Tampa Bay International School is an innovative Spanish immersion school that promotes bilingualism in Spanish and English through an international curriculum rich in arts and culture and a progressive, pluralistic program of Jewish education open to students of all backgrounds. Our small, independent school prioritizes the teaching of social justice — tzedakah and tikkun olam; the promotion of peace — shalom; and the protection of our planet – shmirat ha adamah. With instruction held primarily outdoors, our school draws on the educational philosophies of both Montessori and Reggio Emilia. Our low numbers of students allow us to provide instruction that is highly individualized, differentiated, and student-driven.
OUR INNOVATIVE PROGRAM
Our small school consists of children from grades K-5 who frequently participate in lessons and activities together. Younger children learn a great deal from older students. Discourse in their classes is elevated as more advanced vocabulary and language is used. Younger students learn to utilize more complex problem solving and critical thinking skills by participating in lessons along with their older classmates. Older students learn skills and academic content more deeply by teaching others. Their self-esteem is elevated as they serve as mentors and guides. Close relationships form across age-levels, much as they do within a family.
Our small school enables us to differentiate instruction effectively. Our guided reading and math groups consist of as few as just two or three students and typically not more than five members. These groupings are ability-based; they are not created just because a student is currently a certain age or in a certain grade. A younger student who is an advanced reader, for example, is able to participate in reading groups with children who are older and who are reading content that is more advanced. A child who is ready to be challenged mathematically can work with a curriculum of a higher grade level, alongside students of similar ability levels.
We use two nationally recognized, highly challenging curricula: EL Education and Eureka Math. These standards-based curricula serve as our guides to aid us in the development of much of our students’ learning and are used to help us assess our students’ level of understanding. They are curricula that promote critical thinking, problem solving, and curiosity about our world.
Music, drama, and all forms of artistic expression are highly engaging, natural vehicles for language learning. The arts provide students with important therapeutic outlets and permit children to display their creativity, explore their passions, and speak out for what they believe in. The arts are taught both independently and integrated into academic instruction. They are incorporated into our literacy blocks, our explorations of social studies, and sometimes even math and science. They are a vital part of our program. We look forward to enhancing our arts instruction as our school grows.
Educating the Whole Child
We prioritize the social, emotional, and physical health of each student. We begin each school day with a morning meeting in which we work to build a sense of community and address the social needs of our students. Two days a week we offer yoga instruction and at other times throughout the week we practice mindfulness and meditation exercises. We ease into our day rather than beginning full throttle with academics. In the long run, putting the well-being and mental health of children first improves their academic performance.
OUR GLOBAL APPROACH
Our international school explores peoples and cultures worldwide, especially those commonly left out of history books and curricula in the United States. Tampa Bay International School emphasizes the cultivation of a global mindset that acknowledges multiple perspectives of complex issues, an appreciation of our world’s rich diversity, and a commitment to working to solve the social, economic, and environmental problems that we all face on our shared planet.
HELP FUND OUR SCHOOL Tampa Bay International School is a registered 501 c 3 non-profit organization.
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