Our innovative program is centered on language immersion, small, multi-age groupings, differentiated instruction and outdoor learning.
Research points to many cognitive and academic benefits enjoyed by bilinguals. Language immersion is widely regarded as best practice in foreign language instruction, with decades of studies to support its success as the only educational program that leads to bilingualism. Instructional time at our school is divided equally between English and Spanish, with instruction in English one day and instruction in Spanish the next. Additional research can be found on our FAQ page Link to our Spanish Immersion page
Our school consists of children from grades K-7 who frequently participate in lessons and activities together. Younger students have the opportunity to have discourse in their classes elevated as more advanced vocabulary and language is used by their older peers. Our younger students also 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
Multi-age groupings ensure that when we look at one of our students, we don’t see a grade level; we see an individual child with strengths and areas for potential growth. Our job as teachers is to nurture and challenge that individual child appropriately, to fully realize their potential. To achieve this, instruction must be highly personalized and differentiated. The structure of our 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.
Tampa Bay International uses 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.
We believe that children should take ownership of their own education. We allow our students to vote on curriculum topics. We help each student establish individualized learning goals and teach them to monitor their own progress as they work to achieve those goals. We grant students the freedom — and the time — to carry out and present “passion projects” — projects that can take virtually any form and that allow our students to select, research, and bring to fruition a project on a topic of their own interest. And rather than traditional “parent/teacher conferences” we hold family conferences that involve — and are eventually led by — the student.
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. Link to Religious Studies page
The Arts & Music
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 at Tampa Bay International. The arts are incorporated into our literacy blocks, our explorations of social studies, and from time to time even in math and science. While Visual arts and music are a regular part of students’ schedules throughout the year, our students are offered cooking, film making , private violin lessons and other enriching art offerings to complement their studies. Additional research can be found on our FAQ page [link]
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. 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.
Children deserve the chance to play. They learn through play. Language development, problem solving, social skills, and cognitive growth are all enhanced through play. Play also provides children with important physical exercise and at our school, fresh air. Play helps children feel happier. A happy child learns more. It is vital to us that play is a protected time for our students. At Tampa Bay International School, all students have two scheduled recess periods. In elementary school, one recess lasts 30 minutes and another 20 minutes.. In middle school, a mid-day recess lasts 30 minutes and students enjoy a slightly shorter afternoon break. All students have additional opportunities for unstructured play from the time they arrive on campus at 8:15 until school begins at 9 AM.
Tampa Bay International School is primarily an Outdoor School. Instruction frequently takes place beneath the shade of large oak trees, on a spacious field where children have plenty of room to learn and explore. Outdoor education brings numerous benefits — first and foremost, a deeper connection to nature that helps facilitate our many lessons concerning the importance of taking care of our planet. Being constantly outside is also an important component of our school’s strategy to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Students sit at picnic tables they painted with their families; other times, they bring folding beach chairs wherever a lesson might take them, typically to form a guided reading or math group in the shade. Our large outdoor space is the perfect setting for students to simply observe the world around them, as they sometimes do for a science or visual arts lesson, or to work in our herb and vegetable garden. We are truly fortunate to be able to be outside as much as we are.
During the school year, extended care is offered starting at 8:15 am to our 9am start and from our 3:50pm dismissal to 5:30pm each school day for all ages. Interested families should contact the school to formulate a plan that best fits your needs.
After School Clubs
Tampa Bay International Schools offers daily after-school club activities after dismissal from 4:00 to 5:00. Club activities are varied throughout the year and will be announced prior to each session.
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