Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brandon Academy named one of nation's top 50 private schools

BRANDON — Ask Robert Rudolph about his state of mind, and he confesses that his head still spins.

In September, Rudolph learned his school, Brandon Academy, is one of the top 50 private schools in the nation. The academy, where Rudolph serves as head of schools, earned the distinction after Arne Duncan, the U.S. secretary of education, named it a National Blue Ribbon School.

Representatives from the schools — 254 public and 50 private — will travel to an awards ceremony Nov. 15-16 in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the honor. In the past 28 years, more than 6,000 of America's schools have received this award.

The last time a Hillsborough County school received the designation was in 2008 when Bevis Elementary School in FishHawk Ranch won the award.

"It's the highest achievement a school can receive," Rudolph said. "The kids are very excited."

On a recent visit to the campus, several students sported T-shirts proclaiming the school's blue-ribbon status. Congratulatory banners hang around the school grounds.

"I think it's wonderful news," said Michelle Ayers, the school's parent-teacher organization president. Ayers' three sons, twin 8-year-olds and a 10-year-old, have been attending Brandon Academy since preschool. "It's a credit to the teachers who are responsible for helping the kids achieve this goal."

Duncan's announcement didn't come as a surprise to Rudolph and his staff, who oversee 227 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade. He learned in January that Brandon Academy was among the 50 private schools nationwide nominated by the Council for American Private Education to receive the award.

As word of the award spread throughout the community, the school experienced a 12 percent increase in enrollment this year, despite a dour economy, Rudolph said.

Private schools that receive the award must score in the top 10 percent on standardized testing for five consecutive years. They also must offer "extraordinary educational opportunities," Rudolph said.

"In our case, we offer cutting-edge technology such as the Smart Board, an interactive computer system," Rudolph said. "And we offer field trips to places like Spain, Greece, Gettysburg and the Florida Keys."

The criteria are different for public schools. They need to be ranked among the state's highest performing schools, as measured by performance on state assessments, or they need to be schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that improve student performance on state assessments or nationally normed tests.

Brandon Academy was one of three private schools in the state to earn the honor this year. The other schools are: Christ the King Catholic School in Jacksonville and St. Cecelia Interparochial School in Clearwater. Public schools earning the honor were: Avalon Elementary School in Orlando, Mater Academy East Charter School in Miami, Ocean Breeze Elementary School in Indian Harbour Beach and Virginia Shuman Young Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale.

D'Ann White can be reached at hillsnews@sptimes.com.

Brandon Academy named one of nation's top 50 private schools 09/30/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 30, 2010 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84

    Nation

    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General

    Crime

    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  5. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest

    Nation

    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.