Free private high school empowers at-risk students

Relationships matter to SailFuture, and they take the time to build them. SailFuture Academy has limited space still available for the 2021-22 school year. Classes begin Sept. 7.

ST. PETERSBURG – Designed to immediately bridge the gap between graduation and the real world, SailFuture Academy is a tuition-free private school for students who qualify through Step Up For Students or other Florida Department of Education scholarships such as McKay Scholarships, Family Empowerment Scholarships and Hope Scholarships.

Committed to placing 100 percent of graduates into college or a living-wage career, SailFuture Academy’s mission is to empower at-risk students to achieve economic freedom and social mobility through an equitable and exceptional school experience.

Through sailing, construction, and culinary arts, SailFuture Academy students apply their education to everyday life. It is here where students learn how to be problem solvers, use their voice, and be entrepreneurs.

Lessons about wiring and hydraulics are put into practice as a student evaluates a boat engine.

Small class sizes enable educators to know their students and completely support their families in and out of the classroom. In the eyes of SailFuture Academy, it is about preparing students for where they are going, not where they have been.

The ninth and 10th-grade curriculum aims to provide a foundational understanding across a wide range of concepts, regardless of the student’s level when they enter SailFuture Academy’s doors. Hands-on projects that utilize learned fundamental STEM, civics, language arts, and business skills allow students to apply their knowledge to real-world challenges that expose them to various career paths.

It is undeniable, the original curriculum written by and for SailFuture Academy better prepares students for the realities of adulthood.

Projects and business proposals take the place of multiple-choice questions and memorizing information. In SailFuture classrooms, long gone are the days of “when am I going to use this?” and “why do I need to learn it?”

SailFuture doesn’t just teach the what; they teach the why. Rather than completing worksheets and handouts, students create websites, navigate local waterways, and pitch business ideas to peers and community members alike.

In the 11th grade, students transition from full-time classroom instruction to a blend of academic coursework and internship placement in one of the three student-led businesses: the SailFuture Kitchen, the SailFuture Construction Team, and/or the SailFuture Maritime programThis allows students to put their skills and interests into direct practice under the guidance and supervision of SailFuture staff.

​​In the 12th grade year, students are placed in paid apprenticeships with outside business partners. The 12th-grade year also includes ELA, STEM, business, financial literacy, and life skills classes explicitly designed to prepare students for their transition into adulthood.

Upon graduation, SailFuture Academy graduates will have completed 1,000 hours of vocational training, a paid on-site internship (11th grade), and a paid off-site apprenticeship program (12th grade). Students will also possess a standard Florida high school diploma, a comprehensive digital portfolio showcasing their knowledge, acquired skills, and certifications, and, perhaps most significantly, a head start on achieving financial freedom.

SailFuture Academy has limited space still available for the 2021-22 school year. Classes begin Sept. 7.  To learn more about SailFuture Academy and how it can improve your child’s future, please call or text the head of the school, Lindsay Danielson Rapuano, at (727) 209-7846 or visit

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