Open enrollment at The Island School wrapping up next week

March 20, 2015
By BBadmin7502

TIS-_school_logo_copyBY MARCY SHORTUSE – Next week marks the end of open enrollment at The Island School for the next school year and, at this time, 57 applications have been received. According to Head of School Jean Thompson, those are great numbers for the island’s little school, as the maximum number of students is 60.  “March 27 is the last day of open enrollment,” Thompson said. “After that we will take a look at the total number applications we have received. If there are more than 60 we will have our first lottery/waiting list in more than 5 years.”

This year there are 39 families with 51 children enrolled at The Island School. With students coming from on and off-island, the tuition-free charter school is becoming very popular.

“The Island School has provided our children with a loving, encouraging and challenging environment which has allowed them to excel beyond grade level expectations. It says something about a school and its staff when a child’s favorite class is math, not recess,” said one TIS parent.

The Island School is tuition free and receives approximately one-third of the current annual operating budget from Lee County and the State of Florida. Another third of the budgeted costs comes from parental support, an Annual Fund campaign and special fundraising events. The final third of the operating budget is provided by The Island School Foundation Endowment Fund.

The Island School Foundation was established in 2009 to provide for an endowment fund to insure the school’s financial stability. An initial fundraising campaign successfully raised nearly $4,000,000 from community supporters. Since the endowment fund was established, the needs of the school have grown.

During the past several years instructional expenses, primarily teaching salaries, have been increased in order to attract and retain the best teaching faculty available.

The School has recently integrated an essential technology program into the curriculum that will require previously unbudgeted ongoing training, support and maintenance.

Also, in 2013, The Island School absorbed the After-School Program that is critical to students’ families. Without that program, many children would not be able to enroll at The Island School.

For these reasons, the Foundation has set a goal of raising an additional $3,000,000 in endowment funds to secure the school’s future.

Along with their regular classwork, Island School students also participate in art, Spanish, music and physical education classes every week. They also have special presentations and classes throughout the year, and are taught everything from manners and table etiquette to fine art history. Many of those special presentations are created and taught by island residents.

“Each year the school looks a little bit different,” Thompson explained. “We look at our students’ needs, as well as their strengths and abilities, then determine how to serve each student best. One thing that stays the same here, though, is the feeling of community that we are so lucky to have. That’s what makes our school, and Boca Grande, so special.”

For more information about The Island School or open enrollment, call 964-8016.