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Private School Option

WHAT IS AN UMBRELLA SCHOOL?

An umbrella school is an alternative education school which serves to oversee the homeschooling of children to fulfill government educational requirements. Umbrella schools vary greatly in what they offer and cost. (from Wikipedia)

Essentially, students learning at home are able to meet Florida's compulsory attendance law in one of three ways.

Options

1) Establish a home education program (1002.41) If you choose this option, you may still join SFA's homeschool support group and take a limited number of classes. Start here or here if you wish to home school using this option.

2) Enroll in a private school that offers an off-campus option (1002.01 Definitions) This is the "Private School Option." Such schools are commonly referred to as "umbrella schools," "non-traditional private schools," or "600" schools. The term "600" refers to the Florida Corporation statutes 607,  617, and 623, each a different type of corporation. SFA is a 617 non-profit, with a 501c3 federal tax exemption, registered as a private school with the Florida Department of Education.

3) Establish a Private Tutoring Program. (1002.43)

While all of the above choices provide compliance with Florida’s compulsory attendance laws, each has different implications. Most parents choose either option 1 or 2.  Most differences involve recordkeeping and methods, but the main distinction is whether you want to be accountable to the state or to a private entity. Of course there are many things to consider, including the organization and the requirements of the "umbrella" or "cover" private school you choose to register with. The pros and cons listed below are general. Check with the specific school you are considering for details regarding cost, requirements, benefits, and limitations, etc.

Pros & Cons of a Home Education Program

  • No cost to register.
  • Register by submitting a "Letter of Intent" to your county Superintendent.
  • No curriculum provided.
  • No regulation of curriculum chosen by parents.
  • No health records required.
  • Diploma options include parent-issued or GED.
  • With parent-issued diploma, transcripts will be needed for college admissions.
  • Comply with statutory requirements: 1) Maintain a portfolio of student work and 2) Provide school district with evaluation or testing results annually.
  • Portfolio must be kept current and be available for review upon 15 days written notice.
  • No attendance records required.
  • Students may take standardized tests at local public school.
  • Students may take EOC exams at local public school.
  • Students may register for SAT or ACT online.
  • Students are eligible to apply for Bright Futures Scholarship.
  • Students are not charged for dual enrollment in a Florida state college, but must pay for books.
  • Students may be eligible for Gardiner Scholarship for K-12 students with special needs.
  • Students are eligible to participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities at local public school, or even at some private schools.
  • Students may take classes through Florida Virtual School (FLVS)

Pros & Cons of Private School Enrollment

  • Most private schools charge a fee, which varies widely.
  • Private school portfolio requirements vary, sometimes requiring work samples to be submitted to the school.
  • Parents are accountable to private school not to public school district; however, the school is accountable to state dept. of ed.
  • Health records must be maintained by private schools, including immunization record or waiver.
  • Some private schools require annual evaluation or standardized test results to be submitted and some offer testing or evaluation services.
  • Curriculum usually not included or provided.
  • Curriculum typically selected by parent; however some schools may have certain requirements.
  • Private school transcripts are usually provided.
  • Private school diploma is usually provided.
  • Attendance records must be kept and submitted to private school.
  • Grading requirements vary, and some schools require parents to submit grade reports.
  • Students may take EOC exams at local public school.
  • Students may register for SAT or ACT online.
  • Students are eligible to apply for Bright Futures Scholarship.
  • Students are eligible to dual enroll in many cases, however the private school is charged for classes and the student must pay for books.
  • Students may be eligible for Gardiner Scholarship for K-12 students with special needs. Funds may be used to pay for services from the private school if it participates in the scholarship.
  • Students are eligible to participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities at local public school only if the private school qualifies in size and is not a member of FHSAA. However, they are not eligible to play for a different private school.
  • Students may take classes through Florida Virtual School (FLVS)

Sancta Familia Home Academy Requirements & Options

Sancta Familia charges a nominal fee for record-keeping services, including online reporting of attendance and grades. With the lowest fee, there are also the least requirements and the least services / benefits. Grading options include pass / fail, satisfactory, etc. This option is good for "unschoolers" as well as those enrolled in an out-of-state school, such as Seton.

Sancta Familia has a higher cost option for high school students which includes transcripts and a diploma from SFA. These additional services / benefits add additional requirements as well. For example, letter grades, according to our scale, and work samples are mandatory for all high school credit courses.

Elementary work samples are limited to language arts and math. High school work samples are required for students seeking credit and an SFA transcript, unless the course is provided by FLVS. However, we do recommend you keep a portfolio similar to that which is required by the home education statute.

Sancta Familia's annual evaluation requirements are the same as the state's except that the results are submitted to SFA not the county. We also offer the option of taking standardized tests at our school in the spring when we test our day students.

Curriculum is not provided, and no particular curriculum is required. However, at the high school level, for students seeking a diploma and transcripts, we do have graduation requirements that must be met.

SFA has a recommended course of study for those who are interested in following it.

Private school transcripts and diploma are only provided for students who enroll with this option. (See cost information above.)

Report cards are not provided or required; however reports may be printed out from the online reporting system, and parents are required to list subjects and grades in the system. (See cost information above for grading requirements.)

SFA students are eligible to dual enroll with a college, but only if they are enrolled in our diploma program as transcripts must be provided by the private school. We have current articulation agreements with two Florida state colleges, and are able to make agreements with others, but only for students who pay tuition, in addition to enrollment fees, to Sancta Familia Academy.

Sancta Familia students who receive the Gardiner Scholarship may use it for enrollment, class tuition, tutoring, and other services provided by our school. For Florida scholarships other than Gardiner, see our day school.

SFA students are eligible to participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities at their local public school. The forms required are different from those required for home education students. See the FHSAA website form information.