Which Students Do Well in a Private School Setting?

When deciding which school setting is right for their child, parents have a difficult choice to make: should my child attend a private or public school? Many parents struggle to decide which setting would foster the most growth within their child. They think, a private school has many benefits, but will MY child benefit from them? Below, we discuss which students do well at private schools in Clearwater, FL, to help parents make the right choice for their child’s future. 


Students That Are Falling Behind

It’s no secret that students are getting lost in the shuffle of public school. Large class sizes, overburdened teachers, and an overwhelming population cannot possibly facilitate the growth of each and every student. Private schools consider your child as more than a single test score to be administered at the end of the course. For example, At Lakeside Christian Elementary School, we use individual student data to inform daily instruction, eliminate academic gaps, and ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed. 


Shy and Quiet Students 

Students in public schools are at risk of falling behind socially as well as academically. Public school students aren’t developing the social skills needed to succeed in college and beyond. How can they when the average city’s public school size is well over 500 students? If your child is quiet or shy, there’s nothing wrong with them; they just need the attention that only a private education can afford. Our dedicated team of professional educators can ensure that your child finds their voice and confidence in a world that increasingly demands both from graduating students. 


Athletic Students

If you think that private schools in Clearwater, FL, can’t compete with public school students when it comes to athletics, think again. Athletics are an important opportunity to teach life lessons and instill values that will stay with students for the rest of their lives. At Lakeside Christian School, we offer a variety of sports for all grade ranges. We also hold athletic membership with the Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) and the Sunshine Athletic Conference. As one of the best private schools in Clearwater, FL, we offer the following sports:



Cross Country

Coed Soccer





Coed Baseball






Coed Flag Football

Coed Volleyball

Coed Basketball


All Students

With small class sizes, a focus on research-based best practices, and a slew of athletic offerings, private schools in Clearwater, FL, can help bring out the bright young learner that is within every child. Let it be known that all students can succeed in a private school setting. 

At Lakeside Christian School, we serve grades K-12 and welcome students from all backgrounds. If you have a student that you believe would thrive in a private school setting, schedule a tour and see why Lakeside Christian School is one of the best private schools in Clearwater, FL.


If you would like to learn more about Lakeside Christian School, one of the best private schools in Clearwater, FL, please give us a call at (727) 239-7808 or schedule a tour of our campus.

Everything Parents Should Know About the State Regulations for Florida Private Schools Part 2

As a parent, putting your child on the path to success starts with their enrollment in a private school that supports Step Up For Students in Clearwater, FL. Step Up For Students empowers parents to choose the best education setting for their child. Participating schools are required to be in good standing with the state Department of Education. They must also maintain full compliance with the scholarship statute and all state regulations.

In part one of this two-part series, we discussed the state regulations that all private schools must abide by. Now, we will cover additional considerations pertaining to recordkeeping, reports, and health and safety requirements. As one of the Step Up For Students participating schools in Clearwater, FL, that adheres to all state regulations, we believe that all parents should be cognizant of this information so that they can play the role of compliance officer to ensure their child is in a professionally regulated educational setting that gives their child the opportunity to maximize their potential.



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? Lakeside Christian School is one of the top Step Up For Students participating schools Clearwater, FL. Our small class sizes, individualized approach to education, and close-knit educational community helps our students succeed throughout their time here and beyond. 


If you would like to learn more about Lakeside Christian School, an affordable private school that accepts Step Up For Students in Clearwater, FL, please give us a call at (727) 239-7808 or schedule a tour of our campus.

Everything Parents Should Know About the State Regulations for Florida Private Schools Part 1

Before you enroll your child in a Clearwater, FL, Christian school, it’s important to review the comprehensive state regulations pertaining to Florida private schools. You want to make sure that your child is receiving the best education possible, especially if your child is the recipient of a state-approved nonprofit scholarship from Step Up For Students

Verifying that you’ve selected a high-quality and compliant school can provide reassurance that your child is benefiting from their private education. In this two-part article, we will discuss several important facts about private school regulation in Florida.



In the State of Florida, there is no accreditation requirement for private schools. Accreditation is optional, but schools that opt to pursue accreditation anyway, like Lakeside Christian School, 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 Department of Education is mandatory for private schools to legally operate in Florida. 


Teacher Certification

While there are no state certification requirements for private school teachers in Florida, instructors must meet one of the following requirements to teach:

  1. The instructor possesses a bachelor’s degree. This degree can be in any field.
  2. The instructor has a minimum of three years teaching experience at public or private schools. Early childhood or daycare employment does not satisfy this requirement.
  3. The instructor has 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. 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.

To learn more about the state regulations for Florida private schools, including Christian schools in Clearwater, FL, read part two.


If you would like to learn more about Lakeside Christian School, a Clearwater, FL, Christian school, please give us a call at (727) 239-7808 or schedule a tour of our campus.

What I Learned on My Kindergarten Tour: A Guest Post

I can hardly believe it even as I type it, but my oldest child will be attending kindergarten in the fall. Like any parent, I want a secure school with caring teachers, safe classrooms, good discipline, and an environment that will encourage my daughter to grow emotionally, socially, and academically. Living in Pinellas County, we have many options. There are public schools (they don’t rate very highly, and recently some “A” schools fell to “C” status… so that’s not for us). There are charter schools (while many are good schools, they aren’t required to meet all the standards public schools do, and I’m not comfortable with that). There are private schools (some aren’t accredited, meaning their teachers aren’t required to have degrees, for one thing- I don’t like that; the other problem is they are MUCH too expensive for our budget). I had done my research and I knew what was important for us:

  1. A private school that teaches biblical principles, that hires believing educators. This is the kind of environment for my child. No school can control what the students inside believe and therefore how they behave, but they CAN control what is taught and how situations are handled. I want a school that handles issues biblically. I don’t need to shelter my child from the world. She’s growing up in it and and I want her to know how to handle whatever she may encounter in a godly way. Christian educators who teach God’s Word is the best way to do that outside the home, in my opinion.
  2. An accredited school that is held to high standards on all fronts. I don’t want any balls dropped- safety, standards, education, qualifications, etc. This is important to me, as I don’t want my child receiving a sub-par education and not realizing it until it really matters, like applying to colleges and not being prepared.
  3. A classroom that will propel my daughter forward, regardless of the other levels of ability in the class. My daughter is bright and needs to be challenged. I don’t want her held back by those in her class who are struggling to stay afloat, but I also think the diversity of abilities is good for her to experience. I’d like a school that can push her ahead without putting her in a class only for the advanced.

With these points in mind, we took a tour of Lakeside Christian School. This school has been open since 1975, located in the heart of Clearwater, though well- hidden behind Lakeside Community Chapel, on Sunset Point Road. It’s safely tucked on the back of the property, and while the facilities aren’t brand new or fancy, they are clean, bright, and cheery. Walking the halls, I heard little, as classes were in progress and quietly staying on task. As I spoke in the hallway with the Administrator, Jim Jensen, two small children headed to the office from the playground. One had his hand gently on the other’s back as he helped his injured friend  get some ice. I was struck by the kindness in that act, for such small children.

Mr. Jensen first had us sit down in his office and allowed my husband and myself to ask any and all questions we had. We had many! Here are the key points of what we discussed:

  • class size is 15-16 in kindergarten, with one teacher.
  • unique to the school is their 3-tiered lesson system: whole group lessons, then small group lessons, and finally individualized lessons. The students are tested every couple of weeks, and the data targets the small group lessons to either bring the student to grade level, push them above grade level, or beyond. The individualized lessons use intuitive adaptive software technology to deliver unique responses to what they haven’t learned yet. Each lesson is different, like a fingerprint. I found this to be fascinating. This allows children in a wide range of abilities to learn the same concepts at their own level, and pushes them forward. The data from this system was impressive to me. Coming into their grade level, about 50% test on grade level, while 50% have forgotten a lot of information over the summer. By the end of the year, 85% are at or above grade level! This is done for reading and math.
  • The children are allowed to move often in the classroom and aren’t expected to sit still all day. They get a half hour of outside recess.
  • Weekly art projects are integrated into either Bible or social studies lessons.
  • The curriculum (Lead 21 for language arts and Math in Focus for math- the US version of Singapore Math, which is the #1 curriculum in the world) is impressive. The LA curriculum integrates science and social studies, critical thinking and writing. It teaches them to apply what they learn, and the books are broken down into four differentiated readers for four different ability levels. This allows for equity in the classroom: all the students, regardless of ability, is able to access the same materials and grow to the same reading ability. The software used is MindPlay. Math is taught at a visual, conceptual level for kindergarten. Starting in 3rd grade there is a writing software as well.
  • Bible is taught four days a week and one day is chapel. The curriculum was written by two pastors’ wives, and all the staff are believers, and teach biblical principles and integration in their lessons.
  • They are accredited!
  • The discipline system is common: the colored plate system. It’s visual and built around self-regulation, which helps students choose what is right. There are only three rules to follow, and when broken, the teacher will move their clip for the verbal warning, written warning, and refocus time. They start all over after lunch, which is good for littles who are trying so hard to control themselves (certainly not MY child!).
  • The teacher sends home a weekly newsletter along with a packet a work packet and schedule for the upcoming week, and possible individual notes for each child.
  • Sports are offered for kindergarten students! There are five per year, and it’s only $25/sport.
  • The school appears to be safe and secure. The classroom was quiet and under control when we visited, with students actively working on a project while individuals met with the teacher. It looked like a great learning environment.

I was impressed with what I learned and what I saw. I left feeling that my daughter could thrive at Lakeside Christian School, and all my important points were met. I should also add that while most private schools in the area are far outside our price range, Mr. Jensen was willing to work with our budget and help us find a way to afford to send our daughter. Scholarships are available, and we will be applying through Step Up for Students.

If your important points looks similar to mine, I suggest you take a personal tour with Mr. Jensen as well. Call him soon– enrollment has begun! I think you’ll find that this hidden away school might just be a perfect fit for your kindergarten student!

In Memory of Our Friend, Joseph Smith

We will miss Joseph Smith. He was a wonderful husband, father, brother, teacher, and was a Christ-like example to all he met. In his life and his death, Joseph honored Jesus.

Joseph knew long before he found out about his cancer that he was called to die daily to self (1 Cor 15:31; Luke 9:23). Because he treasured Christ above all else, he knew his treasure was in heaven and that one day he would receive the greatest gain above all this life can offer.

We appreciate that he gave up his few years of retirement to serve at Lakeside Christian School. We will miss his many jokes, too.  Anyone Joseph found at LCS wearing the color orange would certainly hear him say, “well, orange you fabulous.” There were a 100 more like that one flowing constantly from his great sense of humor.

A memorial service for Joseph will be held at Lakeside Community Chapel on Feb 18th at 2 PM. All of his friends are invited.

— Jim Jensen


Meet Our Friends, the Rokoszes

Lakeside Christian School benefits from the time and talents of ROKOSZ Media Studios. They are responsible for most of the interesting, fun, and well-crafted videos on our Facebook page! We wanted to take a moment to highlight their business. Maybe your small business could benefit too!

In their words, “ROKOSZ Studios provides multimedia, marketing, and production solutions to small businesses. That means we create compelling videos for companies to use on Facebook.”

ROKOSZ Studios is a husband-and-wife team. Chris and Carrie began their business venture when Rokosz Media Entertainment, Inc. was founded in 2005. They decided to give up their careers in broadcasting and management, and started their business in a closet, producing commercials, DVDs, and videos for websites. In 2007, they began producing “how-to” videos that they posted to the Internet. Over time, they produced more than 40,000 “how-to” videos for brands including Home Depot, Turbo-Tax, and Tyra Banks. 2012 was the year the Rokoszes created the Pocket Producer System. This is a system of production and training that allows anyone with an iPhone to create high-quality videos. Finally, in 2015, they created Constant Content, a Facebook marketing solution that allows businesses to market themselves effectively on Facebook. This particularly is what LCS benefits from.

Quite a journey. All the while, Carrie and Chris continue in their life and business partnership. When asked how they maintain their marriage while working together, they replied, “The key to making them both work is communication, shared values, and vision.” Their business is important to them, but their family is too. Somehow, they find balance. How? “The answer is priorities and values; once they are set firmly in place one cannot help but to find balance.”

Chris and Carrie ooze passion for their craft. Nowhere is this more evident than their Pocket Producer System. Instead of continuing to charge for quality videos, they instead train small businesses how to produce for themselves- business that could otherwise never afford standard video production services. They want to show these owners the power that video can offer their small business! That kind of dedication is admirable. They continue to benefit local businesses through Constant Content. This service, in their words, helps businesses “know what to post when they don’t know what to post.” They help people translate their product or service into the language of Facebook. In order to provide this for their clients, Chris and Carrie constantly keep their work fresh through keeping their minds fresh. They’re always abreast of the most current information and techniques in their industry.

And if you’re an entrepreneur such as the Rokoszes, they have a bit of advice for you: “The three most important areas for any entrepreneur to focus on are: people, product, and process. Hire and work with the best people, deliver a first class product, and have a well-defined process.”

We hope you got to know Chris and Carrie a bit better. Maybe you’ll consider their services for you business. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to take a leap like they did and become your own boss. Regardless, we have to nod our heads in agreement with a bit of parting wisdom from the Chris and Carrie Rokosz of ROKOSZ Studios: “Understanding our values and planning our lives with those priorities in mind has led us to happiness in life and business.”
Find the Rokoszes and “like” them on Facebook, here.


Can You Afford a Private Christian Education For Your Child?

The primary reason parents do not place their children in private school is the sticker shock. Most parents will scoff at the price and never take another step in that direction, for fear that it is completely unattainable.

At some schools, that may be the case. Not at Lakeside Christian School.

Take a look at this checklist. If you can check off most of these things, you should look into LCS:

  1. You live in the greater Clearwater area.
  2. You desire an excellent education for your child.
  3. You either need your child to catch up to grade level or need to see how far ahead you can encourage your child.
  4. You are looking for a safe and secure learning environment.
  5. You want qualified educators using best practice instruction in your child’s classroom.
  6. You desire (or at the very least aren’t opposed to) your child’s classes taught from a biblical worldview.

Obviously a private Christian education such as this will be more expensive than public school or charter school. But like most things, you get what you pay for. It is absolutely worth it to invest in a private education for your child.

You really should see it as an investment. When you invest in an education like the one your child could receive at LCS, it will pay off with a child who graduates ready for college and career with a wealth of knowledge and, Lord willing, a solid biblical backbone to prepare them for real life.

But what if it’s an investment you just can’t afford?

Then you haven’t spoken with LCS yet.

Here are some quick details:

  1. FACTS financial aid provides us with detailed information that helps LCS offer a scholarship that reduces our regular tuition.
  2. Step Up for Students scholarships provides massive assistance. At this point in the year, they have closed new applications, but we can offer tuition that works for the year, then you can apply for Step Up for Students next year.
  3. At LCS, we are able to meet individual needs 9 out of 10 times, and make tuition work for each family.

A private education is well within your reach when you consider Lakeside Christian School. You don’t have to settle for less than the best when it comes to your child’s education.

Call Lakeside Christian School today to schedule a free tour!


LCS Fine Arts Quick Facts

Perhaps you’ve heard about Lakeside Christian School’s academic program, safe environment, and biblical backbone. You may have even read the quick facts about our athletics. But how much do you know about our fine arts program? Read about it below, in ten quick facts!

1) After years of success in the early 2000’s, followed by a hiatus, the LCS chorus returned three years ago. In those three years, the group has grown from 7 to 18 students and has received an Excellence award at the ACSI chorus festival each of the past three years.

2) The LCS Drama department produces three productions each year including a set of student-directed plays, a fall play and a spring play. Currently, 31 students participate in high school drama and are working on a spring musical: “Bridge to Terabithia.”
3) Visual Technology allows students to learn how to film, edit, and produce videos on Apple iPads. Students have created commercials, music videos, and a variety of other video projects.
4) LCS Alumna Beca Donovan (2012) is currently working on a number of different acting projects. Most recently she starred in the short film “Don’t Look Away.” She was nominated “for best actress in a short film” for the International Christian Film Festival.
5) The drama department performed Shakespeare for the first time last Spring with their performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The play was a huge success and performed to nearly a sold out run of performances.
6) LCS elementary students have been learning the elements of music throughout their years in elementary. Students are learning music elements according to the Florida Music Educators Association standards.
7) Lakeside has offered studio art in the past. In the stairwell at the school, there is a mural that was created by the art class. This is a large-scale reproduction of a smaller painting, painted by a former student who passed away suddenly in 2014. The mural was painted in her honor.
8) The drama class at Lakeside took a trip last summer to New York City to experience theater on Broadway. Students took in two shows, saw all the sights, and participated in a workshop with Broadway actors. Some of our students were even seen in the audience on “The Today Show!”
9) Each year, the elementary students perform two large programs for their parents. This involves memorizing lines, motions, and songs to be performed at Lakeside Community Chapel, on the large stage.
10) LCS offers the opportunity for those who play guitar, piano, bass, or sing, as well as show a relationship with Jesus Christ, an opportunity to help lead worship during our weekly chapels. These musicians are chosen from the student body and are in charge of the music for each week of chapel.
If you’d like to learn more about Lakeside Christian School, please check out the rest of our website and book a free tour today!
Thanks to our Chorus and Drama teacher, Dan Thayer, for the information!

LCS Athletics Quick Facts

We’ve already established Lakeside’s excellent academics and biblical foundation. You may want to know about some of our extracurricular activities. Here are ten quick facts about LCS athletics:

  1. Lakeside’s varsity football team has made the FCAPPS state championship game four out of the last eight years.
  2. Lakeside offers 24 sports teams for elementary, middle, and high school students.
  3. Lakeside currently has six graduates playing college athletics.
  4. 64% of  students participate in Lakeside Athletics.
  5. There are six former Lakeside basketball players that have scored over 1,000 points during their high school careers at Lakeside.
  6. From 1979 – 1985, the Lakeside boys soccer team won the Suncoast Christian Conference State Championship.
  7. Since 2008, two Lakeside Football players have been awarded the FCAPPS league MVP.
  8. In the last eight years, Lakeside has added six elementary sports teams: four middle school sports teams, and four varsity sports teams.
  9. Next school year (2016-2017), Lakeside will add elementary soccer, baseball, flag football, volleyball, and basketball for kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students.
  10. Lakeside is a part of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) and the Florida Christian Association of Private and Parochial School (FCAPPS).

Lakeside Christian School has a talented and caring coaching staff that builds healthy relationships with the students while encouraging them to do their best, always for God’s glory. If your child enjoys athletics, consider booking a tour with LCS today and find out more about their athletic program!

Special thanks to our Athletic Director, James Coffman, for the information!


Safe and Secure Learning Environment

The final focus in our list of things on which Lakeside Christian School focuses is a safe and secure learning environment. This is one of the most fundamental needs of any school. With excellent educators, cutting edge technology, and superior curriculum, a school has the makings for greatness. But without a safe and secure learning environment, it’s all meaningless.


For a learning environment to be safe and secure, it must be acknowledged that physical and emotional threats to students do not come from only the outside. Inside the walls of any school exist bullies and those who would try to harm their fellow students. Beyond that, every school has students with special needs- educational, physical, and spiritual. At Lakeside Christian School, it is our privilege to ensure the safety of every student from outside forces, inside threats, and to create an environment that can help each child succeed.


Lakeside Christian School’s facility is entirely fire-safe, and has procedures in place for internal and external threats. All staff are well-versed in these procedures, and the students are aware of them as well. Drills are practiced throughout the year to ensure the procedures run smoothly. Additionally, Lakeside Christian School does not tolerate bullying. The school-wide discipline system, trusted student-teacher relationships, and in-school suspension program (which instantly separates the instigator from the victim) work together to combat bullying in our midst.


We also have educators with experience in teaching students with specific classroom needs. We do not have special education classes, so all of our students learn in the same environment. Teachers work to meet each individual student at their level, without singling anyone out. Students can feel free to be themselves in an environment that will allow the to grow and thrive.


In addition to all these, Lakeside Christian School’s focus on the Word of God as our foundation means that our staff not only educate our students about the love of Christ; they also model it. Every student is loved, because we believe every student to be valuable and important. We expect students to treat each other in the same way.


Each of these elements work together to create a safe and secure learning environment that suits our students. Parents, at that morning drop-off, feel confident knowing your child is in a place that will keep them safe and give them space to learn and grow. For more information and to book a free tour, please call Lakeside Christian School today!


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