To inspire and empower students qualifying for need-based scholarships to become future community leaders through a rigorous middle school program coupled with ongoing graduate support.


Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg will be a Beacon of Excellence by guiding all students to: achieve academic excellence from middle school through college; foster personal integrity and commit to a lifelong service to their communities.

In our Tampa Bay community, many remarkable young people dream of a real opportunity for success and fulfillment. These children are talented, creative, and have the will to transform their lives – lives that will in turn transform our community. However, these kids live in some of the more impoverished areas of St. Petersburg. Most live in single-parent households and know few people who have graduated from college. Many of their families live day to day struggling to make ends meet. These tenacious youngsters live among us – just down the road.

In our own back yard, Academy Prep provides one of the most unique education programs in Florida. We are more than a middle school. At the core of our mission, Academy Prep provides an exemplary, college preparatory middle school education coupled with a wide range of life changing services, while closely supporting graduates all the way through high school, college and into their careers. This combination of strategies helps guide Academy Prep students to a life fulfilled.

Academy Prep is transforming lives in the community, one child at a time. Most Academy Prep graduates enter high school at least two years ahead of grade level in reading and math. Academy Prep graduates attend some of the most prestigious high schools in the area and in the country, including Chatham Hall School, St. Andrew’s School, Florida Air Academy, Berkeley Prep, Admiral Farragut Academy, and Tampa Prep. Additionally, over 91% of Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg students graduate from high school on time, in an area where less than 60% of the adults hold a high school diploma! Students from our first nine graduating classes have gone on to attend and graduate from outstanding universities and colleges throught the country, including: Northwestern University (IL), Howard University (DC), Dickinson College (PA), the University of Florida, Eckerd College, University of Rochester (NY), the University of Central Florida, and Florida A&M University.


Academy Prep Students:

• must be eligible for the free or reduced-price federal school meals program, setting their income near or below the U.S. poverty line.
• attend school up to 11 hours a day, 6 days a week, nearly year round in small classes of no more than 17 boys or 17 girls, with most classes taught by gender.
• receive a full range of academics, including advanced level English, literature, mathematics, science, social studies, writing, art, Spanish, and computer lab.
• participate each day in afternoon enrichment programs including classes and programs in dance, performing arts, karate, chess, various sports, art, guitar, social skills, leadership skills, and drums. The day closes with a mandatory study hall from 5-6 pm.
• take part in required Saturday field trips, community service activities, and an 11th month program in June.
• are served by a variety of corporate and non-profit community partners and individuals with over 5,000 hours of volunteer time – a third of that service completed by our families.
• are closely supported by our Graduate Support Services staff, helping each graduate and his/her family through the opportunities and challenges of high school and college.


The Academy Prep Centers for Education are based upon the Nativity Miguel Network of Schools, a proven academic model for economically disadvantaged children utilized across the country for over 40 years.

Currently, there are two Academy Prep schools – separate not-for-profit private sister schools located in St. Petersburg and Tampa. Academy Prep leaders started the Joan Fortune Campus in St. Petersburg in 1997. Set amongst grand oak trees, the campus is located on 22nd Avenue South in St. Petersburg’s midtown community. In the first three years, the school served only boys. The St. Petersburg campus opened for girls in grade 5 in the summer of 2000. The campus now serves boys and girls in grades 5 through 8.

Encouraged by the Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg’s success, the Academy Prep Center of Tampa opened in 2003. The school is housed in the old V.M. Ybor Grammar School building and also serves boys and girls in grades 5 through 8.

Our Logo:

Academy Prep’s tree logo is designed to bring life to the mission of our program.

  • Long a symbol of solid growth and healthy life, the oak tree in our logo signifies the school. The oak serves as the dominant theme of the logo, invoking images of both the tree of life and the tree of knowledge. As the central element, the oak symbolizes strength of purpose and continuity, both traits that characterize the Academy Prep program. The visible root base of the tree represents the efforts of Academy Prep to “sink its roots” deeply into the community it serves. By being rooted in our community, Academy Prep will become a long-standing symbol of what our community can produce when we work together to nurture our youth.
  • The sun behind the tree is meant to represent the forces in our community that partner with us to nurture, cultivate, and protect our program. Individuals, businesses, and foundations join together with Academy Prep staff, volunteers, and parents to support our most precious asset–our star students.

The sun in the logo is not a sunset, but a sunrise. At Academy Prep, we are optimistic for the future of each of our students, confident in the possibilities each new day brings for growth, achievement, and success. With Academy Prep, our students begin a new life–a life characterized by hope and expectation, cultivated by hard work and personal responsibility, nurtured by supportive adults with high expectations.

  • The star in the tree, ever-present in the “picture” of Academy Prep, represents the individual student. Academy Prep recognizes and celebrates the uniqueness and value of the individual and commits to addressing the needs of each individual student. The star is a fitting symbol of the Academy Prep student, reflecting the majestic heights we expect our students to realize and the dreams they come to develop for their own successes.