Apollo Academy - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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Apollo Academy

Apollo Academy

Apollo Academy

Individual portfolios versus homework and exams. Socratic and learner-driven approaches in mixed-age classrooms rather than rows of grade-level students memorizing textbooks and lectures. Individualized pace to require mastery of core skills instead of moving at the average of the masses in traditional classroom.

That is what a new private elementary school, Apollo Academy, will offer Greater Tampa Bay’s students since Beth Ann Valavanis brought her vision into town. With her 2-year-old daughter’s education and her family growth in mind, Valavanis will open the school, which is an affiliate of Acton Academy, along W. North A Street in Tampa in August 2022.

Apollo Academy’s learner-driven model offers families an alternative option for school that prioritizes learning to do, be and learn. The outside-the-box philosophy based on research proves that children excel when motivated by their innate curiosity and are empowered to take charge of their learning.

“We don’t admit a student into our school. We enroll a family,” Valavanis said, adding that a student’s school path is an integral part of a household journey. “What drives me is that Apollo Academy will not only change our family’s trajectory, but also have a live-changing impact on other families in Tampa who believe there is a better way to educate our children.”

Students showcase their work through portfolios and expeditions every three to six weeks for parents and community members. Whether it is putting on a play, proposing a business plan or leading a family murder mystery, students are learning throughout the process and doing it all on their own.

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“It’s amazing what will happen when you really believe children are far more capable than you think,” Valavanis said.

By Angela Underwood

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