education options

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education options2018-02-24T20:56:11+00:00

In Florida, you have more options than you may think…

Brick & Mortar Public Schools

Compulsory Attendance

Your child’s age is your first indicator of his or her eligibility for beginning school. Students must be enrolled in school if they turn six on or before January 30.  see more >

find your school

Required Documentation

Florida school districts set the requirements for what documentation is required prior to enrolling a student in their district. To get that information, contact the district directly.

Some legal documents are required for Florida students to attend school:

  • Certified Birth Certificate/proof of identity
  • Official copy of records/transcripts from the previous school the child most recently attended
  • A shot immunization record (or proof that immunization is not required for the child)
    • Click here to view the immunization requirements 
  • Proof of home address (for example, a rental agreement or tax statement)

School Fees

Paying some fees is a part of public education, though it is primarily a free education. Students are expected to supply their own basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks. Each district has a list of approved expenditures for students. Fee waiver forms can be requested from the school if there is a situation that prevents a family from being able to pay for required materials or events.

Some typical items on that list include:

  • Lunch
  • Summer school
  • Student parking passes (high school)
  • Lost textbooks
  • Late or lost library books
  • Field trips
  • Special class-required fees (e.g., science lab fees)

Public Charter Schools

What are Charter Schools?

Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit governing bodies.

Parents, teachers, and community leaders sign a “charter” or contract with a school district or state agency to create a charter school and give students more educational options than their assigned school. Charter schools have flexibility over classroom hours, curriculum, and employment policies, but are subject to periodic reviews based on student performance. In Florida, public charter school students are measured against the same academic standards as students in other public schools. Local boards of education monitor the academic and financial performance of charter schools, and, can revoke  or refuse to renew a school’s charter.

Florida Charter Schools

A list of the active charter schools can be found at the Florida Department of Education.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about charters can be found at Florida Department of Education.

Enrollment

Most charter schools do not have attendance zones. If you are interested in applying for your child, you must apply directly to the school. The application and selection process can be quite complicated. Make sure to contact the school early to determine the correct next steps to applying.

Virtual Public Schools

In Florida, children attend school online in virtual classrooms with state certified teachers. Some virtual programs are open to in-district students only, while others have enrollment open to students across the state. Florida is the first state to legislate that public schools must have full-time and part-time virtual options for students who want to take advantage of the opportunity. The Florida Virtual School is the largest online state school in the country, racking up more than two million course completions since its inception in 1997. The state also boasts several online charter schools, blended learning options, the Virtual Instruction Program, and course offerings that cross district lines.

Districts may offer virtual courses for courses included in Florida’s Course Code Directory. This directory includes all courses that are eligible to be funded in Florida public schools and includes courses in all subject areas and grade levels. Districts may develop their own online courses or purchase the online courses or curriculum they offer.

Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired

phone: (800) 323-4238
ages: 14+ years of age

Broward Virtual School

phone: (754) 321-1100
grades: 6–12

Duval Virtual Instruction Academy

phone: (904) 390-2037
grades: K–12

Florida Cyber Charter Academy

phone: (904) 247-3268
grades: K–12

Florida Virtual School

phone: (407) 513-3587
grades: K–12

Miami-Dade Online (MDO) Academy

phone: (305) 995-2831
grades: K–12

Private Schools

What makes a school “private”?

Private schools charge tuition, and many have a religious mission. Some private schools offer families assistance to make tuition payments. Click below for the complete list of over 1,600 private schools across the state.

private school review

Private School Review offers free, detailed information on U.S. private schools combined with useful community data (e.g., housing costs) and maps of the surrounding areas.

*Information on non-public school admission requirements should be obtained from the school directly.

Scholarships

In 2001, the state of Florida enacted and launched a tax-credit scholarship program to serve students from low-income households. Of America’s school choice programs, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is one of the largest in terms of student participation.

Educational Savings Account

Florida’s Gardiner Scholarship Program provides parents funds to pay for a variety of educational services for their children, including private school tuition, tutoring, online education, curriculum, therapy, textbooks, digital devices, courses at eligible post-secondary educational institutions in Florida, specialized after-school programs, transition services, fees for the annual evaluation of the educational progress of the child, fees for home education programs, and other defined educational services. Students may also purchase services, including part-time courses, from public schools.

Voucher Programs

Florida’s John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program was enacted and launched in 1999, making it the nation’s first school voucher program for students with special needs. The Florida legislature expanded the program in 2000.

Learn more about these scholarship programs at EdChoice.

Private Virtual Schools

George Washington University Online High School is an online college preparatory academy for motivated students who are willing to be challenged to become the best students and persons they can be. Combining award-winning curriculum with small class sizes and intensive college counseling, students receive a flexible, individualized education attuned to their own needs and goals.

International Academy is a K12, Inc accredited, online private school for grades K–12. Students earn a U.S. high school diploma while using award-winning K¹² curriculum

They offer extensive, individualized academic and counseling support keep students on track. The flexibility allows students to explore their passions. Full-time and part-time options are available.

International Connections Academy is a fully-accredited, online, college preparatory private school serving K-12 students worldwide. The program combines a top-rated curriculum with talented teachers, cutting-edge technology, the flexibility to learn at home, and direct family involvement to ensure each student realizes his or her full potential.

The Keystone School offers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students. Whether your student wants to study full-time or just needs individual classes, they offer more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP. Students can enroll at any time.

The Oaks Private School is a fully-accredited private school offering the highest-quality online education to high school and middle school students across the US and around the world. We offer personalized service and customized programs to all of our students.

Home Education

Your options

In Florida, parents have the option to educate their children at home, an option known as homeschooling or home education. Parents in Florida may choose to homeschool their own children in grades K–12. Parents desiring to homeschool their own children may do so by choosing one of the following three options — homeschooling under the homeschool statute, under a private school “umbrella” program or with a private tutor. All three options are discussed below.

Under the homeschool statute:

  1. File a written Notice of Intent in the first 30 days of the program to the county superintendent. The notice of intent must include the names, addresses, and birth dates of your homeschool students.
  2. Maintain a portfolio. The portfolio must contain: a log of educational activities made contemporaneously with the instruction, with a list of the titles of any reading materials used, and samples of writings, worksheets, workbooks, creative materials, etc., used or developed by the student. You must keep this portfolio for two years after it is completed.
  3. Evaluate your student annually. You may use one of the following options:
    – Have educational progress evaluated by a teacher holding a valid regular Florida teaching certificate and selected by the parent—the evaluation must include review of a portfolio and discussion with the student
    – Take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher
    – Take a state student assessment test used by the school district and administered by a certified teacher, at a location and under testing conditions approved by the school district
    – Be evaluated by a Florida licensed psychologist or school psychologist; or
    – Be “evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon.”
  4. File an Affidavit of Termination. If you decide to stop homeschooling, or move out of the county, you should submit an affidavit of termination to the county superintendent of schools within 30 days of ending your homeschool program.

 Private School “Umbrella” Program:

You can enroll your child in a private school that is registered with the Florida Department of Education and that will oversee your homeschool program. Such schools are often known as “umbrella” or “cover” schools because your homeschool program is supervised by them rather than overseen by local school officials. Some of the many umbrella schools are listed below.

Atrium School

phone: (561) 247-5726

Calvary Baptist Church Academy

1945 N. Florida Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33805
phone: (863) 683-6781

Champion Preparatory Academy

1935 S. Orange Blossom Trail
Apopka, FL 32703
phone: (407) 788-0018

Cheerful Heart Academy

581 18th ST SE
Naples, FL 34117
phone: (239) 300-6167

Crossroads Christian School

P.O. Box 295
Crestview, FL 32536
phone: (850) 398-8361

Hillcrest Academy Free School

2031 Fairchild St.
Pensacola, FL 32504
phone: (850) 377-5713

HomeLife Academy

10151 University Blvd. #124
Orlando, FL 32817
phone: (888) 560-0774

The Oaks Private School

7291 SW County Road 141
Jasper, FL 32052
phone: (386) 938-1352

Vitarete Academy

123 N Congress Ave #278
Boynton Beach, FL 33426
phone: (561) 417-6737

With a Private Tutor:

In order to homeschool under this option you must complete the following:

  1. Select a Private Tutor to teach your child. Your child’s instructor must hold a valid Florida certificate to teach the subjects or grades in which instruction is given.
  2. Keep Records. The certified teacher who is tutoring your child must keep records and make reports as required by the state and district school boards in accordance with Fla Stat. § 1002.43.
Scholarships

Homeschool graduates are eligible to apply for many scholarships including the Bright Futures Scholarship. For more information on eligibility visit here.

Home School Legal Defense Alliance

visit HSLDA website>

Coalition for Responsible Home Education

visit the coalition’s website>

Support Groups

Many home school associations offer classes, curriculum advising, sports, clubs, socials and recreation. Check out all the homeschool support groups in your county here.

Florida Parent-Educators Association

website: http://fpea.com/about-fpea
email: info@fpea.com

Dual Enrollment

College Credit

Dual enrollment courses are college credit courses. High school students enroll in college courses and earn postsecondary credit upon successful completion of the course. High school credit can also be awarded based on local school policy. Dual enrollment courses can be taught on the college campus, at the student’s high school, or online. The location of the course does not affect its status as a dual enrollment course. Home school students are also eligible for dual enrollment.

 

Course Fees

When instruction takes place on the postsecondary campus during the fall or spring term, the school district pays the institution the standard tuition rate per credit hour from funds provided in the Florida Education Finance Program. When dual enrollment is provided on the high school site by postsecondary institution faculty, the school district reimburses the institution for the costs associated with the postsecondary institution’s proportion of salary and benefits. When dual enrollment is provided at the high school by school district faculty, the school district is not responsible for payment to the postsecondary institution.

Any dual enrollment student enrolled at a course offered through a public postsecondary institution is exempt from the payment of registration, tuition, and fees, including laboratory fees. Instructional materials must be made available to dual enrollment public high school students free of charge. Student exemptions from payment of instructional materials and tuition and fees, including laboratory fees, do not apply to students who enroll in an eligible independent institution. A Florida College System institution may provide instructional materials at no cost to a home education student or student from a private school. Instructional materials purchased by a district school board or Florida College System institution board of trustees for dual enrollment students are the property of the purchasing board.

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