow in intercultural appreciation and understanding. Corbett Prep parents enjoy strong, often lifelong, connections with teachers, staff, and other families. The Parent-Faculty Association and the Dads’ Club provide opportunities for involvement and social activities open to the school community.

Graduates often say that at Corbett Prep, they learned and practiced the life skills they needed for success beyond 8th grade: the choreography of working respectfully and productively with those from different backgrounds and cultures, a growth mindset to approach and solve problems, and the confidence, poise, and presence to serve as leaders in their community.


Keystone Prep High School

With small class sizes, caring faculty and a beautiful campus in Odessa, Keystone Prep High School is com-mitted to providing the best educational experience for all students. With an average of eight to 10 students per class, Keystone Prep students thrive within an individualized approach based on students’ strengths and challenges. The school’s advocacy program, which runs parallel to the academic program, focuses on social and emotional learning and college and career exploration.

At Keystone Prep, parents can expect a family atmosphere where students feel safe, supported and challenged to reach levels of performance they may have not thought possible. Families can also expect a partnership with the school where they work together to help their students reach their full potential academically, emotionally and socially.

The school’s goal is that all students do everything in their power to leave a positive impact on their communities and the world. Faculty and staff encourage students to learn compassion and understanding, to work hard and apply themselves to whatever task is before them. Students are taught the knowledge and skills to not only navigate an ever-changing world—but to thrive in it.

While Keystone Prep is not a special-needs school, they espouse the philosophy that any student, regardless of a formal diagnosis, can benefit from the school’s unique approach.


Shorecrest Preparatory School

Celebrating nearly 100 years of academic excellence, Shorecrest Preparatory School combines academic excellence and robust co-curriculars in a connected, inclusive community. Starting from the very littlest 3-year-olds nurtured in a Reggio-inspired curriculum, students up to 12th grade are guided by dedicated teachers and staff to become global, future-ready citizens.

Shorecrest is ranked first in Pinellas county for STEM by Niche.com and in the top 500 schools for STEM nationwide by Newsweek Magazine. The Peck Center for Medical Sciences offers an in-depth, applied sciences academic track that includes coursework, specialized laboratories, guest experts, field experiences and student-directed projects. The school’s STEAM signature program offers a pathway to pursue STEAM related coursework while investigating a specialized area of interest in computer science, engineering, or entrepreneurship and design.

An award-winning visual and performing arts faculty and a full week dedicated to community service are other draws, as is the Global Scholars Initiative that provides language skills and a deeper understanding of global cultures with a range of curricular and co-curricular experiences. The Shorecrest College Counseling Office works with families to ensure the best fit colleges and universities.

Shorecrest is home to the Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning (CITL) through which educators from all over the southeast participate in opportunities to explore new research-supported teaching practices and grow as professionals.

With forward-thinking programming and school initiatives like the 1:1 iPad Program, Shorecrest is recognized as an Apple Distinguished School, a designation reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership and educational excellence, and demonstrate a clear vision of exemplary learning environments.

Celebrating each student’s unique differences, Shorecrest encourages parents, guardians and grandparents to be involved in meaningful ways. Modeling core values of responsibility, respect, integrity, knowledge and compassion, Shorecrest students become curious lifelong learners who continue to seek knowledge and take intellectual risks even after their formal education is completed.


St. John’s Episcopal Parish Day School

Located in the heart of Tampa, St. John’s Episcopal School delivers an unparalleled, values-driven, progressive education for children in Pre-K4 through Grade 8. Populated by a rich variety of individuals from increasingly diverse religious, cultural and economic backgrounds, St. John’s is the region’s oldest Episcopal school. Distinguished by more than 70 years of demonstrated success, we prepare children for lives of learning and service. We hold an uncompromising belief in the potential of children and the sanctity of childhood.

We believe that education has a higher purpose, one our faculty and staff are compelled to serve. Our curriculum is focused on the development of the whole child through an interdisciplinary program that honors tradition and fosters innovation. Creative field trips, cutting-edge technology, thoughtful divinity lessons, and quality visiting authors and artists enhance the traditional curriculum during the school day. Winning athletics and extra-curricular activities reinforce the School’s values after the school day ends. Combined, they create a well-rounded St. John’s student, ready to take on a world of limitless possibilities.

Hard work, faith, respect, honesty and a commitment to excellence allow our graduates to thrive in high school, college and beyond. St. John’s families become part of a community in which the school-parent partnership is encouraged in raising their children. The Parents’ Association and Dads’ Club support the mission and strategic goals of the school, encouraging parent involvement by promoting community among SJE families. A feeling of positive energy, inclusiveness, optimism, respect and kindness permeates the school. Without exception, St. John’s students are ‘Empowered to Lead, Inspired to Serve.’


The Vanguard School

The Vanguard School serves neurodiverse learners in 6th through 12th grades in beautiful Lake Wales in sunny central Florida. Vanguard’s mission is to support students who learn diversely to share commonalities and learn about themselves and others in a safe, encouraging environment. Our students excel in small, targeted education settings and utilize individualized academic support, self-confidence building and social/independence skills.

The Vanguard School campus provides space for outdoor athletics, including tennis, swimming, soccer and a running track, as well as leisure activities such as fishing and canoeing that allow students to connect and learn with each other. Students can take advantage of both competitive athletic opportunities as well as recreational club sports. Clubs are set up with a mentor and student leaders each year, providing the opportunity for leadership development and evolving student interests. Our athletics and clubs integrate our core values to demonstrate application in mindful behavior.

The Vanguard School’s academic program meets students where they are and helps them find self-paced and level-appropriate instruction and accommodations to meet their needs. Students will be joined in the small classroom setting with other students in their similar learning realm whether they benefit from intensive skill building or high-level exploration of a subject. High school students explore opportunities in dual enrollment for college/university, certifications or trades while gaining applicable experience in the next-step expectations with support.

Our safe and diverse environment is designed to build confidence, share cultures, create connections and build a path that is individualized for each student. Our core value-based open mindset helps students gain empathy, leadership and resilience, and contribute to the community while shaping their journey forward. We prepare diverse learners to thrive in a diverse world.


The Waldorf School of Tampa Bay

Waldorf education is 100+ year old European school movement whose learning process is three-fold, engaging head, heart and hands. All curriculum is based on the science of human development, honoring childhood, and teaching the right thing, at the right time.

While we teach robust academics, equally important to the mind is the development of the child’s physical body and emotional well-being. This is why we teach art, music, storytelling, handwork, movement and games, practical arts, world languages and earth stewardship along with core academics: to develop a Whole child.

We teach the essentialness of wonder: slowing down and self-reflection. The whole point of Waldorf Education is rhythm, ritual, rites of passage and delayed gratification; we teach and do things when the child is ready.

Our Forest Kindergarten is a magical place where children frolic outdoors, swinging from ropes and tending the garden. Our second and third graders camped out at a biodynamic farm in Ocala for four days, where they worked the land and tended to the chickens, pigs and cows. Our fifth grader’s rite of passage is to attend a regional Pentathlon in the spring. After a year of studying Greek history and mythology, they compete with other Waldorf schools in the five classic Greek sports, and are honored not for their athleticism, but for their beauty, grace and fair play. Our sixth, seventh and eighth graders perform a delightfully entertaining, but also extremely impressive Shakespeare production every year.

The core values of a Waldorf education—truth, beauty and goodness—coupled with our shared school values of no screens until after graduation and stewardship and healing for our Mother Earth, bring together like-minded souls who have been searching for each other. All our children graduate with extremely expanded capacities of resilience, innovation, critical thinking skills, risk management, problem solving and a desire to seek out, connect with, and create more of what is beautiful in our world.


Westlake Christian School

For nearly 30 years, Westlake Christian School has developed and maintained a unique blend of faith, academics and community. The school is based in the belief of a well-rounded school experience with faith formation, academics, fine arts, athletics, technology and leadership development as the primary areas.

Westlake is especially proud of using best practices throughout the school and in all areas. The whole school is a best practices environment. Families can expect a community-minded school dedicated to serving each child and family individually.

Westlake graduates are well-rounded and the best thinkers and problem-solvers in this locale. The school is also proud to be the only Christian school to hold accreditation by the Florida Kindergarten Council, the Florida Council of Independent Schools and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/AdvancED.

Anu Varma Panchal
Associate Editor Anu Varma Panchal has a master’s degrees in journalism and more than 15 years of experience writing and editing for newspapers and magazines in Illinois, Iowa and Florida. She has lived in Florida for more than 10 years, and enjoys raising her two daughters in Tampa Bay. When Anu isn’t writing or editing for area publications, she’s busy driving her kids to all their music and dance activities. She volunteers regularly in her daughters’ schools and Parent Teacher Associations, and spent a wonderful two years immersed in local history as a volunteer in the Tampa Bay History Museum’s Collections department. Although her idea of the ultimate good time is usually found between the pages of a book, Anu also enjoys yoga, her book club, travel, theater and area food and music festivals.

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