CURRICULUM

high school girl helping friend learn math using active learning environment

Courses & Curriculum

There’s a culture of innovation and creativity at Tampa Preparatory School. A willingness by the faculty and administration to try new ideas, think differently, push envelopes–anything that better serves students. We’ve transformed education into the absolute best experience for our students. We’re not afraid to shake things up if it means a better, smarter journey.

That spirit of “what’s best for students” saturates the school, inspires the faculty to be creative in class, and sets the expectation for students that there is always something to be passionate about. The result? Students graduate uniquely prepared to succeed in a world of accelerating change, able to adapt and evolve. And the school keeps moving forward.

We offer 118 courses in 11 subject areas in levels from College Prep to Advanced Placement (AP). Our core curriculum covers the major disciplines (Arts, English, History & Social Sciences, Mathematics, Physical Education, Science and World & Classical Language). But from there, it takes off. Each year, faculty are invited to present new course ideas. Their passions are shared with students through courses such as:

Bioethics
Film Criticism
App Development

The Chemistry of Art
Sports Medicine
Graphic Novels

Engineering Design
Forensic Science
Algebra 3 with Financial Applications

MIDDLE SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS

EXPERIENCES DESIGNED FOR INDEPENDENCE

8th grade boys wearing Harvard hats during class trip to Boston

The Middle School provides an environment in which each student develops a strong academic foundation and a sense of ethical and social responsibility. Capstone projects in each grade, team logic games, field days, class trips to the Florida Keys and Boston, and Terrapin Day–a day of all-school community service–give students multiple opportunities to safely step outside their comfort zones and into what are often considered adult roles of negotiator, manager, developer, strategist, designer, leader and collaborator.  

BUILDING CHARACTER & COMMUNITY

smiling high school students with Tampa Prep spirit

The expectation of kindness, respect, honesty and responsibility is woven into our Honor Code and modeled by all members of the community to build character during these important adolescent years. Students gain understanding about themselves and their abilities, try new things and form lasting friendships. Thanks to small class sizes, the personal relationships developed in classrooms, on the playing fields, and in advising sessions make Tampa Prep a very special place to grow.

PREPARATION FOR TRANSITION

Student looking over teacher's shoulder at laptop

Tampa Prep Upper School students mentor their younger peers through programs such as Peer Counseling, Freshman Transitions and Middle School Leadership Club. The transition from Middle School to Upper School is seamless as students begin to find their unique voices and become confident to address the student body at assemblies and approach adults with original ideas and suggestions.

ACADEMIC & PERSONAL SUPPORT

Boy smiling with book in English class

Small class size and personal mentorship through advising groups fuel student success. Our teachers know each of their students personally both inside and outside the classroom, as most of our faculty also coach athletic teams. Every teacher stays after school for a full hour every day to make him/herself available for extra help for the students who need it. Further, our Academic Support Counselors provide the resources and support necessary to meet our high standards.

UPPER SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS

TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION FOR ALL

Boy and girl wearing virtual reality goggles in Tampa Prep library IDEA lab

Tampa Preparatory School continually redefines technology integration in education in Tampa Bay and beyond. Our one-to-one iPad program is successful because faculty have extensive opportunities to learn the newest educational tech tools. Professional development training facilitated by our Technology Integration Specialist is scheduled throughout the year in the form of full-faculty Tech Checks and informal Play ‘n Learn sessions. Teachers use engaging tools and lead the way in exploration of the newest trends in education like flipped classrooms, project-based learning, design thinking, augmented and virtual reality and artificial intelligence platforms.

PREPARATION FOR LIFE… AS A FRESHMAN

students having a discussion at outdoor picnic table in Tampa Prep atrium

While our students score in the highest percentiles of standardized tests and earn scholarships to prestigious universities, the real measure of success for Tampa Prep students is how well equipped they are to meet the challenges of college and the career of their choosing. Our missions states we are more than just a college prep school, we are a preparation for life. Following the trend of freshmen transition courses at colleges and universities across the country, we have engineered a one-of-a-kind Freshman Transitions curriculum built into our class schedule. Subjects such as time management, ethics and integrity, social relationships, global perspective, executive functioning, exam prep, healthy living (sleep, diet, mindfulness, sex, addiction, technology use), financial literacy, digital citizenship and more. Read more about our Freshman Transitions course.

OPPORTUNITIES TO SHINE

Students sitting in Harkenss circle for English discussion

Our academic program is outstanding at every level and includes Advanced Placement offerings in six subject areas and concentrated studies in the fields of the Arts, Global Studies, Humanities and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). These academic tracks challenge students to become better problem solvers, and dive deeply into a particular area to find out what it really means to become an expert in a field of study. Through concentrations, students can explore creative pursuits, travel the world and impact communities.

FLIPPED CLASSROOM (HARKNESS METHOD)

Students and teacher sitting in Harkness circle for discussion in English class

We believe the best education happens when people from diverse backgrounds and experiences come together and have a conversation. Through the Harkness Method, students study assigned readings at home, followed the next day by vigorous classroom discussions among intellectually and emotionally engaged peers. These discussions allow students to hold each other accountable while also developing perspective, listening skills, empathy and a sense of self. A successful educational journey is not just about being able to recite correct answers. It’s about being able to think about what is being studied in a critical way, developing one’s own voice and learning to express it with confidence.

ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS & CORE CURRICULUM

ARTS

Tampa Prep provides a wide variety of Arts courses in both Middle School and Upper School for diverse student interests, including Visual Arts, Chorus, Theater, Band, String Ensemble, Video Production, Digital Arts, Dance and more. Students may also staff the school newspaper and yearbook where they write, edit and design student publications.

Students can prepare for Advanced Placement exams in Music Theory, Studio Art 2D and Studio Art 3D.

Students with an interest in intensifying their studies in one particular area can complete our Arts Concentration program.

ENGLISH

In English courses, we’ll challenge you to formulate arguments, weigh and select evidence, reason logically and effectively, write a clear narrative, express personal views, use language imaginatively and present all of the above in clear, grammatically-correct prose.

In addition to the sequence of courses, we offer courses in Creative Writing, Film Criticism, English Literature: Renaissance to 20th Century, Poetry in Motion, True Crime Literature, Graphic Novels, Frankenstein and the Modern Vampire, Shakespeare in Depth and more.

Students can prepare for Advanced Placement exams in Language and Composition and Literature and Composition.

Tampa Prep offers an interdisciplinary Humanities Concentration for rising 10th grade students who relish the study of English and History. This academic track includes participation in civic, off-campus educational and service activities combine to create a deeper understanding and greater appreciation of this important field of study.

HISTORY & SOCIAL SCIENCES

Our History & Social Sciences curriculum will expose you to a variety of historical interpretations to foster open-mindedness, respect for opposing points of view and sensitivity to the complexity of the world. We’ll inspire you to think critically, and to articulate your ideas with clarity.

In addition to the sequence of core courses, we offer courses in Humanities, Advanced Research and Rhetoric, Cultural Anthropology, Introduction to Law, World Religions, US Politics: Presidential Elections, and more.

Students can prepare for Advanced Placement exams in World History, United States History, American Government, European History, Economics, and Psychology.

Tampa Prep offers an interdisciplinary Humanities Concentration for rising 10th grade students who relish the study of English and History. This academic track includes participation in civic, off-campus educational and service activities combine to create a deeper understanding and greater appreciation of this important field of study.

MATHEMATICS

Mathematics courses teach the systematic approach to problem solving incorporating innovative techniques. Students learn more than the basics and short-term memorization techniques as they explore how to set up, understand and reason through different situations. We recognize the relevance of mathematics in the modern world and we give students the necessary tools to solve non-mathematical problems using these methods.

In addition to the sequence of courses leading up to the Calculus level, we offer courses in Algebra 3 with Financial Applications, Economics, Computer Science and Programming, Statistics and Probability, as well as Calculus III with Analytical Geometry.

Students can prepare for Advanced Placement exams in Statistics, Calculus AB, and Calculus BC.

NOTE: One of our Math teachers, Eugene Jalbert, literally wrote the book on Calculus. His textbook, AP Calculus BC, is available on iTunes.

New for 2019-2020 is Algebra 3 with Financial Applications. This course will reinforce topics from Algebra 1 and 2 and introduce new Algebra topics. Real-world applications will encourage students to make the connection between Algebra and its usefulness in the business and financial sectors. Personal finance topics such as checking vs. saving, taxes, types of credit and managing it, investing, and budgeting will be included. This course is one result of the department’s year-long focused review to infuse relevancy in the curriculum.Another result is the heavy emphasis, beginning in 2019-20, on the TI Nspire Graphing calculator in PreCalculus Classes. This allows students to apply their calculus knowledge to solve “real world” problems.

Tampa Prep offers an interdisciplinary STEM Concentration for rising 10th grade students who relish the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This academic track challenges students to become better problem solvers, and dive deeply into a particular area of science to find out what it really means to become an expert in a field of study.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

The Tampa Prep Physical Education Department’s guiding philosophy is to assist students in their understanding of what it means to live a full, fit life. This is achieved in the Upper School via course offerings such as: Health & Personal Fitness, Dance Style, Sports Medicine, Anatomy & Applied Kinesiology, Applied Physiology and Neurology, Emergency Medical Response, Performance Psychology and Athletic Conditioning.

All middle school students are required to participate in athletics during the last period of their school day. Each middle school student must participate on at least one team during the school year. Other options include a Physical Education class or Study Hall Athletic Conditioning (SHAC) which is a combination of the two.

SCIENCE

Science courses enhance students’ awareness of their environment and the scientific and technological implications in it. Our courses cross disciplines and challenge students to think critically, while their laboratory experience teaches them to interpret data, construct hypotheses and write clear and persuasive technical lab reports.

In addition to the sequence of core and advanced science courses (Biology,Chemistry, Physics), we offer courses in Robotics (starting in 6th grade), Principles of Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science, Food Chemistry, Forensic Science, App Development, Web Design with HTML5 and CSS3, Applied Anatomy and Kinesiology and so much more. 

Students can prepare for Advanced Placement exams in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics 2, Physics C and Environmental Science.

Tampa Prep offers an interdisciplinary STEM Concentration for rising 10th grade students who relish the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This academic track challenges students to become better problem solvers, and dive deeply into a particular area of science to find out what it really means to become an expert in a field of study.

NOTE: Our STEM and Robotics teacher KK Quah has written two books for LEGO Education that used two of their Education Sets. He also authored Preparing Your Team for FIRST LEGO League, which was sold by LEGO Education and focused on how to problem solve for FLL missions and how to get a process started to come up with solutions. Mr. Quah coached FLL for more than 10 years.

WORLD & CLASSICAL LANGUAGE

World and Classical Language courses focus on communication and cultural awareness and understanding. Our diverse faculty includes native and non-native speakers of the languages taught. Middle School students take Prima Lingua in the sixth grade, which exposes them to the structure and basics of several world languages. Beginning in the seventh grade, students have the choice to pursue Latin, Spanish or French. The three-year graduation requirement in the Upper School prepares our students with communicative proficiency that paves the way for further language study, travel or conversational use of the language.

Students can prepare for Advanced Placement exams in French Language, Latin, Spanish Language and Spanish Literature.

Tampa Prep offers an interdisciplinary Global Studies Concentration for rising 10th grade students who are passionate about international issues.

Maureen Alumna University of Tampa

“My time as a Terrapin changed my ability to write and speak. I used to have difficulty with expressing myself clearly. After the countless papers and declamations, translating my thoughts into conversation/paper seems like second nature. I understand the worth of words. Words are incredibly powerful. Not only are they used as a tool for opening doors (in the real world), but also, they are a true measure of the relationships we have in life. Effective communication is what keeps things working and makes it last. For that and many more reasons, I am proud of the education I received at Tampa Prep, because I finally found my voice.”

– Maureen V. Moore ‘17, University of Tampa

In addition to developing new courses every year, our Technology Integration Specialist is always thinking of ways to help faculty adapt existing course materials and lesson plans to new technology, apps and software. Simultaneously, our faculty utilizes our downtown partnerships and resources to create hands-on experiences and apply coursework in the real world.

  • Students walk down the Riverwalk to The Beck Group to learn about engineering and CAD design from leading professionals.
  • The Director of Technology chaperoned interested STEM students to the Synapse Summit in downtown Tampa.
  • Art classes can walk to the Tampa Museum of Art for special exhibits.
  • Faculty from nearby University of South Florida visit our STEM classes to give presentations.