Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf is a private non-profit organization can offers many scholarship programs to choose from. Financial assistance may be available in the form of partial scholarships for those parents who qualify based on financial need. Parents who feel they are in need of financial assistance may apply for a partial scholarship by contacting the school. Scholarship recipients and their families are expected to fully participate in the Blossom program including the parents’ regular attendance at scheduled school family activities.
John M. McKay Scholarship Program
Florida’s school choice programs ensure that no child will be left behind by allowing parents to choose the best educational setting for their child.
The John M. McKay Scholarship Program allows parents of students with disabilities in the state of Florida to choose the best learning environment for their children by helping fund the cost of tuition at the school of the parents’ choice.
In order to be eligible for the McKay Scholarship Program, a student must apply for the program prior to withdrawing from public school. The student must also have an Individual Education Plan (IEP), and:
- Have been enrolled and reported for funding in a Florida public school during the October and February Florida Education Finance Program surveys (Grades K-12); or
- Have been a pre-kindergarten student who was enrolled and reported for funding in a Florida public school during the preceding October and February Florida Education Finance Program surveys and was at least 4 years old; or
- Have attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind during the preceding October and February student membership surveys (Grades K-12).
If your child does not meet these requirements but has an IEP and is a dependent child of a member of the United States Armed Forces who transfers to a school in Florida from out of state or from a foreign country pursuant to a parent’s permanent change of station orders the child may be eligible for a McKay Scholarship.
To learn more about the McKay Scholarship Program, visit their website at www.floridaschoolchoice.org .
Step Up For Students Scholarship Program: Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship – INCOME-BASED
Step Up for Students is a private foundation and a Florida Association of Scholarship Funding Organizations (FLA-SFO) member, awarding annual Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarships to eligible Florida students entering Kindergarten (K) through 12th grade from eligible households to help them attend an eligible Florida private school or the out-of-district (out-of-county) Florida public school of their choice. The scholarships are for tuition and fees (private schools).
In 2001, the Florida Legislature created the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program to assure that low-income children have more learning options. The scholarships are based on financial need, not how well your child does in school. Families may choose between financial assistance toward private school tuition and fees, or with transportation costs to attend a public school in another county.
Both the private school scholarship and the transportation scholarship have the same application and eligibility process.
Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and can be transferred to other eligible schools if the student moves within the state, or simply wants to attend a different Step Up partner school.
Step Up for Students awards FTC Scholarships for up to the maximum scholarship amount allowed by law of $5,886. Parental tuition payments are necessary when an eligible private school’s tuition amount is more than $5,886. The first step is to see if you are eligible to receive a Step up for Students FTC Scholarship. This is based on household income and an eligibility chart can be found on their website. SUFS FTC Income Guidelines 2016-17
Step Up For Students Scholarship Program: Gardiner Scholarship (Personal Learning Scholarship Account / PLSA) – SPECIAL NEEDS
The Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) program helps parents individualize the educational plans for their children with certain special needs. The program, previously called the Personal Learning Scholarship Account, was named the Gardiner Scholarship in January of 2016. The new name honors Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner, who led the legislative effort to create the program, and his family. Gardiner and his wife Camille have championed the cause of children with unique abilities for many years. The Gardiners have two daughters and a son, Andrew, who has Down syndrome.
A different kind of scholarship: The Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) is different than other state scholarships in that it allows parents to personalize the education of their children with unique abilities by directing money toward a combination of programs and approved providers. These include schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, technology – even a college savings account.
The Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) scholarship amount varies according to grade and county of residence. The average amount for most students in the 2016-2017 school year is $10,000, and is based on a matrix level of 253.
The Gardiner scholarship is for Florida students 3 years old through 12th grade or age 22, whichever comes first, with one of the following disabilities: autism spectrum disorder, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, Williams syndrome or intellectual disability (severe cognitive impairment). Also, students ages 3, 4 or 5 deemed “high risk” due to developmental delays may be eligible for the year they apply. (Please note: Students must not be older than 5 on Sept. 1.)
- Students need an Individual Education Plan (IEP) from a Florida school district or a formal diagnosis from a Florida licensed physician or psychologist.
- Students must be at least 3 or 4 on or before Sept 1. Students entering kindergarten must be 5 on or before Sept 1. Students entering first grade must be 6 on or before Sept 1.
- Students can participate in the Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) program as part of home education. However, they cannot be enrolled in a public school or receive any other state-sponsored scholarship (McKay Scholarship or the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship).
Early Learning Coalition: Voluntary Pre-K (VPK) Scholarship Program
Voluntary Pre-kindergarten (VPK) is a legislatively mandated program designed to prepare every four-year-old in Florida for kindergarten and build the foundation for their educational success. The VPK program gives each child an opportunity to perform better in school and throughout life with quality programs that include high literacy standards, accountability, appropriate curricula, substantial instruction periods, manageable class sizes, and qualified instructors. All eligible four-year-olds are entitled to participate in one of the VPK program options.
The VPK program is FREE for all four-year-olds born on or before September 1 who reside in Florida. However, it is only FREE for 3 hours in the morning. Blossom’s VPK hours are 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
The VPK program and has high quality standards that include:
- Qualified instructors
- Age appropriate curricula with a strong emphasis on early literacy skills
- Manageable class sizes
To help answer your questions or concerns about Voluntary Pre-kindergarten (VPK), VPK staff are available Monday through Friday, from 8:00am until 5:00pm by calling the ELC’s VPK line at 727-400-4411, option 3, then option 1.
Parents/Guardians may enroll their children in the Voluntary Pre-kindergarten Program (VPK) by applying online at http://elcpinellas.net/register-for-vpk/. Children will not be officially enrolled until all steps are completed.
IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to register online, you must be able to upload the required documents individually in a PDF format.
Steps for Online VPK Registration
Simply follow the directions below to enroll your child online:
- Establish a login and account for you child.
- View an informational presentation about the VPK program and the parent’s rights and responsibilities.
- Enter application information about yourself and your child.
- Upload and submit the required documents electronically in PDF format including a photo id, proof of Florida residency and proof of your child’s age. Note: these documents must be uploaded as separate documents. Do not group all items into one PDF file.
- Check your email – Your child’s Certificate of Eligibility will be emailed to you once the application has been processed. The Certificate of Eligibility is your “ticket” to the VPK program of your choice. Please check your spam filters to ensure the email was received.
- Register with Blossom. Contact our school, take a tour and meet our administrative staff and our teachers, fill out the required paperwork, and submit the Certificate of Eligibility.
For more information call ELC’s VPK line at 727-400-4411, option 3, then option 1 / or visit their website at http://elcpinellas.net/.
ELC Administrative Offices
2536 Countryside Blvd #500, Clearwater, FL 33763
Main Phone: 727-400-4411
Early Learning Coalition: School Readiness (SR) Program
Children from low to moderate-income working families or with other identified risk factors, may receive scholarships to attend an early education program. Eligibility is determined by the parents’ income and must not exceed 150% of the federal poverty level. Children ages birth to 13 years are eligible for scholarship. Exceptions may be made for older children with special needs. Participants in this program receive a developmentally appropriate curriculum, character education and vision, hearing and developmental screening. Additionally, this program allows parents to focus on professional and educational goals and begin to break the poverty cycle. Intake and eligibility are administered by Coordinated Child Care of Pinellas, Inc.
If you or your child meets criteria, you may be eligible for child care services at reduced or no cost, offered by the Office of Early Learning in the Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI). School Readiness scholarships are administered through Coordinated Child Care of Pinellas.
- Children living in a low-income family. (see link for maximum allowable income below)
- Children with special needs or developmental concerns.
- Parents or guardians that receive TANF or have received TANF within the last 12 months.
- Children under Protective Services.
- Children in foster care.
If you meet all qualifications and income guidelines above, you may apply on-line for a School Readiness Scholarship at https://familyservices.floridaearlylearning.com/.
For more information call ELC’s School Readiness Eligibility line at 727-400-4411, option 3, then option 3 / or visit their website at http://elcpinellas.net/.
ELC Administrative Offices
2536 Countryside Blvd #500, Clearwater, FL 33763
Main Phone: 727-400-4411
Blossom Scholarship Program
In an effort to assist every student and family that can benefit from the unique educational environment at Blossom, we have set up the Blossom Scholarship Program, which may provide a partial scholarship to qualified families. Through an application process that is designed to ascertain the specific financial needs of each family, we carefully evaluate each application in order to provide financial assistance whenever possible.
The Blossom Scholarship Program is funded through various fundraising events throughout each year and through the generous contributions of the board and members of the community.