Shorecrest Preparatory School Blog

What is an Independent School?

Posted by Dr. Jean Spencer-Carnes on Apr 26, 2016 3:35:00 PM

As you research schools for a young child just starting preschool, or perhaps as you look to find a school in a new city, you may come across a number of different categories of schools. In today’s evolving school landscape, you’ll find public schools, charter schools, parochial schools, online schools, homeschool options, private schools, independent schools and more.

As a school admissions director, I meet with parents everyday who are in the school search process and many are unclear on what exactly an independent school is. Independent schools like Shorecrest Preparatory School are not dependent on the national or local governments to fund any part of school operations. This means independent schools do not receive taxpayer assistance. Instead, schools like Shorecrest receive funding through endowments, donations, and tuition.

Shorecrest is a proud member of the National Association of Independent Schools. The NAIS defines an independent school in five ways:

1.) Independent schools are private, pre-collegiate learning institutions, each with a unique mission.

At Shorecrest, our mission is to look out for the entire student. This means we strive to inspire every facet of a student’s development in an effort to help them achieve excellence. This is summarized best in our Mission Statement:


2.) Independent schools are governed by independent boards of trustees.

The Board of Trustees at Shorecrest is made up of 24 members plus our Headmaster. Along with the Leadership Team, the Board of Trustees is responsible for governing the fiduciary, strategic, and generative duties of the school.

3.) Independent schools are nonprofit institutions that are primarily supported through tuition payments, charitable contributions, and endowment income.

Shorecrest Preparatory School and other independent schools are 501(c)(3) non-profit corporations as defined by the IRS. 

4.) Independent schools uphold high standards of educational quality.

When you choose to invest in an independent school education for your child, you can expect one-on-one attention, small student-teacher ratios, 

There are 101 faculty members at Shorecrest. More than 50% of them hold advanced degrees. The world is changing every single day and our faculty is dedicated to staying ahead of the curve. Many of our faculty members work hard to excel at their own educational pursuits and offer leadership by example to their students.

The hard work and dedication of our students and our faculty set us apart. The proof is in the numbers. The 2015 graduating class went to college with over $6.3 million in scholarships. Below you can see how Shorecrest students continuously perform better than other students in Florida and across the country.


5.) Independent schools are publicly accountable to parents, communities, and the agencies that accredit them.

As a parent, you have a responsibility to ask questions and make sure the school you choose is the right fit for your child. At Shorecrest, not only do we understand that but we encourage it! The National Association of Independent Schools put together this list of questions parents should ask when determining whether a school is right for them.


As you get to know the schools in and around Pinellas County, you will see a number of choices in school size, mission, organization, philosophy and more! While independent schools share the general characteristics outlined above, remember that each one is unique and different and has something special to offer its students. Best of luck finding the right school fit for your family!   


Interested in finding out more about Shorecrest Preparatory School? 

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Topics: Private School