Academy Prep scholars thrive during the global COVID-19 pandemic

Academy Prep is now enrolling students entering the fifth and sixth grades for the 2021-2022 school year. All are invited to attend the upcoming Virtual Open House this Sunday, Jan. 10, from 3-3:30 p.m. or Tuesday, Jan. 26, from 6-6:30 p.m.

ST. PETERSBURG — It is well known throughout St. Petersburg that the south side community has long endured disadvantages and hardships historically associated with generational poverty, racial injustice and inequitable educational opportunities. Perhaps lesser known is the resilience, perseverance and unity of its residents collectively building a legacy of strength, determination and success for its next generation.

The resolve of south St. Petersburg has been tested this year to an unprecedented degree. No community in the greater Tampa Bay area has been harder hit by COVID-19 than south St. Pete, amplifying significant hardship for many who call this neighborhood home.

Residents here have contracted the virus at rates up to four times higher than residents living in other areas of Pinellas County, with the majority of infections centered in the same neighborhood Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg has served for more than 20 years.

Since its founding in 1997, Academy Prep has worked with the south side community to transform the lives of middle school students by providing a local, private and tuition-free option. As a nonprofit school, Academy Prep aims to inspire and empower students qualifying for need-based scholarships to become future community leaders through a rigorous middle school program coupled with ongoing graduate support.

Taking Swift Action

Earlier this school year, Academy Prep took swift action to protect their students and families during the pandemic by intensely preparing for the shift to virtual learning. As a result, Academy Prep is now serving more students than ever before and experiencing record-high retention rates. Students are continuing to receive the personalized attention and dynamic learning environment that are hallmarks of an Academy Prep education leading to high levels of engagement, consistent attendance, outstanding standardized test results, and positive academic outcomes.

In March of 2020, every school, business, and community faced the uncertainty and fear of the sweeping COVID-19 pandemic. Amid this global crisis and before the effects on south St. Petersburg were fully known, the Academy Prep administration took swift and appropriate action to protect its students and families while intensely preparing for the shift to virtual learning.

The school made significant improvements to their online systems, and through the generosity of the St. Petersburg community, every Academy Prep scholar was provided a Chromebook and a supply pack to enhance their online learning experience.

Chikara Parks, the mother of an Academy Prep graduate and two current students, shared how “Academy Prep wanted to make absolutely sure students and families were safe. However, they didn’t make decisions without listening and considering the opinions of the parents. The teachers, staff, and administrators always do what they have to do to make sure the students are successful and supported. That’s everything to me. I truly admire the outstanding leadership at Academy Prep.”

Now Enrolling

Academy Prep is now enrolling students who will be entering the 5th and 6th grade for the 2021-2022 school year. If you would like to learn more about Academy Prep and how its unique model can transform your child’s future, you are welcome to attend an upcoming Virtual Open House on Sunday, Jan. 10, from 3-3:30 p.m. or Tuesday, Jan. 26, from 6.-6:30 p.m.  Please R.S.V.P. to Admissions and Scholarship Coordinator Anita Reece at (727) 322-0800 ext. 2105 or areece@academyprep.org.

Together, the Academy Prep family persevered through extended virtual learning by maintaining high expectations, increasing communication and enhancing support for the entire school community.

As a result, Academy Prep is now serving more students than ever before and experiencing record-high retention rates. Students continue to receive the personalized attention and dynamic learning environment that are hallmarks of an Academy Prep education, leading to high levels of engagement, consistent attendance, outstanding standardized test results and positive academic outcomes.

Even through a global crisis, Academy Prep’s mission and outstanding results did not and will not falter. Dedicated faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to uphold these standards and support the scholars who have proven they are resilient, driven, and committed.

Academy Prep scholars:

  • Sustained an average of 98 percent attendance throughout the online learning program this school year.
  • Saw increased MAP standardized testing scores in reading and math. Test results show that scholars did not experience learning loss during the pandemic.
  • Showed strong GPA averages compared to previous years.

Under “normal” or pre-pandemic circumstances, Academy Prep may appear to be a typical private middle school. Students wear uniforms and are offered a college preparatory curriculum with value placed on structure, critical thinking, communication and hard work. It’s not until you visit campus and meet the students when you will start to see, and feel, the Academy Prep difference.

Starting from enrollment in the fifth or sixth grade, students attend Academy Prep up to 11 hours a day, six days a week, 11 months a year, on full scholarships provided by individuals, businesses and foundations in the St. Petersburg community. Besides a rigorous academic experience, students are offered a wide variety of exciting and unique experiences through extracurriculars, athletics, weekend field trips and service projects.

Academy Prep students are taught in small, gender-separated classes, facilitating one-on-one support that provides each student with dedicated and individualized attention. Through this intensive nurturing and guidance, Academy Prep aims to help students learn to see education as a way to a bright future and to move students toward a life of success.

Academy Prep’s Graduate Support department closely monitors each student’s progress fostering successful transitions and outcomes. Through this ongoing support, nearly all Academy Prep graduates have earned scholarships to advanced high school programs and have graduated on time.

Also, the majority of Academy Prep graduates have gone on to post-secondary education or have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Academy Prep believes that every child deserves an equitable education, and every child has the potential to become a future leader in their community. The journey begins here.

Academy Prep is now enrolling students who will be entering the fifth and sixth grades for the 2021-2022 school year. If you would like to learn more about Academy Prep and how its unique model can transform your child’s future, you are welcome to attend an upcoming Virtual Open House on Sunday, Jan. 10, from 3-3:30 p.m. or Tuesday, Jan. 26, from 6-6:30 p.m.

Please R.S.V.P. to Admissions and Scholarship Coordinator Anita Reece at (727) 322-0800 ext. 2105 or areece@academyprep.org.

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