Press Release (September 27, 2021)
Seaside School Inc. Expanding on Northwest Florida State College South Walton Campus
SANTA ROSA BEACH, FL – On Monday, September 27th, 2021, Seaside School, Inc., Florida’s oldest continuously operated public charter school and recently ranked #3 combination school in the State of Florida, and Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) committed to expand their existing partnership to construct new facilities for high school and college students at the college’s South Walton campus.
Last week the Board of Trustees of Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC), the Board of Directors for The Seaside School Foundation, Inc., and the Board of Directors for The Seaside School, Inc. each unanimously approved a partnership agreement to expand the high school dual enrollment program and build new facilities for Seacoast Collegiate High School and NWFSC at the South Walton campus. On September 27th, 2021, these partners gathered and signed an agreement to solidify the relationship.
“The Seaside School, Inc. is grateful to Northwest Florida State College for their continued collaboration towards expansion, and for sharing our vision and objective of ensuring high school students receive an education of the highest quality in Walton County,” said Nick Vlahos, Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Seaside School, Inc. “Together we can support the next generation and ensure their pathway to becoming extraordinary leaders.”
This partnership agreement creates a permanent home for Seacoast Collegiate High School at the Northwest Florida State College South Walton campus and develops a high school dual enrollment center serving students in Walton County and the surrounding areas. The new facility will also include an “accelerator” which will offer training, mentoring, and collaboration to new area businesses and entrepreneurs.
“This agreement is just the first step in creating a vibrant epicenter for dual enrollment education and higher learning that will not only benefit Seacoast Collegiate High School students, but will provide all high school students in Walton County a better opportunity to access a college education and fulfill their educational goals,” said Patrick McCarthy, President of The Seaside School Foundation, Inc.
NWFSC is providing 5 acres of land on which The Seaside School, Inc. will construct a new educational facility. The agreement proposes a 3.5-year timeline to open the new building.
“Our College’s commitment to provide expansive educational and training opportunities for the citizens of Northwest Florida is evidenced once again in this strong partnership with Seacoast Collegiate High School. We believe dual enrollment opportunities are the key to advancing educational attainment in our region and in Florida,” said Dr. Devin Stephenson, President of Northwest Florida State College.
“Furthermore, we haven’t begun to envision what the future holds for education, but I do know that we must be flexible and adaptable in our approach. This collaboration with one of Florida’s best public charter schools is a declaration that we will continue to take new steps forward. We exist to improve lives and improve the quality of place in this region, and this partnership is a demonstration of our dedication to that mission.”
The new educational facility will house both Seacoast Collegiate High School classrooms and NWFSC classrooms as well as shared lab space and the “accelerator” for workforce development, essential workforce skills for K-20, business development, continuing education, and other workforce preparedness opportunities. The vision for the space includes green spaces to unite the campus and allow for athletic competition.
“Our partnership with Northwest Florida State College is another way we can live the mission of Seaside School,” said Joy Robbins, the Community, Curriculum, and Culture Specialist at The Seaside School, Inc. “Learning beyond the classroom walls is foundational to our culture. Creating a campus and programs that embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of Walton County residents will make our school culture more impactful.”
In 2013 The Seaside School, Inc.’s Seacoast Collegiate High School opened on the South Walton campus of Northwest Florida State College. In the 2020-2021 school year, 90% of graduating Seacoast Collegiate High School seniors attained an Associate in Arts degree from Northwest Florida State College in addition to their high school diploma. Seacoast Collegiate High School maintains a high school graduation rate of 100%. Additionally, 51% of graduates qualified for Florida Bright Futures scholarships.
“This opportunity to partner with NWFSC will open many possibilities for Seacoast students as well as other high school students in the area through dual enrollment,” said Dr. O’Prey, Head of Schools for The Seaside School, Inc. “This expansion and a permanent home for Seacoast has been many years in the making. We are grateful for this forward looking adventure with Dr. Stephenson and his team.”
Located on both the South Walton campus of Northwest Florida State College and the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College, The Seaside School, Inc.’s Seacoast Collegiate High School currently serves 196 students in 9th through 12th grades, offering students the ability to graduate high school with an associate college degree. The Seaside School, Inc. is a public charter school in the Walton County School District and most recently ranked as the #3 combination school in the state.
“The Seaside School Foundation is excited to bring our school community along in this great adventure,” said Teresa Horton, Executive Director of The Seaside School Foundation, Inc. “The generosity of donors and philanthropic support is essential to make this very important vision a reality. A center that provides an outstanding education, innovation, leadership, workforce development, continuing education and so much more, is definitely a worthy investment.”
Walton County and the surrounding areas are currently experiencing rapid growth. All partners believe investing in the people of our community is needed and necessary now more than ever. Expanding the partnership between two historically successful institutions will make Walton County a better place to live and thrive.
ABOUT THE SEASIDE SCHOOL, INC.
Founded in 1996, The Seaside School, Inc. was one of the first and is now the oldest operating public charter schools in the state of Florida. Its original goal was simple – create a school to address the need for better middle school education in Walton County – and it hasn’t stopped since. Seaside School now has over 375 students across two campuses serving grades 5th through 12th. Seaside Neighborhood School serves 5th through 8th grades and is located in the iconic beach town of Seaside, Florida. Located on the campus of nearby Northwest Florida State College, Seacoast Collegiate High School serves 9th through 12th grades offering students the ability to graduate high school with an associate college degree.
The vision of The Seaside School, Inc. is to maintain a small school with faculty knowledgeable about each student’s abilities and challenges, so that they can offer increased support to each student to meet those challenges and increase their skills to perform successfully in all academic areas. The Board of Directors seeks to sustain an educational community where an emphasis on academic excellence is complemented by the concern for each learner’s personal growth and intellectual, aesthetic and psychological development. The curriculum is developmentally responsive – actively engaging students in learning skills in context, integrative – directing students to connect learning to daily lives, and exploratory – enabling students to discover their abilities, interests, learning styles, and ways that they can make contributions to society.
ABOUT THE SEASIDE SCHOOL FOUNDATION, INC.
The Foundation’s primary mission is to take a long-term approach to raise, invest and spend funds in support of The Seaside School, Inc. and to steward those funds so they provide support in perpetuity. The Foundation raises money and grants funds to the School to help the School fulfill its mission and educate children. The Foundation’s primary mission is to take a long-term approach to raise, invest and spend funds in support of The Seaside School, Inc. and to steward those funds so they provide support in perpetuity. The Foundation raises money and grants funds to the School to help the School fulfill its mission and educate children.