Tampa Bay International School
Mission Statement & Vision
Tampa Bay International School is an innovative Spanish immersion school that promotes bilingualism in Spanish and English through an international curriculum rich in arts and culture. Our school prioritizes the building of a diverse, inclusive community of all faiths.
We feature both a vibrant program of progressive Jewish education that is open to all and a parallel program of ethics and world beliefs. For all our students, we prioritize the teaching of social justice (tzedakah and tikkun olam), the promotion of peace (shalom) and the protection of our planet (shmirat ha adamah).
With instruction held primarily outdoors, our school draws on the educational philosophies of both Montessori and Reggio Emilia. Our low student-teacher ratio allows us to provide instruction that is highly individualized, differentiated, and student-driven.
Tampa Bay International School, founded in 2020 by Bennett Zamoff, offers a unique combination of Spanish language immersion and International studies, including a core curriculum of Jewish Studies or Ethics & World Beliefs. Our school serves students from kindergarten through Grade 7 for the 2022-2023 school year, growing to Grade 8 for the 2023-2024 school year.
Our Head of School Bennett Zamoff brings 24 years of experience teaching students at world-class institutions including Washington International School in Washington, DC and Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Florida. Bennett has additionally taught abroad in Quito, Ecuador and in the Montgomery County, Maryland Public Schools, where he began his educational career working with elementary school students in a Spanish immersion program for over four years.
Bennett holds master’s degrees in Education K-8 from the University of Maryland, College Park and a second master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in TESOL from Trinity University in Washington, DC.
Bennett is passionate about multicultural, arts-rich education and language immersion. He has spent much of his career working in schools with immersion programs and has seen firsthand their positive impact on diverse groups of students. Bennett has presented nationally on the multiple benefits of multilingualism and the wide body of research supporting immersion programs as a best practice in education.
Tampa Bay International School began as a Spanish immersion after school program and summer camp in 2019. Bennett proudly welcomed our school’s inaugural class of 14 students in the Fall of 2020. Bennett is not just our Head of School. He is able to build strong relationships with our students by also serving as a lead teacher and he’s a school parent too. His two children are TBIS students.
After a successful first year, TBIS grew by 85% in our second year, with half of all new students joining in kindergarten. We look forward to continuing to grow our elementary and middle school, bringing in new students and families that share our passion for a global approach to learning.
“This is the school I always dreamed of. It didn’t exist, so I opened it. I felt a calling to do something positive to change the world. I wanted a Spanish immersion school because fluency in more than one language is a 21st century skill that all students need to acquire. I wanted a small school, because I believe that small schools are best positioned to nurture and challenge students in ways that are impossible to do in larger schools.”
— Bennett Zamoff, Head of School
What do parents have to say about our program? A November 2021 survey of TBIS parents found:
- The top reasons parents enrolled at our school were Spanish Immersion, small class size, COVID safety and outdoor education.
- Once enrolled, our parents say that community, culture and teachers set Tampa Bay International School apart from other schools.
- Parents rave about our welcoming culture, the open, sincere, kind and inclusive environment at our school.
- They appreciate the intensive learning periods that are separated by unstructured time to play outdoors and develop personal passion projects.
- Teachers have a strong desire for their students to learn and an awareness of the unique strengths and weaknesses of each child, meeting them where they are and encouraging them to reach their best potential.
- Students enjoy child-directed learning and units of inquiry that cover multiple subject matters and a multi-age classroom setting where younger students can reach above their grade level and older students mentor while demonstrating their subject mastery.
Our program of Jewish Education is made possible by the generous support of the Jewish Federation of Florida’s Gulf Coast.
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