BRANDON — Brandon Academy, a United States Department of Education blue-ribbon school, will open a new high school for the 2015-16 school year. They will start with ninth grade the first year and add a grade each successive year. They plan to offer the International Baccalaureate diploma program for juniors and seniors.
“There has been a tremendous cry for this for many years. People in the Brandon area have few choices for private high schools,” said 47-year-old Robert Rudolph, of Dover, co-owner and head of the school that currently includes grades pre-K3 through eighth grade.
Rudolph’s wife, Tricia Rudolph, 45, is not only the school’s co-owner but has also been working as Brandon Academy’s psychologist. She will become the director of the high school. She has a doctorate degree in school psychology, master’s degrees in school psychology and curriculum and instruction and has a specialist in education (Ed. S.) degree.
“Our high school will continue what we’ve been doing for the past 45 years,” said the soon-to-be director. “We teach an accelerated curriculum to average and above-average students in a safe environment. We design our own curriculum based on the needs of our students and the experience of the faculty and administration.”
The school, accredited by the Florida Council of Independent Schools, offers enrichment programs such as art, music and sports. It is not affiliated with any religion and does not follow Common Core standards or participate in state-mandated testing, said Tricia Rudolph. Students are assessed via the Stanford Achievement Test and compared to national norms.
“We do what we believe is best for our population,” she said. “In 2010, partly because students performed so well on the test — in the top 10 percent of private schools in the United States — we were awarded the Blue Ribbon designation.”
Current middle-school tuition is about $9,000 per student per year, and the estimated high-school tuition may be about $11,000. Step Up For Students and McKay scholarships are accepted.
Two of the Rudolphs’ three children attend Brandon Academy and the third is a high school junior at Carrollwood Day School.
“We’ve learned a lot as parents of a child in high school,” said Tricia Rudolph. “We can do this, do it our way and provide a convenient option for Brandon-area families.”
“In 2005, we became the owners and operators of Brandon Academy,” she said. “Adding a high school is an exciting challenge. I couldn’t be more excited and motivated about our future.”
An open house for interested families will take place from 9 to 10 a.m. Nov. 6 at Brandon Academy, 801 Limona Road.
Visit www.brandon -academy.com or call (813) 689-1952 for details.
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