FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

How many students are in each class?

We currently have an enrollment of 15 students. Our students occasionally work together as a whole group but are more often divided into smaller groups. These smaller groups typically have a range of two to eight students.

What are school hours?

Before care is available at no additional cost beginning at 8:00 AM each day. Formal instruction begins at 9:00 AM and ends at 3:50 PM. After care and after school enrichment classes are available for an additional cost until 5:30 PM each day

What after school classes are offered?

Classes vary from session to session. A sample of past offerings include: soccer, volleyball, cooking, visual arts enrichment, gardening, and poetry slam. Most after school classes meet once a week.

Do children have recess? How often?

 

We recognize play as central to child development and a necessary component of every school day. Children have two daily outdoor recess sessions — a long recess of 30 minutes and a shorter 20-minute recess period — unless the weather requires recess to take place indoors.

   

How do you teach students with special needs?

Research shows that when provided appropriate accommodations, students with a variety of special needs are usually able to achieve success in language immersion programs. Our classroom teachers are knowledgeable and experienced in differentiating instruction in order to meet the needs of all learners. As our school grows, we will be able to gradually provide additional support to help children who require extra attention and interventions. In many cases, the support we are currently able to offer — and anticipate being able to offer in the future — will be enough to help children with special needs achieve academic success. Parents who have children with special needs are advised to share those needs with our school early in the application process. This way, we can work together to decide if our school will be the best fit for their children.

How do you teach students who are gifted?

Research has shown that the challenging nature of immersion is beneficial to gifted students.  Additionally, our small school and the approach we take to instruction — grouping students based on ability level and interest and not always by grade level — benefits students who are gifted. This allows them to be challenged appropriately and take on work that is more cognitively demanding.  Furthermore, our regular instruction includes the implementation of teaching strategies for gifted learners. These strategies include acceleration of curriculum, compacting curriculum, and differentiation of instruction to meet the needs of students who are gifted. Finally, we are committed to providing our teaching staff with continuous professional development geared toward gifted students.

Do students wear uniforms?

Children are encouraged to wear Tampa Bay International School t-shirts but uniforms are not required.

Do you offer summer camp?

 

We currently plan to offer Summer Camp in 2021. Specific details regarding our camp offerings will be available by late January or early February of 2021.

 

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Priscilla Velez

Priscilla teaches dance, music and Zumba! She loves teaching languages and cultural arts as a means to create bridges between communities. Her dynamic lessons focus on the incorporation of mindfulness and joy. In addition to her work with our students, she has also taught in the 2020 virtual summer camp held jointly by Tampa Bay International School and Jewish Community Camp. Priscilla is additionally the founder and lead educator of Seeds of Peace School of Languages, Health, and Cultural Arts, a space where she facilitates lessons that incorporate dance, language arts, music, and life skills

Dr. Richard Zamoff 

Board member Dr. Richard Zamoff is an associate professor of sociology at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. His areas of specialization include Research Methods and Program Evaluation, the Sociology of Education, and the Relationship Between Sports and Society. Since 1996, he has served as the Director of the Jackie Robinson Project and since 2000, as the faculty advisor to the Jackie and Rachel Robinson Society, a GW student organization. He is a member of the advisory board of the Jackie Robinson Museum in New York City. Prior to his arrival at GW, Dr. Zamoff managed and supervised technical work on government contracts related to day care, health education, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, and traffic safety.

Rabbi Danielle Upbin

Rabbi Danielle Upbin is our school’s Jewish Studies and yoga teacher. She serves as Community Educator at the Jewish Federation of Florida’s Gulf Coast, as well as the Associate Rabbi and Prayer Leader at Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater. Originally from New York City, Rabbi Upbin attended Barnard College and received her Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2002.  A professionally trained singer and songwriter, Rabbi Upbin is also a past president of the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis and serves on the Rabbinic Advisory Counsel of Israel Bonds. From 2012-2016, Rabbi Upbin also worked for the Jewish Theological Seminary as the Florida Rabbinic Fellow, a development, outreach, and teaching position.

Tracy Bortnick Lynn

Board member Tracy Bortnick Lynn is a mother of three and was a criminal prosecutor for 8 years in Montgomery County, Maryland. She began practicing law in 2005 after graduating from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C. While raising her family in Florida for the past 6 years with her husband Eric, Tracy has been an active volunteer for organizations such as: Friends of North Shore, Temple Beth El Early Childhood Center, The Florida Holocaust Museum, Jewish Federation of Florida’s Gulf Coast, Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services, and Congregation B’nai Israel. Tracy also served as chair of After School programming for the Parent Teacher Association at North Shore Elementary School- leading the scholarship program to help ensure equal participation by all students in after school programs. Tracy studied Spanish in Seville, Spain while earning her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan. Tracy values diversity and bilingualism in an educational setting and looks forward to her children and all of those at TBIS continuing to learn how to make a positive impact on their communities.

Rachel Elias Wein

Rachel Elias Wein is a  board member and a parent to three sons, two of whom are students at Tampa Bay International School! Professionally, Rachel is a strategic advisor to retailers like Walgreens, Publix, and Kroger, as well as institutional real estate owners. Rachel serves on the boards of directors of Great Explorations Children's Museum in St. Petersburg, Camp Judaea in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and the University of Florida's Bergstrom Real Estate Center.

Angelica Long-Diaz

Lead Teacher Angelica Long-Diaz is a Panamanian-American educator who spent most of her childhood years in Varese, Italy. Angelica comes from a multicultural family and speaks English, Spanish, and Italian. She holds a bachelor's degree in Special Education from Columbus State University and a Master's Degree from the University of Kansas in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL.) Angelica has taught both children and adults in a variety of settings, both in the US and abroad. Before joining the faculty at Tampa Bay International School, she taught in Daegu, South Korea. An avid gardener, Angelica also leads our students in the creation of our school garden, where our students grow herbs, vegetables, and flowers.

ERIKA LOPEZ

A native of Chicago, board member Erika Lopez is a mother of three with a profession in dental healthcare. Erika holds a BA in Communications/Marketing but her passion is working within her community, where she has been active for the past decade. Erika has served as a board member and vice chair of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum and is currently a Political Action Chairwoman for the NAACP St. Petersburg Branch, educating the community about the political process through voter registration, public events and candidate forums. Erika has earned the NAACP Presidential Award for Excellence in Service. Growing up bilingual in English and Spanish, Erika believes in an intellectual as well as a cultural advantage in education that she very much desires for her own three children, and would love to help bring to children throughout Tampa Bay.

VIRGINIA CHACON

Visual arts teacher and board member Virginia Chacon is a native of Uruguay and a licensed Real Estate Professional. She is also a part-time private Spanish tutor, and a mother of two young children. Prior to moving to Florida in 2011, Virginia worked at the Embassy of Uruguay in Washington, DC. Virginia is a strong proponent of multicultural education, diverse schools, and helping children form a global mindset that allows them to understand multiple perspectives of issues and appreciate the diverse cultures that make up our world.

DR. VONZELL AGOSTO

Board member Dr. Vonzell Agosto is an associate professor of curriculum studies in educational leadership and policy studies at the University of South Florida. Her research agenda focuses on curriculum leadership and anti-oppressive education for adults and youth with an emphasis on issues related to race, gender, and dis/ability. In pursuing this line of inquiry she considers the role of technology, ethics, arts, aesthetics, and culture (ethnic, popular, material). She has published articles in Teachers College Record, Educational Researcher, and the Journal of School Leadership.

BENNETT ZAMOFF

Bennett Zamoff is the founder of Tampa Bay International School and additionally serves as our school Head and a Lead Teacher. Bennett is an experienced educator who is passionate about language immersion as best practice in fostering bilingualism. Bennett has taught in a number of schools throughout the Washington, DC area, in Ecuador, and in Tampa Bay. Bennett’s graduate and professional interest and expertise center on first and second language acquisition and immersion education in the United States and Canada. Bennett is also a strong proponent of arts integration as a vital component of a rigorous academic program. Bennett holds masters degrees in Education K-8 and Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in TESOL. He is a recipient of the 4.0 Schools Essentials Fellowship as the founder of Tampa Bay International School. Bennett believes strongly in bilingualism as a necessary tool for all global citizens. He is the proud father of two children whom he and his wife are raising to be culturally competent, empathetic, and bilingual world citizens.