Before you enroll your child in at Pathlight Preparatory, it’s important to review the comprehensive Florida State regulations pertaining to Florida private schools. You want to make sure that your child is receiving an effrctive and excellent education. Verifying that you’ve selected a high-quality and compliant school can provide reassurance that your child is benefiting from their private school education. In this section of our website, we will discuss several important facts about private school regulation in Florida.
Please Note that every state may have similar or different private school requirements with regards to accreditation, credit transfer, instructional format (models), teacher certification, length of school year/days, record keeping/reports, and health/safety requirements.
Accreditation - Registration - Licensing - Approval:
In the State of Florida, there is no accreditation requirement for private schools. Accreditation is optional, but schools that opt to pursue the accreditation process anyway, like Pathlight Preparatory, are openly showcasing their commitment to their students during and after their enrollment. Additionally, there are no licensing or approval requirements. On the other hand, registration with the Florida Department of Education is mandatory for private schools to legally operate in Florida.
Please Note that The Florida Department of Education does not accredit, regulate, approve, or license K-12 private schools. Additionally, the Florida Department of Education does not officially recognize any of the various agencies that accredit private schools. Section 1002.42, Florida Statutes, requires K-12 private schools to register with the department by completing an annual survey each year.
While there are no state certification requirements for private school teachers in Florida, instructors must meet one of the following requirements to teach:
The instructor MUST hold a bachelor’s degree. This degree can be in any field.
The instructor MUST have a minimum of three years teaching experience at public or private schools. Early childhood or daycare employment does not satisfy this requirement.
The instructor MUST have special skills, knowledge, or expertise that allows them to effectively teach curriculum in a specific subject area. For example, a native Spanish speaker who is bilingual may be qualified to teach a Spanish language course.
In addition, the private school must perform a criminal background screening if the potential hire is not a Florida certified educator. They must also review the information provided to them via BEC PASS and the database of disciplinary action and perform a comprehensive employment history check. Please note that the Teacher Certification Database (also known as the Bureau of Educator Certification Partnership Access & Services System -- BEC-PASS) provides information related to an educator's current certification status and employment history data. It’s also worth noting that private schools may require employees to provide a record of their fingerprints to the Department of Law Enforcement.
Length of School Year/Days
Private school attendance must satisfy the mandatory school attendance law, meaning all students are required to attend 180 school days, or 170 school days with an “hourly equivalent” of 180 actual school days. This breaks down to approximately 540 net instructional hours for kindergarten, 720 net instructional hours for grades 1 through 3, and 900 net instruction hours for grades 4 through 12.
All private schools are required to maintain a record of student enrollment and daily attendance. This record should be available for inspection by the local superintendent or attendance assistant at all times. Before a child is admitted to a pre-kindergarten or kindergarten program, the private school must first collect evidence of the child’s age, such as the child’s birth record or certification of baptism.
Furthermore, private schools must submit an Immunization Annual Report of Compliance (Department of Health Form 684) if they enroll either kindergarten or 7th grade students. Private schools must also submit a database survey form with the Florida Department of Education. This form includes the name of the private school, address, phone number, type, administrative officers, enrollment by grade or special group, number of graduates, number of instructional and administrative personnel, number of school days, and other various data points.
Health and Safety Requirements
Your child will spend approximately 6.5 hours at school every day. When you factor in extracurricular activities, clubs, and sports, this number can grow. You want to be certain that your child is safe whenever they are on school grounds. One way to do this is by ensuring that your child’s private school is compliant with all health and safety requirements, including:
Within one year of enrollment, private schools must collect a certification of school-entry health examination unless parents or guardians submit a written statement objecting to this requirement due to religious beliefs.
Before a student can be admitted to a private school, the school must first collect a certification of immunization (Department of Health Form 680) as deemed mandatory by the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. All students must be immunized against poliomyelitis, diphtheria, rubeola, rubella, pertussis, mumps, and tetanus. Private schools are also required to screen for scoliosis. Once again, there are exemptions for students whose parents object on religious grounds.
Private schools featuring a kitchen that prepares and serves their own food are required to comply with the minimum sanitation standards established by the Department of Health.
The chief administrative officer at every private school must submit fingerprints to the state for processing. Fingerprints are also checked to see if the chief administrative officer has a criminal background. Any person that has been convicted of an immoral or nefarious crime is barred from owning or operating a private school. School employees may be subjected to the same process, too.
The Department of Children and Families’ central abuse registry and tracking system must be used to report suspicion of child abuse or neglect.
Do you feel that your child could benefit from a new learning environment?
Our small class sizes, individualized student-centered collaborative approach to education, and close-knit educational community assists our students succeed throughout their time here and beyond.
If you would like to learn more about Pathlight Preparatory, an affordable private school, please give us a call at:
(407) 988 - 7263 to schedule a tour of our campus.