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.
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 possesses a bachelor’s degree. This degree can be in any field.
- 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.
- 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.