September not only marks the hope for cooler weather, but also the start of the private school admissions process for the following school year. If your eyes balls just bulged out of their sockets and your stomach turned in knots, then you are in good company. Navigating private schools anywhere is tough, but especially in South Tampa where the total available enrollment cannot grow quick enough. Local families are expanding and we are seeing rapid growth in the number of families flocking to our beloved city from near and far. So if you are panicking because you have not started your search yet, don't worry, you're not alone.
Luckily, we have a lot of great options for elementary school in South Tampa across the spectrum: private, public and charter. Check out this resource to help you navigate the South Tampa Elementary Schools' Admissions Process. It's a snapshot of the admissions process for all of the local South Tampa private elementary schools.
The most important thing you can do before you scour the internet for all of your options is to figure out the type of school that is best for your family. Once you have a good idea of what you are looking for, it makes the search a whole lot easier. If you have a strong preference on a secular versus religious school, then that easily narrows your options. Or if you prefer a particular type of learning environment, then that tapers down the list and saves you time from researching options that you know won't be a good fit for your family. Another great resource to reference is the South Tampa Elementary School Matrix for a quick snapshot of the local private schools with basic details like tuition and school type.
The typical timeline for the admissions process includes three steps: research and inquiry, application submission and invitation to enroll.
1. Research and Inquiry
The online research, campus tours and discovery calls typically start in September and last through October. It's important to start the research and inquiry process now so that you are prepared for any set testing dates or assessment periods later in the winter. At Apollo Academy, we encourage you to complete your research on the Acton approach and schedule a call if you think Apollo might be a good fit for your family. The call is about fifteen minutes and allows you to informally get to know us and ask questions.
2. Application Submission
Although some applications are already open and accepted on a rolling basis, the majority of applications are accepted in November and December. Student records, immunization documentation, birth certificate and teacher recommendations and/or questionnaires are usually required along with an online application. For the public charter schools, a short online application is all that is required. At Apollo Academy, we will invite you to apply after you've completed the intro call. Applications open November 8th and are rolling until the studio is full. Our application takes about 30 minutes to complete and requires that parents thoughtfully answer seven questions that allows us to get to know you better. In addition to the online application, we require a student transcript (if applicable) and one letter of recommendation from a teacher, coach, mentor, etc.
We never include an assessment as part of the admissions process because we think every child is a genius. No matter where their skills are today, the Acton approach provides the advantage for a customized plan that allows every child to start at the right level for them. This ensures that they are building a solid foundation of core skills (reading, writing, math) to succeed. On average, children who attend an Acton affiliate progress 2.5 grades in the first ten months, so even if your child starts below their grade level in August, it's likely they will catch up, and likely surpass, the status quo by the end of the first school year.
Once we receive a completed application, we invite your family to our studio for a collaborative interview to review your submission and discuss any outstanding questions. This is intentionally a two-way process to ensure that we are good fit for each other.
3. Invitation to Enroll
The last step in the process is the notification of acceptance, denial or waitlist. Most South Tampa private schools have limited availability, but they may accept you via a waitlist in the event a spot becomes open. The typical timeframe for private schools to release acceptances in early March and the lottery for charter schools takes place in early January. At Apollo Academy, we will notify your family of our decision within two weeks after your collaborative family interview because we understand that time is of the utmost importance while navigating the admissions process. Because we anticipate most collaborative family interviews taking place in mid-January, we expect to invite families to enroll no later than early February. However, an invitation to enroll in Apollo Academy could be as early as late November.
In the event your child does not get accepted into a private school of your choice, this is still plenty of time to enroll them in the local Hillsborough County public school that aligns with your neighborhood. The local public schools are highly-rated and thousands of children perform well and enjoy attending them.
Check out this resource to help you navigate the South Tampa Elementary Schools' Admissions Process. It's a snapshot of the admissions process for all of the local South Tampa private elementary schools.
At Apollo Academy, we believe children are far more capable than we think. We create an environment that guides children towards becoming engaged, life-long learners. We would love the opportunity to share the exciting education option opening in South Tampa contact us to learn more.
Also, stay up to date on the admissions process this fall by following us on Instagram @ApolloAcademyTampa.