November 2020

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Home DIY Influencer and Tampa Bay Mom

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Helping Your Kids Stay Safe and Healthy

We’re doing the following in our clinics to help keep you safe: n Prescreening patients based on CDC guidelines n Separating patients with COVID-19 symptoms from patients without these symptoms n Minimizing and/or eliminating time spent in waiting rooms n Limiting and reorganizing the seating in waiting rooms to accommodate for social distancing

n Screening all team members and doctors daily for COVID-19-related symptoms n Cleaning lobbies/waiting rooms, exam rooms and all public spaces throughout the day with EPAapproved, medical-grade cleaning and disinfecting agents

With more than 200 pediatricians, pediatric specialists and family medicine physicians in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties, care for your family is always nearby. n Now accepting new patients. n Most major insurance plans are accepted.

n Offering telehealth appointments when appropriate


n Requiring all doctors, team members, patients and visitors to wear masks

Find a pediatrician and make an appointment online: NOVEMBER 2020




ASSOCIATE EDITOR Anu Varma Panchal EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Sarah Rigby CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Laura Byrne Anu Varma Panchal Julie Tingley Maggie Rodriguez Lindsay Dean Natassja Prose Suzy Mesmer Alyssa Rhoads Lauren Gay Andrew Warren Janet White Courtney Cairns Pastor Eric Hughes Laura Cross Jennifer Avallone, D.O. Tara Payor, PhD



8/ NOVEMBER NOTEWORTHY: Local highlights of stories, events and more! 10/ MOMS TO KNOW: Meet Gabriela Camargo of Stay in Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center 62/ WHAT’S ON TAMPABAYPARENTING.COM: Your most clicked stories and more!





LAYOUT & DESIGN Nicole Barolo of Page Four Creative Sarah Rigby

9/ HOLIDAY EVENTS IN TAMPA BAY AND BEYOND: Several annual events kick off this month with COVID-19 safety protocols in place

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Howie Mac Photo Shana Mitchell Photography Tampa Bay Buccaneers BOOKKEEPING Employee of the Month, LLC TAMPA BAY PARENTING MAGAZINE 320 W. Kennedy Blvd. Ste. 220 Tampa, Florida 33606 Phone 813-949-4400 Fax 813-315-6688 BECOME A FAN tampabayparentingmagazine @tampabayparenting @TBParenting

21/ SHOP FOR A CAUSE: This year’s Junior League of Tampa’s Holiday Gift Market is going virtual! Learn how the JLT’s pandemic pivot supports small businesses and charitable causes 22/ A SEASON OF GIVING: Three ways to make philanthropy a part of your family’s holiday this year 24/ A FESTIVE TABLE: Make your kids’ table pop this Thanksgiving 27/ SAFE TRAVELS: Lauren Gay of the shares her top tips on staying safe while traveling this very unique holiday 28/ SCAM PROOF YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING: Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren shares ways to protect your pocketbook from scammers when shopping online

12/ BOLT’S PURPOSE: See how one Southeastern Guide Dogs celebrity, and others just like him, help people reclaim their lives 16/ COVER STORY: Meet Instagram influencer Lindsay Dean, a mom of two and Home DIY expert who is transforming rooms and furniture into WOW interiors 18/ THE PERKS OF BEING FLORIDIAN: Check out these family-friendly adventures central Florida has to offer, along with Florida resident discounts 30/ THERE’S ALWAYS TIME FOR STEAM AT MOSI: In-person or virtually, there are so many ways to play and learn at the Museum of Science and Industry! 39/ TAKE A BREAK FOR YOUR BRAIN: Corbett Prep educators share tips for home and the classroom 44/ BOOK TALK WITH THE LIBRARY: Celebrate National Family Literacy Month all month long 47/ SCHOOL YEAR CHECK-IN: Local teachers check in with us to share how parents can support them during a very complicated time in history 56/ EYES ON EPILEPSY: What you need to know from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital 58/ CIRCLE OF GRATITUDE: A Tampa family shares the story of their battle with COVID-19 and how community support made all the difference

ON THE COVER: Tampa Bay Parenting is published twelve times per year and distributed throughout the Tampa Bay community. Tampa Bay Parenting is not responsible for any errors, inaccuracies, omissions or incorrect information (or the consequences related thereto) contained within the magazine or online; readers should not rely on any information contained in the magazine and they should always consult with an appropriate professional for guidance. Tampa Bay Parenting accepts no responsibility for the consequences of error or for any loss or damage suffered by users of any of the information or materials provided by Tampa Bay Parenting. Some content published by Tampa Bay Parenting is sponsored or paid for advertising content, and some individuals quoted or cited in articles have paid for advertising or sponsorships; this content or opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Tampa Bay Parenting.


Instagram influencer Lindsay Dean of @frills_and_drills caught our eye during the pandemic quarantine with her beautiful home projects, and even projects for friends and family! We knew we had to get to know her a little better and find out what inspired this Tampa Bay mama to pick up the drill and DIY!

READ MORE ON PAGE 16 Photo Credit: Howie Mac Photography NOVEMBER 2020

Lindsay Dean in her home with her sons Owen, 3 (above) and Aiden, 4 (right).


DANCE • THEATER • MUSIC Our stages may be experiencing a brief intermission, but our classes continue virtually and on-site. Private lessons and classes for all ages and experience levels




thank you to our advertisers and sponsors

Meet our contributors

Because of them, we are able to provide this family-friendly resource to you for FREE.

ANU VARMA PANCHAL Anu Varma Panchal has written and edited for area publications for nearly 20 years. She’s ac­tive on her children’s PTA boards, loves theatre, concerts, the local brewery scene and travel, and spends way too much time schlepping her 12- and 15-year olds around in her minivan. She never leaves home without her library card. You can find her at



Julie Tingley is an 8-year Tampa transplant who has found her way through numerous professional and parenting transitions by maintaining focus on her daily inspirations: Ella, 6, and Kate, 3. With a vision of a better future for her girls, she has introduced the KNOW Book + Tribe, a women’s publication and community, to Tampa Bay.

Andrew Warren is the state attorney for Hillsborough County, leading the office that prosecutes criminal cases and advocates for victims of crime. In his free time, you can catch him coaching his daughters’ sports teams and giving them piggyback rides.

Story idea? Are you a local blogger or writer? If you have a content idea or a story to tell, tell us.

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ Maggie Rodriguez is a former network news anchor who now lives in South Tampa with her husband and their two children. She is best known as the host of the nationally-televised morning news program, "The Early Show on CBS," as well as a substitute anchor on "The CBS Evening News" with Katie Couric. Since relocating to Tampa Bay, Rodriguez has been busy rekindling her love for writing, volunteering and enjoying weekend adventures.




Tara Payor, Ph.D. has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. She is a contributing faculty member for Walden University, where she guides doctoral students through their dissertations. She is also a language arts educator. Reach her at



Eric Hughes is the literacy coordinator for the Hillsborough County Public Library System, where he coordinates literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. He also has over a decade of experience teaching ESL in Tampa and as an English Language Fellow in Mozambique. When not in the office, he’s with friends and family playing guitar and singing karaoke. He is also a language arts educator.

Lauren Gay is the creator of Misadventures of an Outdoorsy Diva Blog, host/ producer of the Outdoorsy Diva Podcast, published photographer, speaker and CEO of Lauren R. Gay Consulting where she offers professional consulting services for blogs and podcasts, courses and curated group adventure trips. She is a travel writer and social media influencer who is passionate about inspiring and empowering black women to step out of their comfort zones for new experiences in travel and adventure and embracing nature as therapy. Lauren is also a dedicated long-time advocate for racial diversity and inclusion in outdoor recreation and adventure travel.

Dr. Jennifer Avallone is a pediatric neurologist with a specialty in epilepsy. She joined the hospital in 2017 after four years at the Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey. Dr. Avallone earned her medical degree at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of the New York Institute of Technology. She completed a pediatric residency at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and a child neurology residency at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She also completed a clinical neurophysiology/pediatric epilepsy fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Children’s Board Family resourCe Centers There are seven Children’s Board Family Resource Centers that are strategically placed throughout Hillsborough County that offer universal services at no cost to families in Hillsborough County.

Centers offer the following: ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Developmental Playgroups Developmental Screening Tutoring Car Seat Safety Classes CPR & First Aid Certification Mobile Clinic Services including: Child Well Care, Immunizations, Vision & Hearing Screenings, Dental Family Service Coordination Ready to Learn Assistance Healthcare Enrollment Assistance Family Counseling Information & Referrals Variety of Center-Driven Activities

Please call your neighborhood Family Resource Center to sign up for supports today! Brandon | 813-740-4634 Central Tampa | 813-204-1741 East County | 813-752-8700 North Tampa | 813-558-1877 South County | 813-641-5600 Temple Terrace | 813-435-3032 Town N’ Country | 813-356-1703

To adhere with CDC guidelines space is limited and services are provided on a first come first serve basis. NOVEMBER 2020


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NOVEMBER THANKSGIVING FOOD DONATIONS Your family’s support is needed now more than ever. If you are unable to give your time, consider collecting food items to donate to organizations like Feeding Tampa Bay ( and Metropolitan Ministries ( You can visit each website to learn more about what their current needs are and how to donate. We’re also sharing ways how your entire family can volunteer their time on page 22.

MAKE A THANKFULNESS PUMPKIN! What you’ll need: Medium-sized pumpkin and black Sharpie The Thankfulness Pumpkin continues to be one of our favorite traditions shared by our friends at Glazer Children’s Museum. Start it off by writing “We are thankful for…” at the top of your pumpkin and then have each member of the family write something they are thankful for as they curve their words around the pumpkin. It’s a great way to teach kids gratitude and remind ourselves that despite a chaotic year, there really are so many things to be grateful for.


BUCS HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS AWARDED FOR HIS EFFORTS FOR GENDER INCLUSIVITY AND DIVERSITY We’re sending a special congratulations to Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians for being named as the 2020 ‘Champion For Equality’ for his efforts on and off the field to support gender inclusivity and diversity. Since joining the team in 2019, he has hired two female coaches, setting a precedent for the NFL.

Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA BAY RECEIVES THE “GOLDEN SHOVEL” AHEAD OF SUPER BOWL LV The Golden Shovel has arrived in Tampa Bay, passed along from previous host city Miami. The program brings community greening projects to the Super Bowl host cities. In October, sand dunes were built at Picnic Island Park in Tampa and more than 900 plants including sea oats and dune f lowers were added to the dune to help prevent erosion. There are several more greening projects on schedule like a mangrove restoration project at Picnic Island, a pollinator garden at Veterans Memorial Park, park clean ups, plantings and more!

The "Golden Shovel"

Legoland Florida Resort celebrated nine years in October and launched right into celebrating its milestone 10th year with an annual pass that costs just $99 (2011 prices!). The park also announced several NEW things to come in 2021 like a new Watersports Stunt Show, PirateFest Weekends, Miniland Shade Structures, a NEW Master Builder experience and more! lorida

CAN’T BE WITH FAMILY OVER THE HOLIDAYS? Send grandma a life-sized cutout of your family. Tampa Bay sign company Good Guys Signs has a great way for families to get together over the holidays in an unconventional way: life-size cutouts of people they call “Cheer-Ups”! They are selling the Cheer-Ups at a discounted rate over the holidays for $79 instead of $100 for each life-sized cut-out, saying it aligns with their core philosophy of "Give more than you take." You can learn more by visiting


Christmas Town at Busch Gardens

Holiday Events WINTER VILLAGE AT CURTIS HIXON PARK IN DOWNTOWN TAMPA Nov. 20-Jan. 3 Winter Village is returning this year with COVID-19 safety protocols in place, including pre-booking your family’s time to ice-skate on the real outdoor ice rink in the park. Shops and lights return, and this year, little ones can also enjoy a choo choo train ride in the park! CHRISTMAS TOWN AT BUSCH GARDENS TAMPA BAY, Nov. 21-Jan. 3 This beloved event is back with safety modifications in place, much like we saw for the Halloween events. You can once again stroll through the park as it lights up with millions of holiday lights, taste holiday treats you only get once a year at Busch Gardens, see the shows and, of course, board the holiday train! WONDERLAND OF LIGHTS & SANTA’S VILLAGE AT THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS IN DOVER Nov. 26-Dec. 27 This is a drive-thru event to experience a mile of spectacular lights with a visit to Santa’s Village at the end, if you choose. Santa’s Village features wagon rides, a circus show, camel and pony rides and more. HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT LARGO CENTRAL PARK, Nov. 26-Jan. 3

Walt Disney World

Get your calendar ready! We're kicking off the 2020 holiday season with our favorite events in Tampa Bay and beyond. *Times, dates and events subject to change.

Largo Central Park will light up again with more than one million LED lights. This is an outdoor walking trail only, so be sure you remind everyone in your party to stay six feet from other people as requested by organizers. The park will light up on evenings from 5-10 p.m. It is free to park and stroll.


Christmas in the Wild returns this year with your family’s safety in mind. Many of your favorites like the beautiful lights, fun themed treats and characters will be back, but there will be safety modifications in place. It’s a must-do night out with the kids!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is taking a hiatus, but in its place, Disney is re-imagining the holiday experience at all of its parks and resorts. Expect to see your favorites from the Christmas Party parades as they march down Main Street in mini parades. There will be snowfall at Disney Springs in select areas and EPCOT’s International Festival of Holidays will feature holiday kitchens throughout the World Showplace. Santa will also make pop-up appearances through Walt Disney World!

LEGOLAND FLORIDA HOLIDAYS Select Nights Nov. 27-Dec. 29


LEGOLAND Florida is hosting holidaythemed fun for the entire family including special LEGO characters, treats and more!

Your favorite holiday events at Universal Studios are returning for 2020 including Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure, Christmas at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s.


THE OAKDALE CHRISTMAS HOUSE IN ST. PETERSBURG, Nov. 27-Jan. 3 Drive by and be amazed by the half million twinkling lights that have been ranked among the world’s best Christmas light displays. In its 42nd year, expect to see some major additions and upgrades to the display. The house is located at 2719 Oakdale St. S. in St. Petersburg.

SEAWORLD ORLANDO CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION, Nov. 21-Dec. 31 On select nights, experience more than 3 million lights throughout the park, live shows and more. The event is included with park admission.




moms to


by Julie Tingley, The KNOW Book + Tribe Director, KNOW Tampa and KNOW St. Pete | Clearwater

GABRIELA CAMARGO FOUNDING DIRECTOR, STAY IN STEP SPINAL CORD INJURY RECOVERY CENTER In the month that celebrates giving and gratitude and honors our country’s great veterans, it seems only fitting that we spend November getting to know the courageous mother and wife behind the veteran-founded and operated local nonprofit Stay in Step. Gabriela “Gaby” Camargo is the founding director of the Stay in Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center. In 2008, Gaby’s husband Romy was wounded in Afghanistan. Ever since, she’s been an advocate for the military, civilian spouses and family members of people living with a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury or any neurological disorder that results in paralysis. She and her husband opened the Stay In Step SCI Recovery Center on June 20, 2015. Her determination, love, compassion and commitment to help others overcome the seemingly impossible gives her the strength to continue this difficult mission. Her approach is not just to provide a service at Stay In Step, but also to share her testimony of faith and hope, all the while showing others how to overcome adversity. Gaby’s personal mission in life is to do something bigger than herself. Photo Credit: Shana Mitchell Photography

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR ROLE WITH STAY IN STEP AND WHICH ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF. I am the founding director at Stay In Step. I am very proud to say that we are the first veteran-owned rehabilitation center for brain and spinal cord injury patients in the nation. Since opening the doors more than five years ago, we have been able to establish educational partnerships with six universities and colleges in the area where occupational therapists, occupational therapist assistants, physical therapy assistants and exercise science students come to the center to do their internship programs.

HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED YOUR BUSINESS THIS YEAR, AND IN WHAT WAYS HAVE YOU PIVOTED TO BE SURE YOU ARE ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF THE PATIENTS YOU SERVE? It affected us very hard because we had to close our center for one month. We continued to pay our staff and we did not generate any revenue for the center. During that time, we were conducting several virtual meetings with the staff and reinventing new strategies in how to reopen the center when it was the time to do it. We started collecting all the necessary PPE to protect our clients and staff to mitigate the risk of COVID-19. We reopened the center on April 20 taking extra precautions with every thing and treating just a few patients per day.

WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER WORKING MOTHERS IN OUR COMMUNITY? You can achieve whatever you want if you believe in what you do and work with passion and determination. Working mothers can still be successful despite the multiple roles that most of us as women play every day.

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HOW CAN THE PEOPLE IN OUR LOCAL CITIES SUPPORT YOU AND SERVE STAY IN STEP? We have people supporting us through donations in different cities and some local people supporting us by volunteering their time through our different events and programs like our Caregiver Program and the Abilities Games, which is something that we have been doing now for three years.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO WITH YOUR SON IN THE TAMPA BAY AREA? We like to go to Starbucks every time we have a chance, and we like to ride bikes together.

WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION OR ROLE MODEL? My role model is my mother, and my biggest inspiration is my family.

Bolt’s Purpose by Maggie Rodriguez, photos provided by Southeastern Guide Dogs

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s team dog, Bolt, recently left for college. Southeastern Guide Dog’s Canine University will be the final step before the Labrador retriever begins his career as a service dog. Dogs raised for this noble purpose go through two years of training, including living with a puppy raiser for one year. In Bolt’s case, it was a championship year. Bolt didn’t know what to make of the Stanley Cup when the Tampa Bay Lightning brought it home last month. “The humans seem very excited about this shiny new water bowl,” his Instagram caption read. The team dog was just happy to see his friends again. They had been gone since August, playing for the Cup at the NHL bubble in way-toofar-away Canada. “He was happy to welcome them home and receive all of the love from his favorite hockey team,” according to Carrie Talamantes of Southeastern Guide Dogs, a Tampa Bay-based organization that breeds, trains and places service dogs with people who need them. Puppies begin training at Southeastern Guide Dogs’ 33-acre facility in Palmetto within days of birth. At 10 weeks, they’re sent home with a volunteer puppy raiser to learn basic obedience, house manners and socialization. For Bolt, being raised by a Tampa Bay Lightning employee brought unique experiences. “Bolt’s favorite part about growing up at the arena was playing on the ice,” Talamantes says. Bolt taught himself to “skate” like Stamkos and Kucherov and never missed a home game. He grew accustomed to the ubiquitous sights and sounds of Lightning hockey: the ear-splitting goal horn, thunderous organ, dramatic lightning f lashes and exuberant fans. Talamantes says that exposure to the action also taught Bolt to remain unruff led around large equipment like the Zambonis, calm near the mascot, Thunderbug, composed for the many ‘people greetings’ he did with fans, and quiet and obedient on T V sets for interviews. Several weeks ago, Bolt left the arena and headed back to Southeastern Guide Dogs’ campus to begin rigorous, formal training. Once he graduates, he will be matched with a compatible human partner.

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“The humans seem very excited about this shiny new water bowl” - @boltspup, Bolt's Instagram

RACHEL WEEKS + PLUM “I used a cane prior to having her, and a cane can’t comfort you, but a dog can,” says Lakewood Ranch resident Rachel Weeks of her guide dog, Plum. The single mother of two whose hearing and vision are impaired due to a genetic condition was paired with her “adventure buddy” three years ago. “When I start to stress out in a situation, I just reach down and I know I’m OK, I’m good. I’ve got somebody right here next to me.” Plum guides Weeks through every thing from crossing streets to navigating busy airports. The loyal Lab also accompanies her to work at the Southeastern campus, where Weeks assists fellow service dog recipients, including people with vision loss, veterans with disabilities and children who’ve lost a parent in the military. “All the veterans that we serve, we haven’t lost one to suicide, which is quite remarkable,” says Weeks. “There’s a high rate of depression and obesity within the vision-impaired community, and I have found that graduates start riding their bike more or getting out more… They’re healthier and happier since getting their dogs.” Service dogs work for about 10 years, then live out the rest of their lives as regular pets. When Plum retires, Weeks says she will apply for a successor dog. To her, life without a canine companion is unimaginable. “It would be very hard. It would not be near as joyous,” she says, tearing up. “It’s really the only way to navigate through life.”

Rachel Weeks with her two daughters and guide dog, Plum.

Southeastern Guide Dogs offers its services 100% free of charge to recipients and is entirely funded by private donations. Visit to support the organization by becoming a volunteer puppy raiser, hosting a breeder dog, sponsoring a puppy, participating in annual Walkathons or fundraising.

WANT TO RAISE A PUPPY? Being a Southeastern Guide Dogs puppy raiser means sharing your life and home with a puppy-in-training for a little over a year. Providing abundant TLC is the main requirement, but volunteers must also be willing to invest their time and financial resources by committing to training, attending regular meetings and paying for non-veterinary expenses like food, toys and flea control.



Love a puppy. Make a difference. Sponsor a puppy for $19 a month for yourself or as a gift.


Sign up at or call 800.833.9138. NOVEMBER 2020

See All Things With Your Heart, Not Just Your Eyes

Standing Horse (detail), China, Han Dynasty (206 A.D.–220 B.C), Earthenware with traces of pigment, Gift of Dr. David and Enid Owens




HOME is where the Heart is

"The idea of this industrial-themed bedroom came from one of our favorite local restaurants, Three Bulls. We visit there frequently and one day I thought, 'How cool would it be to make my son's big boy room look like this place?' And that’s exactly what I did! The restaurant has wood and brick feature walls everywhere, lots of pipe shelving and even a big greenery wall which is why I added the pops of green in the space. Both of my boys think it’s so fun that his room looks like the restaurant and apparently now think all bedrooms are inspired by restaurants."

Lindsay Dean with her husband Ryan and sons Aiden, 4, and Owen, 3.

by Tampa Bay Parenting, photos by Howie Mac Photography

If 2020 has taught us any thing, it’s how to get comfortable at home, like it or not. For many of us, it has been tackling the projects at home we’ve long put off. Instagram influencer Lindsay Dean of @frills_and_drills caught our eye during the pandemic quarantine with her beautiful home projects, and even projects for friends and family! We knew we had to get to know her a little better and find out what inspired this Tampa Bay mama to pick up the drill and DIY!

FOLLOW LINDSAY: or on Instagram: @frills_and_drills

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TBP: TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND FRILLS AND DRILLS. HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START? Dean: I started about 10 years ago when my husband and I purchased our first home together. We were newlyweds, fresh out of college with no budget for home renovations or upgrades. Pinterest was really becoming popular at the time and I was determined to have my home look “Pinterest worthy” despite not having the funds. I asked my dad if I could borrow his miter saw one day and the rest is history! I used the saw to build my very first project - a DIY headboard, followed by new baseboards in our guest room. I became addicted and never gave his saw back!

More influencers we love to follow who are sharing brilliant DIY ideas for the home: JACKI QUINONES @crazylifewithlittles Jacki's DIY magnetic chalkboard is so cute next to her kids' desk!

TBP: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE DIY PROJECTS? Dean: Oh boy, I have so many favorites. I would have to say my laundry room is one of my overall favorite projects because it encompasses so many different projects in one small space. I did everything from building all of the cabinets from scratch (my first time ever), tiling the entire back wall, building a countertop and f loating shelves, and adding a light fixture and accessories.

TBP: WHAT HAS THE EXPERIENCE BEEN LIKE SHARING YOUR WORK AND EXPERTISE WITH THOUSANDS OF OTHERS? Dean: It’s hard to fathom if I’m being honest! On one hand it feels like I’m chatting with a single friend, but on the other side I remind myself it’s actually like I’m talking to a football stadium full of people. And it’s strange because sometimes I really don’t feel qualified to be giving tutorials on all the projects I do. I have no education or background in DIY/home improvement and honestly just make it up and figure it out as I go. Google and YouTube are my best friends! But that’s my main mission—to let others know that if I, a-stay-at-home mom, can do it, so can you!

TBP: 2020 IS THE YEAR OF HOME. RIGHT? Dean: 100%! I’ve been saying this long before the pandemic, but you spend so

KIM BUI @xomyhome Best IKEA KALLA X hack ever! Check out the media console in her Instagram highlights to see how she did it.

much time in your home and it should be a place you absolutely love. On any budget! And this year that rings true more than ever. Since we haven’t really been able to go many places, it’s been such a productive year for me and so many others to chip away at that honey-do list. I’ve seen so many become inspired and make beautiful changes to their home this year, and it just makes me so happy!

TBP: YOU ARE ALSO A MOM FIGURING OUT WORK/LIFE BALANCE. HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC IMPACTED YOUR FAMILY? Dean: Just like everyone else, it has been a challenge. My husband has been working from home while I’m trying to keep screaming toddlers from yelling in the background of his conference calls! And throw in simultaneously working on some sort of project to share with my audience…it’s been a six-pin juggling act for everyone this year and I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes one (or four!) of the pins is on the ground at any given moment!


Dean's DIY bathroom makeover is stunning!

adds so much value and character to your home. Whether you want to start with stenciling a wall, wallpaper or the all-famous shiplap, I think they’re all possible and inexpensive options for any family! The hardest part is starting. Once you get over that hump, you feel so empowered and realize that it’s JUST a wall. You learn so much and it’s just a fun experience overall.

TBP: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT LIVING IN TAMPA BAY? Dean: We’ve been in Tampa since 2013 now and what I love most is that our family is here. We’ve lived in other cities and even states and there’s no place like home! My husband grew up here in the Tampa area and is a Tampa fan through and through! We love living in the burbs but only being 25-45 minutes from anything and everything big cities have to offer. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else! NOVEMBER 2020


the perks of being floridian by Natassja Prose of @proseandcompany

Living in Tampa Bay, we’re fortunate that so many vacation-worthy spots are just a short drive away. A weekend can turn into a wonderful opportunity for exploring and family bonding. But is it safe to venture out yet? Everyone’s situation and level of comfort will differ. However, I can tell you from the contactless check-in, enhanced cleaning and the increased safety measures in our hotel and in the attractions we visited, we felt extremely safe and had a great weekend getaway to Orlando. Thanks to, we found great Florida resident deals for attractions we could explore outside of theme parks. Did you know there’s a garden in Orlando that is often referred to as a dinosaur garden? With many plants dating back to the prehistoric age, the dinosaur garden inside The Harry P. Leu Gardens was just one of the neat discoveries that we made. It was easy to maintain social distance from others and enjoy the beautiful change of scenery. It quickly became my new favorite!

Natassja with her husband, Mike, and sons Jack, 9, and Max, 6, at the Hilton Orlando.

Another attraction we all enjoyed was The Crayola Experience. The kids made their own crayons and even mined for gems at Purple Mountain Mining inside the Trading Post. Every station was cleaned after each family, and while we waited, we learned Crayola trivia. Did you know that in 1903, the first 8-count crayon box was only 5 cents? We didn’t either!

The Crayola Experience

Many offers are available now exclusively to Floridians, not only for attractions, but for hotels too. As moms, we often take on the added worry about safety, and I can honestly say as an avid worrier (raise your hand if that’s you too) I felt completely confident and safe with the enhanced cleaning and frequent sanitizing I witnessed while staying at the Hilton Orlando. I appreciated the capacity limits and social distance planning they put forth in the pool area especially. We loved f loating down the lazy river at the Hilton. I was really able to relax and enjoy quality family time. When the time is right for you, I hope you’ll plan a little getaway of your very own! It’s helpful to plan and purchase tickets online, as most attractions are going contactless at checkout. Of course, face masks are required at all times. We make the best family memories when we travel. With the enhanced safety measures and the cooler temperatures coming in, it might be the perfect time to plan a weekend away for your family! Harry P. Leu Gardens

FLORIDA RESIDENT OFFERS THROUGH VISITORLANDO.COM: ★ Crayola Experience: Tickets for $19.99 are available on ★ WonderWorks Orlando: Florida residents tickets are $15 per person for WonderWorks All Access. The ticket includes over 100 interactive exhibits to explore. ★ Harry P. Leu Gardens: Tickets are $10 adult, $5 child (ages 4-17). ★ Hilton Orlando: Save up to 20% on your next getaway. This Dream Away rate includes early check-in and late check-out based on hotel availability and f lexible cancellation and is valid for stays now through Dec. 31, 2020.

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WonderWorks Orlando

NOV. 21 - JAN. 3

Make new memories every night at Busch Gardens Christmas Town






*EZpay available to Florida Residents only. Proof of a Florida residential address (non-PO box) is required (valid Florida driver’s license or valid Florida state-issued ID card with a Florida address). Credit card holder must be over the age of 18. Once your initial 12-month EZpay commitment is satisfied, your Pass will continue and your credit card will be charged on a monthly basis, subject to your right to cancel at any time. SEA reserves the right to change your monthly payment amount after the expiration of the initial term. Please refer to EZpay contract for full terms and conditions. Price does not include taxes or service fees and is subject to change without prior notice. Benefits and pricing vary by Pass type. Annual Pass term starts on date of purchase. Following initial term, please check our website for the current benefits and rewards. Benefits are valid only at park(s) of membership and are subject to availability, change or cancellation without prior notice. Annual Pass includes unlimited admission during the initial 12-month commitment and any renewal period. Does not include admission to select special events (including Howl-O-Scream®). Parking not included and blockout dates apply for Fun Card or Bronze Annual Pass. Free Guest Ticket: Valid for Silver, Gold, and FL Platinum Passes. Quantity based on tier of Pass. Limited per Pass Member per initial term to your choice of (one) 1 park of membership excluding Discovery Cove. Parking not included. Ticket must be used on the day printed. Discounted Guest Tickets: Valid for Silver, Gold, and FL Platinum Passes. Quantity based on tier of Pass. Savings based on full-paid adult single-day admission and valid per park(s) of membership per initial term. Ticket must be used on the day printed. Free PhotoKey Annual Digital Photo Downloads: Valid for Gold and FL Platinum Passes. Valid at SeaWorld & Aquatica Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Limit 1 Free Photo Print per Platinum Pass Member. Limit 1 per initial term. Free Animal Encounter: Valid for Gold and FL Platinum Passes. Limit 1 (one) free animal encounter per Pass Member per initial term. Includes a Dolphin Encounter at SeaWorld Orlando or a Serengeti Safari at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Based on availability. Pass Member must visit Guest Services at the park to make reservations the same day that the reward is redeemed from the self-service kiosk. Animal encounter may be booked for the same day as visit or for a later date pending availability. Online or phone reservations are not available at this time. Other restrictions apply. © 2020 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.








Shop for a Cause at The Junior League of Tampa’s

Holiday Gift Market by Suzy Mesmer

Now, more than ever, our community needs our support. With the holiday season upon us, The Junior League of Tampa (JLT) looks to help local businesses and small business owners while giving back to the area’s nonprofits. Since 2004, JLT has put more than $2 million back into the community through its annual Holiday Gift Market (HGM). With more than 16,000 in attendance at the Florida State Fairgrounds last year, the HGM Committee was tasked with reimagining the traditionally week-long November event in the face of the global pandemic. “This is The Junior League of Tampa’s largest fundraiser for our community projects and programs,” says Laura Walsh, HGM 2020 co-chair. “With COVID-19, we’ve seen a huge increase in requests for diapers, food and other resources.” This year, HGM is going virtual with a month-long shopping event. Shop anytime, anywhere, from your desktop or mobile device. Tickets are on sale now at $8-10 for the HGM Online Marketplace Early Access Week Nov. 14 - 20. You can shop through Dec. 13. Discover unique items from a variety of local small business merchants that include apparel, home and holiday décor, gourmet food and cookware, children’s gifts and giftable services. More than 100 merchants will be selling goods and services through a cutting-edge platform at Since 2014, one new merchant is selected each year for JLT’s Young Entrepreneurship Program (YEP). The program aims to grow the potential, leadership and inf luence of female business owners in our region. The 2020 YEP winner is Marisol Arias, owner of Sustainable Market Place—an organization that helps Latin American women, who are paid a fair wage, promote and sell eco-friendly, handmade purses, jewelry and homeware. “This recognition confirms other women leaders in the community believe and support our cause,” says Arias. “We will work towards representing The Sustainable Market Place and our artisanal women to the highest level while at the same time being a leader and example to other young entrepreneurs.” The award winner receives premium media promotion, a $3,000 grant from the Dorothea Adell Tinsley family foundation to grow her business, and six months of mentorship and training from The Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre. Previous winners include the owners of ElleLace Creations, Pawz Publishing, Old City Calligraphy, Base Culture and Southern Doe. Says 2017 YEP winner, Lisbeth Pacheco of Ethos Coffee Roasters: “Our coffee sales doubled after the event, and we have been growing ever since!” HGM includes both ticketed private events as well public events open to all. Virtual events will include merchant shopping videos, Zoom with Santa, Corks for a Cause wine tastings, cooking events and more. JLT develops the potential of women leaders as well-trained volunteers, proactively engaging with community-based organizations, governmental entities, businesses and other funders to improve child welfare and education in Hillsborough and Pasco Counties through its 10 community projects. “The more you shop, the more you’ll support many wonderful local nonprofits!” says Hayley Reteneller, HGM 2020 Co-Chair.

2020 YEP winner, Marisol Arias, owner of Sustainable Market Place


EARLY ACCESS TICKETS: Advance purchase discount is $8 until Nov. 1. With Early Access Tickets, you'll have first entry with exclusive access to claim the best items before they sell out! Remember, 100% of ticket sales go back to support The Junior League of Tampa's community projects. Tickets are free (or rather open to all) after the Early Access Week, but we are encouraging the early ticket price.

EVENTS: See below for a list of our current events. We will continue to add events as we go such as shopping videos with merchants and virtual cooking classes. Visit to stay up to date! Corks for a Cause: $100 (multiple time slots, Nov. 14 and Nov. 18-20) It’s time to sip, shop and give! Join us for Corks for a Cause, a Holiday Gift Market wine tasting fundraising event. Learn about and experience wines in the comfort of your home while socializing with friends near and far. Your ticket includes four bottles of wine shipped to you and a virtual tasting. Zoom With Santa: $30 (multiple time slots, Nov. 14 and 15) Santa will visit with your family for a 10-minute private Zoom session from the comfort of your own screen. This is a ticketed event and includes a special event bag with a Santa letter and cookie kit. The Santa Zoom Event bag must be picked up prior to your designated Zoom time at The Junior League of Tampa headquarters, 87 Columbia Drive. Tickets are purchased for an approximate Zoom time. Exact time within the hour will be communicated 48 hours prior to the scheduled Zoom with Santa. Santa Grams: $10 Send a message from Santa to your children, friends and family, or prank someone! We will record Santa saying your personalized message and will send it to you via email video file by Dec. 1. Maximum cameo length is 125 words. Santa may add in “Ho Ho Hos,” “Merry Christmas” and other ‘Santa-isms' at his discretion. Win the Spin Peloton Giveaway! Spoil your workout routine with a brand new Peloton bike, delivered directly to you! The Peloton bike brings you the most convenient and immersive indoor cycling experience, streaming daily live classes directly into your home. Donation for a raffle entry is a suggested $20 per entry. Sign up by Nov. 20. *Enter to win a Peloton Bike includes Peloton Bike and (3) months of Peloton All-Access Membership. Raffle sponsored by the Junior League of Tampa and prize provided by Laura Walsh Events, LLC. Winner will be chosen on November 20, 2020 at 6:00 PM EST at The Junior League of Tampa Headquarters, 87 Columbia Drive, Tampa, FL 33606. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Restrictions apply. Full rules online at Void where prohibited.




Season of Giving

by Anu Varma Panchal, photos provided by Feeding Tampa Bay

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, nothing is more needed than a helping hand. However, area social service agencies are reporting higher needs, but reduced numbers of volunteers. Not only have many people lost their livelihoods and businesses during the pandemic, many volunteers tend to be older and therefore at higher risk for COVID-19, which means they are unable to continue showing up for the valuable work they do that keeps these organizations ticking. Despite COVID-19 regulations, there are many ways you and your family can volunteer to help others in our community. Kids of all ages can help sort donations, drive to drop off meals, clean agency spaces or organize collection drives. Teenagers can also collect volunteer hours needed for graduation. “We simply could not address the need without the help of our volunteer force,” says Shannon Hannon Oliviero, external affairs officer at Feeding Tampa Bay. “Our neighbors need us more than ever before.”



SHOW UP: The following agencies are still accepting in-person volunteers, although many have mask and social distancing guidelines in place.



With the expectation of serving up to 40,000 families across five counties this holiday season, volunteers are needed to work in the kitchens; distribute food boxes; sort items and serve customers in the Thrift Store; help maintain the campus and help resident families; and participate in the organization’s annual Holiday Tent. Kids as young as 8 can participate in some of the activities, though you have to be at least 14 to volunteer without an adult. You’ll need a mask, get a temperature check and be socially distanced during your volunteering.

Since 1947, the Marine Corps has donated millions of toys to children through the Toys for Tots Program. Families can volunteer by organizing toy drives in their community and bringing the toys to the warehouse or by sorting toys at the warehouse for distribution. Around mid-November is when the need for volunteers really kicks up. Children ages 5-14 need to be supervised by someone over 18, while those over 15 may be unsupervised with permission and signed waivers. tampa-f

FEEDING TAMPA BAY Nearly 700 volunteers help this organization provide 2 million meals per week to 10 counties. Volunteers as young as 5 can help sort food at the warehouse with an accompanying adult. Those 16 and above can sign up themselves (or with a friend or school group) and can also serve at the organization’s Trinity Café. COVID-19 precautions include temperature check points at entrances, social distancing, handwashing and sanitizing stations.

KIDS HELPING KIDS PASCO COUNTY Local mom Michelle Patel’s organization encourages kids to give back to their community by preparing and donating food and backpacks of school supplies. This holiday season, the organization will host a Thanksgiving Drive Sunday, Nov. 22 in Land O’ Lakes. Restrictions will be in place to maintain social distancing and keep everyone safe. Families are welcome to volunteer and must sign up for a specific time slot in order to limit crowds. Follow to learn more about other volunteer opportunities, including a Christmas toy and food drive in December.

22 NOVEMBER 2020

HUMANE SOCIETY OF TAMPA BAY If your little ones love animals and want to give back, here’s the perfect organization for your family to look into. Children ages 5 to 12 can read to animals in the Paws for Literacy program. Children under 16 can volunteer with a parent or guardian to walk dogs, play with cats and clean kennels. Everyone is required to have their temperature taken upon entry and wear face masks. Volunteers can also collect items from the organization’s wish list to donate. become-a-volunteer

MEALS ON WHEELS TAMPA This organization needs volunteers to help deliver nutritious meals to seniors who live independently but may have trouble getting food. Because many regular volunteers are older and high-risk, and because many corporate volunteers now work remotely, the organization is facing sudden declines in volunteer numbers. There are routes all over Tampa Bay to choose from, and drivers will make contactless deliveries at the door. Children riding with their parents will not only learn a valuable lesson in giving but can brighten a senior’s day with a wave and a friendly word from a safe distance. Those 18 and above can drive their own routes and get community service hours.


ORGANIZE A DRIVE: Some organizations aren’t open to volunteers at this time but are accepting donations of necessary items.

THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF TAMPA DIAPER BANK The only diaper bank in Hillsborough County is best served by organizing a diaper drive. Host a “diaper drop” location at home, at a school or daycare or even a community location like dance class, soccer or art class. JLT’s Diaper Bank works with community partners including Metropolitan Ministries, Champions for Children, Children's Home Network, The Spring and many more.

BABYCYCLE Pinellas County’s community diaper bank provides diapers, wipes, clean clothing and other necessities such as toiletries, bottles and diaper bags to agencies around the county who then distribute them to needy families. babycyclef

OASIS NETWORK This grassroots, volunteer-driven organization serves at-risk and low-income Hillsborough County public school students, more than 60 percent of whom qualif y for free and reduced lunches, and 4,700 who are identified as homeless. OASIS provides them with clothes, shoes and personal hygiene items. To find out how to collect and donate items, visit


DONATE TO: Whether small or large, sometimes an inf lux of cash is the best way to help an organization.

RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES OF TAMPA BAY This organization provides a place to stay, meals and support for families whose children are undergoing medical treatments. Four houses (three in St. Pete and one in Tampa) offer 80 bedrooms and private baths. Dedicated volunteers provide the services that help make this a home away from home for families. Because volunteers are currently unable to come in and cook, the charity is experiencing financial strain trying to feed all its beneficiaries. Brenyn Stoyanov, director of operations, says donations through the agency’s Amazon wish list, direct donations and partnering with Amazon Smile are all ways that will help the charity help families this year. -----------------------------------------------------These are just a handful of local organizations that offer opportunities. Don’t forget to check in with your school’s PTAs and PTSAs for things you can do, as well as houses of worship, local hospitals, groups making masks and face shields and those working for voting and election causes.



FestiveTable How to make your kids table pop this Thanksgiving by Alyssa Rhoads, Kids Collective Party Rentals

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, Kid Collective Party Rentals offers tips on decorating your kid’s table so it not only looks beautiful, but also helps keep your kids entertained, ensuring a pleasant Thanksgiving meal for all.


Start with a kid-sized table and chairs for your little guests. The children will be excited to see a table especially for them. Kids Collective Party Rentals offers custom-made wooden tables and a variety of kid-sized chairs.


We’re all about making your kids table just as beautiful as the adults table and coordinating the looks for a cohesive feel. Begin with a decorative table runner and add arrangements down the center in varying heights. Use pumpkins and fall colors to give it that holiday feel.


Charger plates or placemats are a great way to add more color to your table and make each place setting pop. Even the littlest diners will enjoy an extra splash of color.


Depending on the age of the kids seated at your table, consider disposable plates and cutlery. There are some really stylish and modern options to choose from and it helps cut back on all those dishes to clean after your big meal.


Just because they’re little doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate the formality of a place card. This DIY glittered pumpkin place card is a great way to wow your guests. They also serve as small keepsakes for the kiddos.


Think off the table when it comes to where you can add decorations. The backs of chairs can be festooned with fun wooden leaves and mini wreaths for an extra wow. Kid Collective Party Rentals offers unique and stylish kids party rentals, décor, props and slumber party tents. Email to book your event!


24 NOVEMBER 2020

DÉCOR WITH PURPOSE | Thanksgiving is a great time to gather with family and reminisce about every thing we are thankful for. While adults are chatting, this turkey craft from Amazon is a great way to keep your kids occupied. When they are finished, have them go around the table and share what they are thankful for, and ensure that everyone around the table has a Happy Thanksgiving!


Create Lasting Memories and Friendships For Life!

Quitting tobacco isn’t easy. Finding help should be. Tobacco Free Florida offers free tools and services to help you get started.

USF Area Health Education Center

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, quitting is more important than ever!


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Every First Saturday of the Month 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

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26 NOVEMBER 2020

Escape Casey Key Resort

Safe Travels by Lauren Gay of

Holiday planning this year presents some unique challenges due to concerns about the pandemic and doing our best to keep our families safe. The decision to travel this year is a very personal choice. Only you can decide what is best for your family and your situation. However, if you do decide that you’re ready to hit the road, I have some tips to help you travel as safely as possible.

TAKE A ROAD TRIP TO YOUR DESTINATION Driving to your destination is relatively safe if you are driving your own vehicle. If you are renting a vehicle be sure to ask the rental company about their safety and sanitization measures. Sanitize the vehicle with disinfectant spray and wipes. Use gloves and wear a mask at gas stations. If you stop to use the restroom, use disposable paper napkins to protect your fingers when you touch any surface. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer.

SANITIZE YOUR SPACE I was already a germaphobe so bringing cleaning supplies is my norm. If you didn’t already sanitize your space when traveling, consider bringing gloves, disinfectant wipes and spray, and cleaning every single surface that anyone may touch. It is time consuming but worth it for your peace of mind and health of your family.

STAY SAFE DURING YOUR FLIGHT If driving is not an option and you must fly, wear a visor or eye covering with a mask during the flight. When you go through airport security, bag your belongings that will go on the belt and touch other surfaces, then dispose of those bags afterward. Wear a covering over your socks like paper shoe covers. Pack seat covers and wipe down all surfaces of your space. Also, place any carry-ons that you will place on the floor in a plastic bag that can be disposed of after the flight.

PRACTICE GENERAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ADVICE If you choose to travel during this time, be sure to check the guidelines and quarantine mandates of your destination beforehand. If you can, get tested for COVID-19 within a week to 72 hours of the trip to ensure you will not get anyone else sick at your destination or during your travels. Wear masks in public spaces at the destination, practice social distancing and avoid large crowds. Outdoor eating is safer than dining inside and of course, take-out is always still the safest option for eating out.

CHOOSE A HOTEL OR VACATION RENTAL WITH GOOD SAFETY MEASURES Call or check the website of any property prior to booking to be sure the sanitization and safety measures are enough for your level of comfort. If you are driving to a destination, you can also bring your own pillows, linens and towels as an extra measure of precaution. I recently stayed at the Westin Tampa Waterside as part of a partnership with Visit Florida, and I was impressed with their safety measures. This four-star hotel provided safety measures like: ● Signs and labels on the ground to encourage social distancing ● Plexiglass at the reservation desk ● Self-cleaning elevator buttons using nanotech ● Masks required in common areas and elevators ● TV remote in the room sealed with a plastic cover that is replaced for every guest ● Policy that prohibits hotel staff from entering the room while guests are present If a vacation rental is your preferred accommodation, many of those are taking great strides to create a safe environment as well. Escape Casey Key Resort in Nokomis was my home away from home for a recent road trip. Their safety protocols are excellent and include: ● Masks worn by all staff ● A no-contact rule between staff and guests ● Consistent and very regular cleaning of public surfaces ● Rooms treated with electrostatic disinfecting spray (the same method used by the Marriott and Hyatt hotel chains) ● Hand sanitizer available throughout public areas ● Separate exterior entry to each unit ● HEPA MERV 13 air filters used in AC Systems (the same filters that used in most hospitals) ● Employee temperatures taken at the beginning of each work day NOVEMBER 2020


Scam-Proof Your Holiday Shopping by Andrew Warren, Hillsborough State Attorney

AVOID COPYCAT WEBSITES As State Attorney and as a former federal prosecutor, I’ve seen all types of internet scams. One of the most common is “phishing.” This usually involves fake emails that convince victims to send their personal information. These scams have increased almost 65% since 2019. Many phishing scammers may attempt to steal your personal or credit card information using tactics like copycat websites that are ohso-close replicas of a company’s real website. These schemes often lure in victims with false “reward points” for seasonal discounts, or websites nearly identical to services you use—luring you in with a false sense of security. Avoid scams like this by carefully checking any email addresses or websites you’re directed to use, since the crooks work so hard to make their fake emails and websites look like the real thing.

CONSIDER HOW YOU PAY These days, there are more ways to pay than ever before—which also means more ways to get scammed than ever before. While most credit cards have fraud protection built-in by law, the same can’t always be said for online institutions such as PayPal, Venmo and Cash app, all popular companies for online transactions. Internet anti-fraud software by Norton or Kaspersky often includes a protected browser to ensure your personal details remain personal. Also, now more than ever, check bank statements regularly for any odd or irregular purchases.

INTERNET AUCTION FRAUD The legal jargon term for internet auction fraud is “a misrepresentation of a product on sale.” This means what you buy doesn’t match up with what was displayed online. These scams are often paired with “non-delivery” fraud—when you pay for something but never receive it. You can stop auction fraud by checking whether the seller (an independent person or an online store) has a large number of good reviews and comments from past customers. Get in contact with them if they’re an independent seller or find their location of business and check with the Better Business Bureau. To help you get your money back if there’s a problem, do use credit cards or secure online services like PayPal, and don’t use wire transfers or share your bank account and routing numbers.


28 NOVEMBER 2020 Marta Shershen

The holidays are coming up, which means juggling ever yday life with that growing to-do list of shopping for gifts, sending cards and connecting with the people you love. It’s wonderful to celebrate, but it’s a lot to manage. As a father of two young girls, I know balancing ever y thing this time of year can be tough. And as a prosecutor, I want to help make your gift shopping as safe as possible. Here are three different ways to scam-proof your holiday shopping.





5550 West Executive Drive #200 Tampa, FL 33609 813.269.0955 | EIN # 59-3097333 | CFC # 43259 NOVEMBER 2020



There’s Always time for STEAM

(Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) by Janet White, Director of Education, photos provided by MOSI

Do your kids dream of being astronauts, engineers or chemists? Do they love to get messy and experiment? The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) is full of fun, hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) activities for all ages. Whether you want to come in person for programs, experience them digitally or check out ideas that you can use at home, MOSI is ready to go full STEAM ahead! Children are naturally curious and MOSI offers many ways to engage and foster that curiosity. Due to COVID-19, MOSI has pivoted to provide safe interactions with our guests in a variety of ways. Check out some of our programs and see what works best for your family, either in-person or virtually. All in-person MOSI programs follow CDC guidelines to keep campers and staff safe.





MOSI’s school break camps bring STEA M alive through hands-on experiments and building projects. From coding robots to launching rockets, check out our camps offered over Thanksgiving break, winter break and spring break.

Not able to take a trip to MOSI? Let MOSI come to you... virtually! MOSI is offering live, interactive, virtual STEA M programs led by fun and engaging MOSI educators via Zoom. Topics include forensic science, health and space.


HOMESCHOOL PROGRAMS Enhance your homeschool curriculum with MOSI as your child engages through hands-on, inquiry-based programs. Each monthly theme encourages children to participate in experiments, group activities, problem solving, collaboration and critical thinking.

MINECRAFT MANIA SATURDAYS Join us for Minecraft Mania Saturdays and play on custom-designed worlds and scenarios found only at MOSI. Each week will feature a new adventure where you will learn useful tips and tricks.

OUTREACH PROGRAMS Let the MOSI in MOTION mobile science lab bring field trips to you. Immerse your learners in STEA M through hands-on workshops that fit right into your daily schedule and curriculum. Chemistry, rocketry, geology, human body, robots and weather are just a few of the programs that can be directly correlated to the standards you teach.

Looking for ways to earn badges in STEA M topics like robotics, movie making or mechanical engineering? MOSI offers those and so many more. All workshops are led by experienced, knowledgeable and engaging counselors.

MOSI-IN-A-BOX MOSI-in-a-Box is packed to the brim with hands-on, minds-on STEA M activities that you facilitate when you want, where you want and how you want. Borrow, use and return— we take care of the rest! MOSI-in-a-Box includes four to six themed activities per box, a fresh supply of consumable materials, cleaning supplies to sanitize equipment between uses and training guides and background information for facilitators.

FAMILY WORKSHOPS Check out our monthly family workshops to build and experiment as a team! Build rockets, create your own invention in our maker space or explore the great outdoors in our backwoods. Each workshop is designed to encourage parent/child interaction.

SKYWATCH During this free monthly event for the whole family, come look through our telescopes into the night sky and chat with our MOSI astronomers about what you are seeing.

Whether you choose in person or virtual experiences, MOSI’s hands-on activities will encourage your child to actively observe, ask questions, touch, smell, build and experiment. Hands-on, inquiry-based science helps children learn strategies that will help them solve complex challenges in the future.










4 8 0 1 E A S T F O W L E R AV E • TA M P A • 8 1 3 - 9 8 7 - 6 0 0 0 • M O S I . O R G MOSI is a leader in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives by making science real. NOVEMBER 2020 31

Christian Values


Small Class Sizes


BAYSHORECHRISTIANSCHOOL.ORG (813) 839-4297 3909 South MacDill Avenue Tampa, FL 33611

Academic Excellence

2021 Enrollment Now Open!

Learn more about the Academy at the Lakes experience by visiting our new website and see why You Matter Here.

PreK3 – Grade 12 | 813-909-7919 32 NOVEMBER 2020

Your Guide to:

Ta m pa BayArea Schools The Tampa Bay area is lucky to have such a wealth of incredible private, charter and magnet education options making it easy to find the perfect school for your child. ACADEMY AT THE LAKES

2331 Collier Parkway, Land O’ Lakes 34639 813-909-7919; Academy at the Lakes is an independent, non-denominational college preparatory school located in Land O'Lakes. Offering grades PreK3-12, Academy is a learning community of shared values dedicated to the success of each individual. Academy at the Lakes celebrates the love of learning and the joy in the journey.

Enrollment: 475 Class-size: 7 Grades: PreK3-12 Tuition: $12,300$25,250

ACADEMY OF THE HOLY NAMES 3319 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa 33629 813-839-5371;

Enrollment: 970

The Academy of the Holy Names empowers students to be authentic individuals who engage in independent thought, are inspired by creativity and lead culturally aware, spiritually rich lives. Our innovative approach to curriculum integrates technology, encourages artistic expression and actively engages students in exploration and inquiry.

Grades: PreK-8 Coed, 9-12 All Girls

Class-size: varies by division.

Tuition: $13,000 (PreK) to $20,730 (High School)

ADMIRAL FARRAGUT ACADEMY 501 Park St. N., St. Petersburg 33710 727-384-5500;

Admiral Farragut Academy is a co-ed, private PreK-12 school that offers boarding for grades 8-12. Farragut offers more than just an education—it’s an experience, a journey, a launch point for life. The student body represents an average of 32 countries and 17 U.S. states. Signature programs include aviation, marine science, scuba, sailing, engineering, NJROTC and leadership. Summer day and boarding camps also offered. Discover what only Farragut students can experience.

Enrollment: 500 Class-size: 17:1 Grades: PreK-12 Tuition: $13,000$50,000


5995 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S., St. Petersburg 33705 727-310-8243;

Enrollment: 140

Alegria Montessori School is an authentic Montessori program that creates a rich learning environment and supports individual development. We are also a bilingual program, with students receiving Spanish instruction throughout the week from native Spanish speakers. We offer a true Montessori education through middle school. Come discover the joy of Montessori.

Grades: age 1 to grade 8

Class-size: Small class sizes in elementary and middle school Tuition: Varies depending on age


3909 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa 33611 813-839-4297; Bayshore Christian School is a college preparatory, accredited, non-denominational Christian school serving students 2 years old through 12th grade. Founded in 1971, Bayshore Christian School is located on 10 acres in residential South Tampa. BCS provides athletics and fine arts opportunities in addition to a rigorous and challenging academic curriculum.

Enrollment: 250 Class-size: 10 Grades: K2-12 Tuition: $8,860-$10,800


13221 Boyette Road, Riverview 33569 813-793-6075; A tuition-free public charter school proudly serving grades 6-12, Bell Creek provides a well-rounded college preparatory education. The challenging and rigorous curriculum includes a special concentration on math and science, a technology-rich atmosphere and a focus on character development. We are an “A” rated Florida School of Excellence offering the Cambridge Program for Advanced Studies and an award-winning athletic program and are Cognia accredited. KEY



financial aid



Grades: 6-12 Tuition: FREE



EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section BERKELEY PREPARATORY SCHOOL 4811 Kelly Road, Tampa 33615 813-885-1673;

Enrollment: 1,386

In Berkeley Preparatory School’s safe, nurturing environment, inspiring teaching, engaged parents and alumni and incomparable facilities come together on a beautiful campus. Our broad curricular and extracurricular program serves a diverse community of learners who relish a supportive culture, the school’s Episcopal identity, its ongoing commitment to continual self-improvement and a deeply authentic dedication to making a positive difference in the world.

Class-size: 20 Grades: PreK-12 Tuition: $18,370-$27,750

BISHOP MCLAUGHLIN CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL 13651 Hays Road, Spring Hill 34610 727-857-2600;

Enrollment: 350

Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School provides a Christ-centered education that nurtures the development of the whole person. Bishop has a 100% graduation rate and a 100% college-acceptance rate. We are the number one college-prep, private high school in Pasco County as ranked by Niche. com and offer a wide variety of class options, sports and extracurricular activities.

Class-size: 20 Grades: 9-12 Tuition: $13,595


110 N. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater 33759 727-449-2247;

Enrollment: 675

Calvary offers an advanced college preparatory education in an environment where students are taught a Christian worldview with the Word of God being integrated into each subject. Calvary also offers many extra-curricular activities for your child including athletics, fine arts, SGA, clubs and leadership opportunities.

Class-size: 13:1 Grades: 9-12 Tuition: $13,800 + fees

CAMBRIDGE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 6101 N. Habana Ave., Tampa 33614 813-872-6744;

Enrollment: 690

Cambridge Christian is a college preparatory, Christian outreach school serving students 3 months through 12th grade. We are an award-winning, National Blue Ribbon 2020 school. Our goal is to partner with parents and the local church in the education of your children. This partnership provides a strong foundation for college and life. Visit us today!

Class-size: 17 Grades: 3 months through grade 12 Tuition: $8,000-$16,000

CANTERBURY SCHOOL OF FLORIDA 990 62nd Ave. NE, St. Petersburg 33702 727-521-5903;

Enrollment: 350

Canterbury School of Florida is a private, co-ed, college preparatory school on two campuses in Saint Petersburg serving ages 3 through grade 12. Founded in 1968, Canterbury School of Florida educates and nurtures the whole child in mind, body and spirit in preparation for college and an honorable life as a responsible steward of our world.

Class-size: 12 Grades: PreK3-12 Tuition: $6,000$22,000


Bearss Avenue Campus | 1515 W. Bearss Ave., Tampa 33613 Early Childhood Campus | 12606 Casey Road, Tampa 33618 813-920-2288;

Enrollment: 1,008 Class-size: Varies

Carrollwood Day School is a world class co-ed IB school in Tampa for college-bound students age 2 through 12th grade. CDS fosters the development of the entire student not only in academics, but also ethically, emotionally and through social experience. Our goal is to help students discover and develop their own talents and interests and use these to better the world and themselves.

Grades: Age 2 to grade 12 Tuition: $6,500$24,000


6710 86th Ave. N., Pinellas Park 33782 727-541-5716;

Enrollment: 90

Founded in 1968 and AdvancED accredited, Center Academy provides a small, safe setting to help students to focus, organize and learn. We work with students in grades 4-12 with ADHD and learning differences and accept McKay, Gardiner and Tax Credit Scholarships. Dual enrolment and summer programs are available.

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Class-size: 18 Grades: 4-12 Tuition: $12,680-$15,180


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YOU CAN AT CANTERBURY OPEN HOUSE Grades 5-12 Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021 PK3 - Grade 4 Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 Marine Studies | STEAM | College Counseling | Character Ed | Athletics | Theater 727-521-5903 NOVEMBER 2020


Countryside Christian HP

SUCCESS STARTS NOW The journey to and through college begins at a young age. From Kindergarten, to middle school, to high school—we’re dedicated to making sure that all children succeed every step of the way.

I am hungry for the success of my son, and so is IDEA. We both know that success starts now.” LATOYA SPEARS  Parent at IDEA Public Schools

IDEA Tampa Bay is now accepting applications for grades K, 1, 2 & 6!

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EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section CHANNELSIDE ACADEMY OF MATH & SCIENCE 1029 E. Twiggs St., Tampa 33602 813-579-9649;

Students at this tuition-free, public charter school receive a well-rounded college preparatory education. The challenging and rigorous curriculum includes a special concentration on math and science, a technology-rich atmosphere and a focus on character development preparing students for their secondary education and beyond. Offerings include the Cambridge program for Advanced Studies, Edvantage before and after school program, Tampa Bay’s Grasses in Classes Program and Cognia accreditation.

Grades: K-8 Tuition: FREE

CHRIST THE KING CATHOLIC SCHOOL 3809 W. Morrison Ave., Tampa 33629 813-876-8770;

Christ the King Catholic School offers an academically challenging PreK4 through 8th grade curriculum in a nurturing, Christ-centered environment. Our outstanding faculty, joyful campus and enriching academics provide students with a strong foundation of skills, compassion and confidence to excel at the area’s leading high schools.

Enrollment: 507 Class-size: 23 Grades: PreK4-8 Tuition: $8,230-$9,940


Toddler & Primary Campus, 4930 Webb Road, Tampa 33615; 813-886-2050 Elementary & Middle Campus, 8411 Civic Road, Tampa 33615; 813-886-3969 Community Montessori School provides a prepared environment that responds to the developmental needs of the child and cultivates the unique potential of each individual by adhering to Montessori principles. CMS is a warm, secure community with a high expectation for the quality of thought, work and mastery of content and skill.

Enrollment: 133 Class-size: Average 25 Grades: 18 months-15 years Tuition: $7,200-$10,700

CORBETT PREPARATORY SCHOOL OF IDS 12015 Orange Grove Drive, Tampa 33618 813-961-3087;

Founded 52 years ago, Corbett Prep offers the International Baccalaureate curriculum for all students. Teachers use research-based strategies to create hands-on learning experiences. Visual and performing arts, team sports and social-emotional learning curriculum align to develop confident, creative, innovative thinkers with character ready to contribute to the world in a meaningful, positive way.

Enrollment: 514 Class-size: Varies by grade (12-20) Grades: PreK3-8 Tuition: $12,890-$17,410


1850 N. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater 33759 727-799-1618 ext. 1901; Countryside Christian Academy’s mission is to provide excellence in Christian education while instilling Biblical principles in students’ lives that they might impact their society for Christ. Our program is fully accredited and well-balanced, encouraging the development of the whole child: spirit, soul (mind) and body.

Enrollment: 140 Class-size: 1:15 Grades: K5-8 Tuition: $9,000 + fees


5495 Pinellas Park Blvd., Pinellas Park 33781 727-542-6294; Covenant Academy offers a college preparatory and Christ-centered education in a safe, nurturing and engaging environment. We’re the only certified University-Model® school in Florida. Stimulating, character-based teaching is provided three days a week in the classroom paired with two days of home learning. We offer an award-winning art instructor, soccer program and music education by the Patel Conservatory.

Enrollment: 54 Class-size: 10 Grades: K-10, Dual enroll at grade 11. Tuition: $4250-$5150

DOWDELL MIDDLE MAGNET (ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES) 1208 Wishing Well Way, Tampa 33619 813-744-8322;

We bridge passion for the environment with real world learning. Students can take unique environmental and animal science electives. Students learn outdoors with our salt marsh grass nursery and land lab, and experience our hydroponics and aquaponics labs. Education at Dowdell is strengthened by our proud partnership with The Florida Aquarium.




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enrollment: 625 Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE



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Take a Break for Your Brain by Courtney Cairns Pastor, photo provided by Corbett Preparatory School of IDS

If you sit at a desk most of the day, you know that sometimes you have to get up and move. You may think it’s an indulgence to step away, but these brief breaks come with a surprising benefits. You’re more productive when you return. The same goes for your child. We’ve spent a lot of time in front of computer screens recently, Zooming to lessons, clubs, meetings and activities that we used to attend in person. Even students who have returned to school on campus may work on computers more than they used to, as teachers connect them with classmates who stayed at home, take them on digital field trips or arrange virtual visits with guest speakers. With so much sitting, it’s easy to start zoning out. Although it may seem counterintuitive, stepping away from your desk periodically can make you better in school or better in business. Known in schools as “brain breaks,” these short opportunities for movement increase students’ time on task in the classroom. Brain breaks can improve comprehension and concentration, making it easier to focus when you return to your work. So whether your child is learning at home or remotely— or whether you are zoned out from too many Microsoft Teams meetings— here are some ideas to get your blood flowing again and send more ox ygen to your brain.



Corbett Prep builds its curriculum around brainbased learning, and teachers draw from many strategies to engage students with different learning styles. In addition to hands-on lessons that encourage movement, teachers also incorporate brain breaks throughout the school day.

A balanced remote learning schedule likely will have brain breaks scattered through the day. During periods when students work independently, parents may want to step in with their own ideas if they notice focus lagging.

Exercises, games, dances and songs all provide the chance to stand up and move inside the classroom. Jumping jacks, jogging in place and mountain climbers require little room and perk up sleepy learners quickly. From their desks, students can join in the “wave,” jumping to their feet when the wave comes their way as they would in a stadium. “Silly Sports and Goof y Games,” part of Kagan Cooperative Learning, offers dozens of ideas for games involving balance, challenges or creativity that raise energy levels or calm a class. The “Silly Sports” games, which Corbett Prep teachers have used in classes and CAMP IDS for years, also build camaraderie in a class as ever yone has fun together.

Simple stretches or yoga poses such as downward dog, cat-cow or tree pose feel amazing after sitting for a long time. Items you already own can inspire more active breaks. A mini-trampoline, balance board, jump rope, hula hoop, bean bags or leftover birthday balloons are perfect places to start. Even playing a handheld game like “Bop It” can turn around energy levels in a short time.

Music is also a great motivator. Florida Virtual School teachers shared in a blog post some of their favorite videos, especially for younger students. Koo Koo Kanga Roo, Jack Hartmann and Badanamu have YouTube channels with catchy songs that make for lively brain breaks, according to FVS. Popular songs such as the Macarena and Cha Cha Slide also work well by mixing music and easy dance moves. At Corbett Prep, middle school students love taking a dance break in Spanish class to Shakira’s “Waka Waka (Esto es Africa).”

The online resource GoNoodle, popular with educators, created “Good Energy at Home” in the spring. It’s a roundup of energizers and stress busters for families doing remote learning. Free videos and downloadable content are available on GoNoodle’s website and mobile apps. Have time for a longer break? Play outside during recess or, if you’re at home, take a half hour for a bike ride or walk around the neighborhood, a game in the back yard or maybe even a splash in the pool. Research has shown that fidgeting increases before recess and decreases after ward. So leave your desk and your work behind for a little bit. It’s good for you! NOVEMBER 2020


EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section DUNBAR ELEMENTARY MAGNET (MEDICAL SCIENCE) 1730 Union St., Tampa 33607 813-276-5677;

Enrollment: 260

We partner with AdventHealth, USF Health’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine and the Patel Conservatory. Students participate in show choir, drums and Little Kids Rock band. Student-led inquiry and goal setting, National Elementary Honor Society, 3-D printing, and Genius Hour are other elements creating a great learning experience.

Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-5 Tuition FREE


4302 24th St., Tampa 33610 813-276-5608;

Enrollment: 583

As a Cambridge International Magnet School, we are dedicated to developing confident, dynamic, educated young women. Our technology-rich, interactive learning campus—including our 1:1 iPad program—infuses 21st century technology skills into every student’s learning. Our rigorous Scholar Quest high school credit courses challenge our students in a variety of subjects.

Grades: 6-8

Class-size: 22 Tuition: FREE


3915 21st Ave., Tampa 33605 813-744-8108;

Enrollment: 530

As a Cambridge International Magnet School, we are molding young men of distinction who will achieve greatness. We promote academic achievement, professionalism and self-confidence. Our young men prepare for college in a technology-rich environment with a robotics makerspace and Smart Boards and iPads available for every student. Free after-school Enrichment Academies including debate, golf and Model UN.

Grades: 6-8

Class-size: 22 Tuition: FREE

THE FRENCH AMERICAN SCHOOL OF TAMPA BAY (FASTB) 2100 62nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg 33702 727-800-2159;

FASTB offers a multicultural educational experience that is unique in this region. French is the language of instruction in all subjects, so children are immersed, learning the language in context and becoming bilingual naturally. Our school is in-person, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place, and we still have slots available for 2020-21 in our small, flexible environment. Contact us today - Merci!

Enrollment: 40, Capacity is 80-90 Class-size: 15 Grades: Pre-K (age 3)-8 Tuition: $6,500-$13,500


6925 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa 33617 813-987-6926;

Enrollment: 819

Our school-wide IB candidate program, guided by International Baccalaureate World School principles, launches in Temple Terrace in Fall 2020. Rigorous STEM and Pre-KAPS (King HS Advanced Placement Scholars) programs are offered, along with Scholar Quest high school credit courses including Engineering, Culinary and Computer Science. *Transportation provided for attendance-area only.

Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE


2704 N. Highland Ave., Tampa 33602 813-983-7278;

Enrollment: 2,000

Hillsborough Virtual K-12 offers personalized learning in a structured, yet flexible environment. It is a school choice option in which students learn in a digital space using a web-based curriculum with highly-qualified teachers from Hillsborough County. Students can take part in athletics and extracurricular activities at their zoned school.

Class-size: n/a Grades: K-12 Tuition: FREE

HILLSDALE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 6201 Ehrlich Road, Tampa 33625 813-884-8250;

Enrollment: 155

Hillsdale provides a variety of activities and learning opportunities for our students. Our primary purpose is to help children grow spiritually, socially, physically, intellectually, and creatively in welcoming surroundings as a supplement to the home environment. Our staff will work hard to create a loving, Christian atmosphere for children's development.

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Class-size: 15 Grades: PreK2-grade 6 Tuition: $180/week (preschool) - $7,700


financial aid



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EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN SCHOOL 3712 W. El. Prado Blvd., Tampa 33629 813-839-0665;

Enrollment: 191

Holy Trinity Lutheran School is a co-educational school located in the heart of South Tampa. Founded in 1958, HTLS offers an enriching and rewarding academic education in a loving and safe Christian environment. Our mission is to provide Christ-centered academic excellence and care for the whole child that equips them for lifelong learning and service.

Class-size: 16 Grades: PreK-grade 5 Tuition: $5,950


5001 Nebraska Ave., Suite A, Tampa 33603 813-467-3004;

Enrollment: 1,000

IDEA believes a quality K-12 public education is the key to success in college and life and is committed to helping every student achieve their own success. Personalized learning, critical thinking skills, mastery of core subjects and continued support through college is IDEA’s recipe for success.

Class-size: 18-25 Grades: K-2 & 6 upon launching in 2021. Each campus will add a grade each year until fully scaled to grades K-12. Tuition: FREE


1555 Windmill Pointe Road, Palm Harbor 34685 727-900-6164;

Enrollment 35

Ignite Academy is a growing, independent Christian School serving families from Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties. Ignite Academy is enrolling kindergarten through fourth grade for the 2021-2022 school year. At Ignite Academy, your child will be immersed into a learning environment of real health: mental, physical and spiritual health.

Class-size: 9 Grades: K-4 Tuition: $500-$8,000


12902 E. U.S. Highway 92, Dover 33527 813-473-8600;

Grades: K-8

Independence Academy provides a tuition-free, well-rounded college preparatory education. The challenging and rigorous curriculum includes a special concentration on math and science, a technology-rich atmosphere, and a focus on character development preparing students for their secondary education and beyond. Offerings include the Cambridge program for Advanced Studies, Edvantage before and after school program, Tampa Bay’s Grasses in Classes Program and Cognia accreditation.

Tuition: FREE

JCCS PRESCHOOL AND AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS 13009 Community Campus Drive, Tampa 33625 813-264-9000;

Located in Citrus Park and South Tampa, the JCCs provide a safe environment with low student-to-staff ratios. The preschools offer creative and meaningful activities, Club J Afterschool provides homework supervision and Club J School Day supervises virtual school. All programs deliver high-quality activities for infants through fifth grade.

Enrollment: Club J: 30-55 per location; JCC Preschool: 100-150 per location Class-size: Varies Grades: Infants-grade 5 Tuition: Varies

LAND O’ LAKES CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 5105 School Road, Land O’ Lakes 34638 813-995-9040;

Enrollment: 330

A Christ-honoring atmosphere for preschool through high school, LOLCS trains students to develop and grow spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically. We offer a fully accredited, balanced program that emphasizes spiritual life, challenging academics for college preparation and opportunities for students to explore their interests and talents in fine arts and athletics.

Class-size: 10-20 Grades: PreK3-12 Tuition: $5,000-$6,950


4400 Chancellor St. NE, St. Petersburg 33703 727-552-8331;

Enrollment: 532

LCC Day School is a partnership of school, church and families, inspiring superior academic performance while instilling leadership, responsibility and values in a nurturing environment. Our mission is to meet the changing needs of our students as they develop their God-given potential from early childhood through adolescence.

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Class-size: 8-17 Grades: PreK2-8 Tuition: Preschool $3,786-$5,549; Elementary-Middle $10,073-$11,910 arts

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EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section LINCOLN ELEMENTARY MAGNET (IB) 1207 E. Renfro St., Plant City 33563 813-757-9329;

We prepare students to meet the challenges of world citizenship with confidence, imagination and integrity. Students can study global cultures and develop an open and curious mind. Students engage in music and arts programs, Odyssey of the Mind, Robotics Team, Inquiry-based learning centers, student action/service learning, world languages and more.

Enrollment: 501 Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-5 Tuition: FREE

LOCKHART ELEMENTARY MAGNET (CREATIVE SCIENCE CENTRE) 3719 N. 17th St., Tampa 33610 813-276-5727;

Students learn using the latest technology tools and programs. We provide STEM Education with PLTW (Project Lead the Way), where students engage in hands-on activities, projects and problems that are reflective of real-world challenges. Engage with robotics experiences, engineering challenges, outdoor learning and wildlife habitats.

Enrollment: 387 Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-5 Tuition: FREE

LOMAX ELEMENTARY MAGNET (GIFTED TALENT ACADEMY) 4207 26th St., Tampa 33610 813-276-5569;

Students are active thinking and learning citizens, engaging their minds with Math Olympiad, TiViTz, Chess, Future Problem Solvers and Odyssey of the Mind. We embrace the arts with World Drumming, Violin and Little Kids Rock; build with LEGO and VEX Robotics and grow through Student Ambassadors and National Honor Society.

Enrollment: 390 Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-5 Tuition: FREE

MACFARLANE PARK ELEMENTARY MAGNET (IB) 1721 N. MacDill Ave., Tampa 33607 813-356-1760;

As the #1 Elementary Magnet School in America, we prepare students to meet the challenges of world citizenship with confidence, imagination and integrity. Students study global cultures, engage in music and arts programs, Odyssey of the Mind, Robotics Team, inquiry-based learning centers, student action/service learning, world languages and more.

Enrollment: 370 Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-5 Tuition: FREE

MARSHALL MIDDLE MAGNET (IB CANDIDATE) 18 S. Maryland Ave., Plant City 33563 813-757-9360;

Launching with sixth grade in Fall 2020, students will be guided by the International Baccalaureate World School Philosophy in Plant City. Students can engage in STEM; Robotics; Culinary Arts; Math League and AVID college readiness. Optional Scholar Quest high school credit courses offer additional rigor. *Transportation provided for attendance-area only.

Enrollment: 911 Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE



13615 N. 22nd St., Tampa 33613 813-558-1355;

Enrollment: 439

Students learn through Arts and Science Integration, where they experience weekly strings, dance, music and art classes. They engage in the orchestra and rock band, performance groups and our annual musical. Students can explore the outdoor classroom, global gardens, and take part in the National Honor Society and student government.

Grades: K-5

Class-size: 18-22 Tuition: FREE


7777 62nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg 33709 727-541-7593; Named a Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education, Northside Christian School equips students to reach their God-given potential through outstanding academic and extra-curricular programs within a Christ-centered environment. NCS offers Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment, Honors and Praxis classes. Northside has been serving PreK3 -12th grade students in a safe, nurturing environment since 1971. KEY



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Enrollment: 720 Class-size: 16 Grades: PreK3-12 Tuition: $7,350-$13,450



How to be a Literacy-Focused Family with the Library by Eric Hughes, all photos provided by Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

November is National Family Literacy Month. The ability to read, write and learn are among the most important keys to lifetime success for every individual. One tried and true way to ensure this success for your family is to practice solid literacy habits. Aim for a little reading time every day. The written word can be a ready solution for everything from entertainment to building skills to resolving life’s many challenges, and the public library stands ready to help.

DISCOVER BOOKS & MORE | Hillsborough County public libraries have a large selection of books in print and digital formats, including fiction and nonfiction, audiobooks and read-along titles. The unique offerings of the online library include digital magazines and newspapers, graphic novels and comic books, streaming music and video, business and technology classes, and a terrific collection of research databases for a range of interests. The library provides a significant number of resources in Spanish and other languages in print, online and through mobile apps.

1,000 BOOKS BEFORE KINDERGARTEN | Children who have been read 1,000 books before they begin school already will be well on their way to a love of reading and literacy. While that may seem like a lot of books, you can reach this goal in less than three years by reading one book a day. Visit to learn more about how to participate, get a welcome packet with a free book and earn digital badges for each milestone.

FALL READING CHALLENGE | We know you love summer reading every year, and this year the public library is bringing you an extra reading challenge for fall! Register for the Fall Reading Challenge and be eligible for prizes, free books and digital badges. Whether you are already reading for school, are a regular reader or are looking to reboot your love of reading, simply log your reading for a chance to win some fantastic prizes. Learn more about logging your reading, special activities, book lists for all ages and live online events at You and your family have until Friday, Dec. 11, to complete this year’s bonus reading challenge.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE | All literacy paths lead to a stronger connection with friends, family and other people in our lives. Taking what has been newly discovered and discussing it or applying it is a great way to keep stoking the fires of interest in everyone’s mind. When you are considering who you and your family would like to share your progress with, make sure to keep the Hillsborough Literacy Council and your public library in mind. Several public library staff work closely with the Hillsborough Literacy Council: We would love to hear from you and help you however we can.

YOU CAN REDISCOVER READING AT ANY AGE. THESE TITLES ARE PERFECT TO HELP YOU FALL INTO READING AGAIN: ● PreK: “Olaf Loves to Read” by John Edwards (2020) ● Kids: “Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading” by Tom Greenwald (2011) ● T(w)eens: “Suggested Reading” by Dave Connis (2019) ● Adults: “A Histor y of Reading” by Alberto Manguel (1996)

TIPS FOR PARENTS ● Lead by Example: Model the reading and writing behaviors you want kids to adopt. ● Create Shared Experiences: Read, discover and find answers to questions together. ● Use Subtitles and Closed Captioning: When watching shows and movies, turn on subtitles to boost spelling and vocabular y. ● Reading is Reading: Remember, there’s no such thing as wasted reading–support your family’s reading no matter what the interest or format!

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5585 E. County Line Road, Wesley Chapel 33544 813-991-0801; North Tampa Christian Academy provides an on-campus experience that encourages innovation through project-based learning and thematic structure. When life demands flexibility, we offer the Titan Teacher Network, a “teacher-centric” virtual learning experience. Parents have the freedom to flex from on-campus to accessing at home instruction through the Titan Teacher Network, ensuring excellent education every day.

Enrollment: 300 Class-size: 15:1 Grades: K-12 Tuition: $13,475-$17,875

NORTH TAMPA CHRISTIAN EXPLORERS PRESCHOOL 5585 E. County Line Road, Wesley Chapel 33544 813-991-0820;

We support young children as they develop skills of exploring, choosing, creating and solving for God’s glory. Children are challenged to stretch themselves and persevere as they make sense of the world around them. Our safe and secure facility is nature-inspired, diverse and family oriented.

Enrollment: 135 Class-size: Varies by age Grades: Six weeks to PreK Tuition: $115-390 per month


19521 Michigan Ave., Odessa 33556 813-792-1825; OCS is a Christ-focused school for motivated, self-directed learners seeking to discover their God-given calling. Students dive deep with content through inquiry, investigation and discussion, and gain responsibility, perseverance, professionalism and compassion. Graduates achieve mastery in all areas of learning and launch into life with strong minds and hearts.

Enrollment: 75 Class-size: 25 students max per department (1-5, 6-8, 9-12) Grades: 1-12 Tuition: $10,100-$10,500



3415 16th St., Tampa 33605 813-276-5717;

Enrollment: 556

Be a shining star at Orange Grove, where high academic achievement meets creativity. Our historic campus includes two professional dance studios, video production, visual arts with a MAC lab and exceptional music and technical theater suites. We provide advanced courses, and our Scholar Quest offerings lead to high school credit.

Grades: 6-8

Class-size: 22 Tuition: FREE

OUR SAVIOR LUTHERAN SCHOOL 5843 4th Ave. S., St. Petersburg 33707 727-344-1026;

Our Savior Lutheran School is committed to help your child grow intellectually, academically and spiritually. We are designed for students to learn on campus, but have technology in place to transition to remote learning during required times. Check us out and see if OSLS is the right fit for your family!

Enrollment: 185 Class-size: 15-20 Grades: Preschool age 2 to grade 8 Tuition: $4,800-$8,100

PAIDEIA CLASSICAL CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 7834 N. 56th St., Tampa 33617 813-988-7700;

Paideia Classical Christian School is a community of parents and teachers who share a commitment for educating children to love learning and grow in godliness. We are intentional about developing passionate disciples, exceptional scholars and virtuous citizens. As a nationally accredited, classical school, we employ time-proven curriculum and methods of education which teach students not primarily what to think, but how to think: thoroughly, maturely and biblically.

Enrollment: 86 Class-size: Varies Grades: K-12 Tuition: $7,930-$8,699





1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa 33602 813-222-1040;

Enrollment: 1,000

At the Patel Conservatory, every student deserves the opportunity to discover their creative potential. Our programs provide training in dance, theater and music. Camps and classes vary by length, age and skill level. Patel Conservatory classes require active learning participation by students and result in a performance.

Grades: All ages and skill levels

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Class-size: Varies by program

Tuition: Varies by program NOVEMBER 2020


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Advice from Teachers

What Can Parents do to Help? by Laura Cross, photos provided by Hillsborough County Public Schools

As the mom of a second grader, a third grader and an eighth grader, I really cannot put into words how appreciative I am of my children’s teachers. Through all the craziness of this past year, our teachers’ perseverance, f lexibility and compassion have been a blessing to many of our families. Being more than one quarter of the way through the school year already (crazy, right?), I wondered what teachers have learned over the past couple of months and what parents can do to make their jobs easier. We reached out to a few teachers to find out: KELLY E. KING, EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT EDUCATION PRESCHOOL TEACHER “I’ve learned how incredibly resourceful and creative teachers at all levels have become to meet a wide range of student needs. Our students are the superheroes in this COVID story, putting forth amazing resilience and patience while the adults in their community work hard to keep them safe. Teachers might ask that families continue to offer an open line of communication to help us better understand their current needs and challenges.” RACHEL PATTERSON, FIRST GRADE TEACHER AT COLLINS ELEMENTARY “I’ve learned to be f lexible and focus more on building relationships and spending some time every day just talking to the students with no agenda. Parents can help teachers and schools by just being kind and patient, understanding we are all riding this crazy ride together and trying to make the best of it.” ALISHIA MARSH, KINDERGARTEN TEACHER AT CHILES ELEMENTARY “I have learned that teaching still comes from the heart and we need to make sure our children feel safe and welcome every day. Even though we still have high expectations for our little learners, they have all experienced things that no other group of children have experienced through the quarantine and this pandemic. The hardest part for me has been the social distancing aspect. I am used to my students all close together on a carpet, engaged in books and working closely in small groups. COVID-19 has changed many things, but my kids will always know how much I care about them as a person and a learner. Our parents have been very helpful in reinforcing the importance of wearing masks and washing their hands frequently. Parents, continue doing your best and know that your child’s teacher wants to partner with you to help your child be an awesome citizen in your community.”

HERE ARE A FEW ADDITIONAL REMINDERS THAT WILL HELP KEEP OUR SCHOOLS HEALTHY AND HAPPY: Remind your child the importance of washing their hands… a lot! Enforce mask wearing. Always. Even when they’re not in school. We’re finding most cases are being brought into the schools because of community gatherings. Make sure your child is not sharing school supplies with anyone. Say thank you to a teacher. They’re doing a ton behind the scenes to keep everyone safe!


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EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section PEPIN ACADEMIES |

3916 E. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa 33610; 813-236-1755 9304 Camden Field Parkway, Riverview 33578; 813-533-2999 9804 Little Road, New Port Richey 34654; 727-233-2961 Pepin Academies are non-profit, tuition-free, independent public charter schools serving students with learning and learning-related disabilities in grades 3-12. Qualified as Exceptional Student Education (ESE) center schools, we provide a diversified curriculum driven by the student’s needs in a positive therapeutic educational environment, as well as a transitional job training program for post-high school students.

Enrollment: 1,200+ students between three campuses Class-size: 13:2 Grades: Grades 3-12 and a Transition Program for ages 18-22 Tuition: FREE



8113 Zinnia Drive, Tampa 33619 813-671-5110;

Enrollment: 953

We are proud to offer the largest dance and culinary arts programs in Hillsborough County. We’re routinely recognized as a Magnet School of America School of Distinction. Students can try exciting electives such as costume and fashion design, orchestra, journalism and more. The spotlight shines on students at Progress Village.

Grades: 6-8

Class-size: 22 Tuition: FREE

QUEEN OF ALL SAINTS VIRTUAL ACADEMY 20120 Barnett Road, Brooksville 34601 352-428-4847;

Enrollment: 100

Virtual private education wherever you are, QAS Academy offers a unique and highly engaging way for children to receive a private education in a live, interactive online classroom. Taking the best of the most prodigious educationalists of old while focusing on the technological advances of the day, QAS strives to build for its children an educational method unsurpassed in results. Please schedule an online meeting with us to put these assertions to the test.

Class-size: 8-10 Grades: K-12 On-Campus, 2-12 Online Tuition: $4,080-$4,462

RAMPELLO K-8 MAGNET (CULTURAL ARTS AND HUMANITIES ) 802 E. Washington St., Tampa 33602 813-233-2333;

Enrollment: 777

Join us for experiential learning with walking field trips through downtown Tampa, and a Differentiated Instruction Focus to meet the needs of all learners. We have strong community partnerships and school-wide AVID instructional strategies. Middle school electives include: band, jazz, orchestra, steel drums, Art 2-D and 3-D, Spanish and creative writing.

Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-8 Tuition: FREE

RIVERHILLS ELEMENTARY MAGNET (IB) 405 Riverhills Drive, Temple Terrace 33617 813-987-6911;

Enrollment: 529

We prepare students to meet the challenges of world citizenship with confidence, imagination and integrity. Students can study global cultures and develop an open and curious mind. Students engage in music and arts programs, Odyssey of the Mind, Robotics Team, inquiry-based learning centers, student action/service learning, world languages and more.

Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-5 Tuition: FREE

RIVERVIEW ACADEMY OF MATH & SCIENCE 9906 Symmes Road, Riverview 33578 813-412-6111;

Grades: K-8

The tuition-free, public charter school proudly serves students from kindergarten through middle school with a well-rounded college preparatory education. The rigorous curriculum includes a special concentration on math and science, a technology-rich atmosphere, and a focus on character development. Offerings include the Cambridge program for Advanced Studies, Edvantage before and after school program, Tampa Bay’s Grasses in Classes Program and Cognia accreditation.

Tuition: FREE

RODGERS MIDDLE MAGNET (CAMBRIDGE CANDIDATE) 11910 Tucker Road, Riverview 33569 813-671-5288;

Enrollment: 823

Rodgers, a Cambridge International Magnet School, offers learning guided by the rigorous, world renowned Cambridge Pathways philosophy. Located in Riverview's Bell Creek Nature Preserve, we embrace and empower the whole student. Several national board-certified teachers highlight our exceptional team of educators. *Transportation provided for attendance-area only.

48 NOVEMBER 2020



Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE


financial aid




Rigorous, Dynamic Curriculum Faith-Based Perspec�ve and a Christ-Centered Worldview •

Caring and Qualified Faculty Cost-Effec�ve Tui�on and Scholarships

Preschool (K3 & K4) - 12th Grade some restric�ons apply for 7th-12th grade

Located in Citrus Park 6201 Ehrlich Road Tampa, FL 33625 Call Today! 813.884.8250 x235


“My daughter loves learning together with me at home two days a week and she’s excited to go to school the other three days. I love the balance it brings to our family.”

- Karen, Covenant Academy Parent

Grades K - 10th th Contact us to schedule a private tour (727) 542 - 6294 | NOVEMBER 2020


50 NOVEMBER 2020

EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section ROLAND PARK K-8 MAGNET (IB)

1510 N. Manhattan Ave., Tampa 33607 813-872-5212; We inspire young inquiring minds to become compassionate, lifelong learners who are internationally-minded people with respect for various cultures and a desire to serve others. Students can experience inquiry-based learning centers, transdisciplinary units of study, an outdoor classroom with an international garden, a strings program and world languages.

Enrollment: 766 Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-8 Tuition: FREE


11605 E. U.S. Highway 92, Seffner 33584 813-626-0001;

Enrollment: 700

The mission of Seffner Christian Academy is to provide academic excellence in a Christ-centered environment with a challenging educational program based on the principles of God's Word.

Grades: K2-12

Class-size: 22 Tuition: $5,000-$10,500



1908 2nd Ave., Tampa 33605 813-276-5712;

Enrollment: 441

We are an award-winning Magnet School of the Arts located in historic Ybor City. Students learn through arts and science integration, and can take part in the Annual Arts Festival and school musical. Students expand their horizons through visual art, dance, strings, music, drama, STEAM Engineering and robotics programs.

Grades: K-5

Class-size: 18-22 Tuition: FREE

SHORECREST PREPARATORY SCHOOL 5101 1st St. NE., St. Petersburg 33703 727-522-2111;

Founded in 1923, Shorecrest is a coed, nonsectarian, PK3-12 independent school in St. Petersburg. In a safe, student-centered environment, Shorecrest educates a diverse community of students to become lifelong learners in the pursuit of personal and academic excellence, physical well-being, creative achievement and the development of a commitment to social responsibility.

Enrollment: 965 Class-size: 15 Grades: PreK3-12 Tuition: $11,950$26,850


129 N Belcher Road, Clearwater 33765 727-797-1186; The value of a Skycrest education is immeasurable. School graduates enter their high school years with outstanding academic preparation, leadership skills and confidence in their ability to succeed. With newly integrated technology, an extensive list of extracurricular activities and a small student/teacher ratio, a Skycrest education is available at amazingly competitive rates.

Enrollment: 450 Class-size: 22 Grades: K4 - grade 8 Tuition: $10,000 + fees



2011 E. Sligh Ave., Tampa 33610 813-276-5596;

Enrollment: 579

Join a culture of future health professionals who sport scrubs four days a week. We are preparing students for one of the fastest growing career fields in the country. Electives engage all students with Career and Technical Education, Family and Consumer Science and our AVID college readiness program.

Grades: 6-8

Class-size: 22 Tuition: FREE


2801 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs 34688 727-934-0909; Solid Rock Community School is "Making the World a Greener Place" with our sustainable seed-to-table lunch program, environmentalism classes, and a strong focus on health, wellness and fitness. We encourage, challenge and inspire our students to become thinkers, leaders and collaborators who can contribute to the greater good of society and be good stewards of the world in which we live. KEY



financial aid



Enrollment: 200 Class-size: 18 Grades: K-12 Tuition: $10,500$13,500




4716 Montgomery Ave., Tampa 33616 813-272-3020;

Enrollment: 432

We develop active learners and internationally-minded students. Launching with sixth grade in Fall 2020, students will be guided by the International Baccalaureate World School Philosophy. Students can pursue unique electives like computer modeling and simulation. Our Sixth Grade Structure creates a supportive middle school transition. *Transportation provided for attendance-area only.

Grades: 6-8

Class-size: 22 Tuition: FREE

STEWART MIDDLE MAGNET (NASA EXPLORER SCHOOL) 1125 Spruce St., Tampa 33607 813-276-5691;

Enrollment: 1,024

Be part of a nationally recognized NASA Explorer School. Through our Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum, students choose from electives like aerospace and engineering. Scholar Quest options deliver high school credit in gaming, robotics and more. Stewart partners with NASA, NOAA and the U.S. Air Force for real-world learning.

Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE

ST. CECELIA INTERPAROCHIAL CATHOLIC SCHOOL 1350 Court St., Clearwater 33756 727-461-1207;

Enrollment: 425

St. Cecelia (SCS) is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award, both in 2020 and 2010. SCS is also Pinellas county’s only private school to offer the International Baccalaureate to students in grades PreK-3 to grade 8. Through the IB Programme we provide tools, develop character and teach skills that prepare our students to thrive in high school, college and beyond. We remain steadfast in our commitment to our students’ educational and personal success and to the betterment of our local and global communities.

Grades: PreK3-grade 8

Class-size: 12-24 students depending on grade level Tuition: $7,120-$7,918


240 S. Plant Ave., Tampa 33606 813-849-4200;

Enrollment: 533

St. John's is distinguished by 70 years of demonstrated success preparing children for lives of learning and service. Renowned for its Episcopal identity and a core belief in the potential of our students, the school delivers an unparalleled, values-driven preparatory education in a safe and nurturing environment. Our graduates are prepared to thrive in high school and beyond.

Class-size: 18 Grades: PreK-grade 8 Tuition: $2,825-$14,635 (based on demonstrated need)


5223 N. Himes Ave., Tampa 33614 813-879-5090;

Enrollment: 480

Founded in 1961, St. Lawrence Catholic School inspires students towards academic excellence in a Christ-centered environment. Each unique student is challenged to develop their special talents and become lifelong learners. Our 21st century classrooms promote creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration. In response to the ongoing pandemic, we have invested in an extensive sanitation protocol and new technology for distance learning options.

Class-size: < 25 Grades: PreK3-grade 8 Tuition: $8,080-$11,445

ST. MARY’S EPISCOPAL DAY SCHOOL 2101 S. Hubert Ave., Tampa 33629 813-258-5508;

Enrollment: 445

St. Mary’s Episcopal Day School provides challenging academics, performing and visual arts, competitive athletics, technology, public speaking, foreign language, global studies, community service, religious education and more. St. Mary’s highly-qualified Pre-K through 8th grade faculty inspires students to achieve their best, developing well-rounded individuals ready for the challenges ahead.

Class-size: 22 Grades: PreK-8 Tuition: $15,700


1376 Snell Isle Boulevard NE, St. Petersburg 33704 727-821-9663;

Enrollment: 170

St. Raphael Catholic School welcomes families who believe that Christ is the cornerstone of our lives, strive for academic excellence, seek to provide faith-filled service to others, reflect Catholic values, and are responsible leaders of the Church and community.

52 NOVEMBER 2020



Class-size: 17 average Grades: PK-8 Tuition: $6,100-$8,100


financial aid




PreK-12 Resources for New School Routines As teachers, students, and families enter an uncertain school year with new routines, both in-person and virtual, PBS LearningMedia, a free digital education service from PBS, offers this special collection of flexible resources to support learning from anywhere. Find videos, selfpaced Interactive lessons, printable activities, and more aligned to Florida education standards. The entire collection is also available in Spanish. View the collection at ( new-school-routines) and why not create an account? It’s FREE!

Find weekly broadcast schedules, guides & much more:

WEDU PBS At-Home Learning

Visit the WEDU At-Home Learning website ( to learn more about our PreK-12 daily distance learning broadcasts and companion lessons taken from PBS LearningMedia resources. WEDU is happy to provide free training on the use of PBS educational materials to public and private schools, early learning providers, and homeschool groups. Please email to learn more. WEDU PBS At-Home Learning is presented by

Additional support also provided by Monroe E. and Suzette M. Berkman Family Foundation at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay

and NOVEMBER 2020



3719 N. 17th St., Tampa 33610 813-276-5405;

Enrollment: 308

Our students become innovative thinkers, who achieve academically and socially through our 7 Wonders—Leadership, Environment, Economics, Wellness, Innovation, Communication and Culture. Students can participate in Model United Nations and Odyssey of the Mind, learn world languages and leadership and experience cultural clusters: yoga, cooking, African art and Lego Makerspace.

Grades: K-5

Class-size: 18-22 Tuition: FREE

VALRICO LAKE ADVANTAGE ACADEMY 13306 Boyette Road, Riverview 33569 813-699-5049;

Grades: K-5

A tuition-free, public charter school proudly serving students in kindergarten through fifth Grade, theschool provides a well-rounded elementary foundation through a challenging curriculum with a focus on teaching math and science in proven and innovative instructional methods preparing students for their secondary education and beyond. We are an “A” rated Florida School of Excellence offering the Cambridge program for Advanced Studies. Cognia accredited.

Tuition: FREE


22000 US Highway 27, Lake Wales 33859 863-676-6091; The Vanguard School is a co-educational boarding and day school for students in grades 6-12. Vanguard specializes in educating students who experience academic learning challenges in an environment that works with academic strategies, executive functioning, social skills, celebrates student strengths and assists in transitioning into higher educational opportunities and independent living.

Enrollment: 100 boarding, up to 120 total Class-size: 6-10 Grades: 6–12 Tuition: 7-day $49,000; 5-day $43,000; Day $25,500


8282 N. Mobley Road, Odessa 33556 813-631-4726;

Enrollment: 984

We develop creative and confident learners. Communication, reflection and whole-child learning energize Walker Middle Magnet, Odessa’s IB World School. As a “Magnet School of Distinction,” students are exposed to a rigorous curriculum. High-impact teachers and our Florida Power School Library highlight our exceptional, highly rated team of educators.

Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE


1551 Belcher Road, Palm Harbor 34683 727-781-3808;

Enrollment: 425

Westlake Christian School, a National Blue Ribbon School, is accredited by the Florida Council of Independent Schools and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/AdvancED. Westlake’s mission is to help students develop in their faith, academics, fine arts, and athletics. Westlake serves approximately 425 students in Kindergarten through eighth grade from Northern Pinellas County, Southern Pasco County, Trinity, Westchase and surrounding communities.

Class-size: 1:18 Grades: K-8 Tuition: $8,950-$9,275


5020 N. 47th St., Tampa 33610 813-744-8600;

Enrollment: 841

We are a top-ranked IB World School, creating global learners focused on intercultural awareness and communication. Scholar Quest high school credit offerings challenge students in French, algebra and Emerging Technology in Business. Connect through clubs including LEGO Robotics, Model UN, Future Business Leaders of America and our award-winning Chess Club.

Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE

YOUNG MIDDLE MAGNET (CREATIVE SCIENCE CENTRE) 1807 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd., Tampa 33610 813-276-5739;

Enrollment: 654

Class-size: 22 We empower creative learners with our Project Lead the Way (PLTW) STEM Grades: 6-8 VISIT TAMPABAYPARENTING.COM VIEW OU FULL EDUCATION curriculum. We focus on engineering, sustainability and TO “Global Planting”— engaging students in hands-on learning with an on-campus hydroponic Tuition: FREE DIRECTORY AND TO READ MORE INFORMATION ON EACH SCHOOL farm and greenhouse, along with student-constructed rain gardens. Students learn using state-of-the-art technology, including touch-enabled whiteboards and 3-D printers.

54 NOVEMBER 2020




financial aid



Preparing for College is Important Preparing For Life is ESSENTIAL

Cambridge Christian School 813.872.6744 •

Solid Rock Community School “Making the World a Greener Place”

*Scholarships Available

Now Enrolling K-12 School Options Available: Traditional Virtual Blended Solid Rock Community School is “Making the World a Greener Place” with our sustainable seed-to-table lunch program, environmentalism classes, and a strong focus on health, wellness, and fitness. We encourage, challenge, and inspire our students to become thinkers, leaders, and collaborators who can contribute to the greater good of society and be good stewards of the world in which we live.

2801 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs, FL 34688 | | 727-934-0909 NOVEMBER 2020


Eyes on Epilepsy in November:


What Parents Need to Know by Jennifer Avallone, D.O., photo provided by Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

One in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. Approximately 470,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with epilepsy, which is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the countr y. During epilepsy awareness month in November, Jennifer Avallone, D.O., a pediatric epileptologist at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, educates families on what epilepsy is and when parents should seek medical attention.

WHAT IS A SEIZURE? A seizure is a disturbance in the electrical activity of the brain. An epileptic seizure occurs when a restricted group of brain cells (neurons) don’t communicate with each other normally. These groups of neurons are activated together and produce the clinical symptoms of seizures.

WHAT ARE SIGNS/SYMPTOMS PARENTS SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR? There are many different types of seizures. Some patients have an aura or warning as the first symptom of a seizure (i.e., nausea). There is then an ictal (middle) phase during which

there is an electrical disturbance in the activity of the brain. Patients can have loss of consciousness, loss of awareness/staring, stiffening, color change, extremity shaking, lip smacking, changes in vision, myoclonic jerking or other neurologic symptoms during this phase. As the seizure ends, the postictal phase can include confusion, headache and fatigue.

WHAT CAUSES SEIZURES? Head injuries, genetic conditions, infections, electroly te abnormalities and tumors or other structural findings on neuroimaging can be the reason for seizures. Infection, missing anti-seizure medication, lack of sleep and f lashing lights can lower seizure threshold in patients with epilepsy.

WHAT IS EPILEPSY? Epilepsy is when a person has 2 unprovoked seizures that occur more than 24 hours apart from each other. Epilepsy is a spectrum condition with a wide range of seizure types and control varying from person to person.

WHEN ARE PEOPLE MOST LIKELY TO GET EPILEPSY? Children and the elderly are the fastest growing segments of the population with new cases of epilepsy. New cases of epilepsy are most common among children, especially during the first year of life. The rate of new cases of epilepsy gradually goes down until about age 10 and then becomes stable. After age 55, the rate of new cases of epilepsy starts to increase, as people develop strokes, brain tumors or Alzheimer’s disease, which all can cause epilepsy.

WHAT ARE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR SEIZURES? Electroencephalogram (EEG), MRI brain and genetic testing can help to understand the cause of epilepsy. Depending on the type of epilepsy, anti-seizure medications are selected and started when the diagnosis is made. Epilepsy surgery evaluations and ketogenic diet (low carb, moderate protein, high fat) with nutritional counseling may also be considered by your child’s epileptologist when anti-seizure medications are ineffective (this is known as refractory epilepsy).


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Gratitude: Around, around, around it goes by Tara Payor, Ph.D.

Life is replete with twists and turns. Some, we’d rather bypass. When twisting and turning bring life full circle, we find ourselves standing with grateful hearts. Recent, jarring twists and turns led the Cringolo family to concentric circles centered on gratefulness—ones resounding with joyful noise.

DOWNWARD DIAGNOSIS Rob and Ginny Cringolo are both certified registered nurse anesthetists and parents to Luca (14), Marco (12) and Ella (10). They were navigating jobs, online schooling and all that comes with pandemic parenting when one Tuesday, life’s course veered toward drastic changes. Ginny recounted: “Rob came home with a slight cough, tired and sore—normal for many parents. With COVID centerstage, we disagreed about his condition.” A 101.5 temperature the next morning led Rob to forego work and go for testing. “By evening, we knew he was positive.” The next week was rough terrain, but the Cringolos maintained a ‘we’ll get through this’ mindset. Rob’s breathing got more difficult, leading to an overnight hospital stay after which oxygen was brought into the house. Ginny wore PPE at home. “I was in and out of the room minimally. I felt like I couldn’t care for him.” When Rob couldn’t get out of bed alone, Ginny and Rob headed to the hospital—again. “I had to drop him off. His ears were black. I didn’t think I’d see him again.” This is what COVID-19 did to a healthy, 45-yearold man. Ginny had to physically and emotionally shield their three kids from the avalanche. “It was a blessing and a curse I couldn’t go to the hospital because the kids needed me.” Fourteen days passed before they spoke to him. Ginny set up a camera so Rob could see the family singing and dancing—though he doesn’t remember. When Ginny’s phone rang at 6 a.m., she thought Rob was calling to give good day wishes. It was news a breathing tube was being put in. It was the last time they’d speak for three weeks. “I felt better knowing he’d sleep through every thing. He’d suffered so much.” While the kids knew Rob was sick and a machine was helping him, they weren’t aware of details. “Video games became my allies in shielding them. We were watching T V one day and the president was talking about ventilators. I decided to let them know daddy was fortunate to get one.” Ginny was in uncharted, hellish terrain: unable to be by her husband’s bedside, determined to be stoic for their children and all the while, a human— also needing softness, support and solidarity.

58 NOVEMBER 2020

SOCIAL CIRCLES Anguished over Rob’s lack of physical contact from loved ones, Ginny begged for hospital entry. It didn’t happen. “I know why the hospitals are doing it. But it’s horrible when you’re living it.” Although Ginny stopped social media at first, she later realized that it was a way to share their story. It was also a road to connectedness.

HOMEWARD BOUND Back-to-home-life has had bumps. “He was emotional when he woke up— not understanding how much time had passed. He cried a lot.” The family got all the equipment common in elderly patient care, and Rob’s friends bought him a recliner. “After 32 days in the hospital, he lost 31 pounds. Even a phone felt heav y. He lost his ability to write.” Rob has gained most weight back and started working in late September. “We’re dealing with the aftermath of what COVID did to his body. He’s weak.” An avid hockey player, he’s not cleared for cardiovascular activity yet.

“Childish as it might seem, every 'like' meant something. Every comment mattered—reminders we weren’t alone,” she says. Virtual worlds can’t replicate all aspects of life, however. “Dropping Ella off at horse camp, I broke down talking to the instructor. She immediately hugged me. It hit me that I hadn’t been hugged in so long.”

The kids, epitomizing resiliency, remain involved in Rob’s care. “Ella was the first person he smiled for. Their relationship is special.” Still treading through a drawn-out process, some normalcy exists in the Cringolo home, and loud, school-morning “discussions” are back on. “I’m thankful for that. We’re not walking on eggshells with him.”

Ginny’s friends saw through her “I’m fine; we don’t need any thing” statements and started texting the kids directly. Former CR NA colleagues reached out. People helped manage their rental properties. There were calls from the kids’ schools.

Ginny made a box filled with cards people sent and pictures the kids drew during Rob’s hospitalization. He’s looked through all of it. Reading through Facebook posts has proven emotional. The Cringolos feel reaffirmed in their friendships and communities. Gratitude drives their want to pay it forward.

“Every woman I know wanted to share food and every man mow the lawn. It was beautifully overwhelming. People we didn’t know were doing things for us. Realizing how many communities we’re a part of was amazing; they wanted to take us in. It’s incredible how many people Rob’s story has touched.” The couple, known for a healthy banter, jokes about how liked Rob is, Ginny says. “He always told me how much people like him, and I’m just glad to have his big, stupid smile back home.”


“Sometimes you consider doing something for someone and you don’t. Now, I do it,” says Ginny. “Seemingly small moments matter. We don’t realize how much we can positively impact others.”

ROAD LESS TRAVELED Rob and Ginny aren’t promulgating fear. They know, statistically, most won’t get as sick as Rob. Still, their world is repaved. “We learned that it’s not only happening to other people; we became the other people.” Uncertain terms about COVID’s potential aftershocks are concerning. They understand why people are loosening up, but they aren’t making holiday travel plans. “We haven’t seen our families in Philadelphia and Delaware in almost a year, but we don’t know if the risk is worth it.” Staying home can be frustrating, but they’re intent on ensuring all five remain home and healthy. “We’re most grateful our story has a happy ending. Rob is home and healing. Even if he’s never 100%, we have him.” Dave Matthews’ joy ful noise circles: “Now I’m thinking that you did all you could / When you said my love / Take it slowly / Amazing what a minute can do / Around, around, around / So damn lucky.”



60 NOVEMBER 2020



.com #TAMPABAYPARENTING Articles Th i n g s t o D o Guides +More

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8 Must-Do Outdoor Adventures in Tampa Bay with The Outdoorsy Diva

Education Directory: Our annual guide is here. Research local schools to find the perfect fit for your child. Join the Jr. Bucs Fan Club Find out how your kids can join the club and get awesome Bucs swag. Holiday Events in Tampa Bay and Beyond We're sharing our favorite holiday events including Christmas festivities, holiday lights and more.

HOW TO PLAN A ROMANTIC PICNIC FOR TWO: The air is (slightly) less humid, the sun is shining, and that means it’s time to break out those checkerboard blankets and charcuterie boards. Chill your favorite chardonnay and surprise your significant other with a creative picnic soiree for two.

Our Favorite Birthday Party Venues and Businesses Check out our top picks of places to celebrate birthdays and milestones. Plan Ahead for the Holidays Holiday Gift Ideas for everyone on your list.

The Charcuterie Chic

Follow along with us for inside looks of fun things to do with the kids in Tampa Bay; behind-thescenes, sneek peeks and more.

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Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine

log on to tampabayparenting .com find all of this and more on our website The Picnic Social

62 NOVEMBER 2020



320 W. Kennedy, Ste. 220 Tampa, FL 33606

Open Now at the Glazer Children’s Museum Castle Builder transports children and families to a fanciful kingdom where they can explore, play, and build their own toy castle brick by brick. Builders of all ages and skill levels can learn about real-world castles and their building secrets, defend the castle walls, and enter a dragon’s cave to share fantastical stories! Visit

Architect Sponsor: EWI Construction

Build Your

Kingdom! 64 NOVEMBER 2020