Every year students are able to attend DCS because of acceptance in a scholarship program. We participate in the following programs so students can get a quality education.
Step Up For Students empowers parents to pursue and engage in the most appropriate learning options for their children, with an emphasis on families who lack the financial resources to access these options. By pursuing this mission, we help public education fulfill the promise of equal opportunity.
Step Up For Students is a state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organization that helps administer two scholarships for Florida schoolchildren: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) for low-income families and the Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) for children with certain special needs.
Public education is rooted in the promise of equal educational opportunity, and nowhere is that covenant more relevant than in the lives of children who live near poverty or for students with certain special needs. A quality education should not be determined by financial means nor disability. Through the scholarships, we empower parents to give their children a chance at a brighter future.
The FTC scholarship program was created to benefit children whose educational options are limited by household income. The scholarships are not tied to the performance of public schools nor the students who receive them. The program is different primarily because it directly targets students with the fewest options available. The latest state-commissioned research determined that students who receive the FTC scholarship are among the lowest-performing in the public schools they leave behind. This means the FTC scholarship is serving the most disadvantaged children in Florida. Our scholarships provide parents a way to help their children find success.
The Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) helps parents individualize the educational plans for their children with certain special needs.
These scholarships are offered as options in the same way that public education is offering an expanding array of choices. One common mistake people make about these scholarships is to view them as an indictment of public schools. However, they are intended to strengthen public education by offering options to struggling schoolchildren. We consider ourselves to be partners with public schools, and often use the tagline – “helping public education fulfill the promise of equal opportunity” – that represents a genuine expression of how we view our role in the larger education system.
McKay Scholarship Program
Florida’s school choice programs ensure that no child will be left behind by allowing parents to choose the best educational setting—public or private—for their child. The McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program provided over 24,000 Florida students with special needs the opportunity to attend a participating private school during the 2011-12 school year. The McKay Scholarships Program also offers parents public school choice. A parent of an eligible special needs student may choose to transfer the student to another public school.
“The school-choice issue is not about public versus private; it’s about choice. It’s about knowing what works well for my family and being able to make that choice for them.” — Parent of a McKay Scholarships Student
VPK stands for the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program. If you live in Florida, and your child turns 4 four years of age by September 1, your child is eligible to participate in Florida’s FREE Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) education program.
Benefits of early education and the VPK program:
- The most important growth and development in the brain happens by the age of five.
- The early years are the learning years. A child’s ability to be attentive and to follow directions emerges in the early years. Structured early learning fosters these abilities for later success in school and in life.
- Pre-K prepares children to be ready for school. Children who participate in high-quality early childhood education programs develop better language skills, score higher in school-readiness tests and have better social skills and fewer behavioral problems once they enter school. They are also better prepared for Kindergarten, especially in the areas of pre-reading, pre-math and social skills.
- Pre-K promotes a love of learning in children. Pre-K enhances what a child learns at home and instills a love of life-long learning
- DCF ID: X07V0005
Contact our office at 386-574-1971 for any questions concerning application or scholarship information. Our office staff is very familiar with these scholarships and can answer most any questions!