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TERM 1 2021-22


Starting the School Year From our welcome zoom sessions with new parents to our in-person registration, and student orientation week, we have kicked off the year welcoming new and returning members of our Vanguard Family! September and October promise to sustain momentum for our Athletic teams, the first formal meal of the year, leadership and student-led clubs, community service projects, and the fall ACT testing.

WELCOME! Welcome from our Administrative Team Reminder Highlights Athletic Schedules Upcoming Events We are excited to welcome back students from 2021, and many more new students to our campus this year! We have a robust middle and high school program, with learning and cultural diversity throughout our community. Join us through social media to keep an eye on all that is happening at The Vanguard School this year!

Welcome to The Vanguard School I am so excited to be back in school with your children as they reinvigorate our beautiful 77 acre campus with energy and excitement learning, playing, and developing friendships. The pandemic continues to provide a never-ending set of challenges as our staff focuses on the well-being and safety of our students. At Vanguard we choose to bring normalcy and consistency to our campus and students' daily lives. One of the areas our staff has been unrelenting during this unstable time is in finding ways to cultivate the joy of learning for our students. Our residential and teaching faculty focuses on inspirational mentorship because they know that emotion drives attention; that attention drives learning; and that helps us transcend the limitations of a pandemic. Vanguard staff has a profound impact on the development of our students as learners and individuals. Our staff believes in students before they do, and they provide opportunities that stretch beyond their comfort zone and build confidence. Thanks to them, our students develop a sense of belonging, academic and social success that gives them the tools and confidence to move forward successfully in the world. We have all experienced the jolt of excitement that comes from being beside someone who is truly passionate about a topic. Great educators exude that passion. Most importantly, they cultivate that passion in the people around them. As a student, that passion led me to the world of education. As the Head Of School of Vanguard School, I feel fortunate because I witness that passion every day. I witness our teachers, residential staff, coaches engaging with students and sparking the joy of learning in our classrooms, dorms, and across campus daily. We cannot truly measure the depth of great teaching and mentoring or its impacts on the dreams of students. One of my most important responsibilities includes hiring a professional, passionate, hard-working, and student-centered team. This summer I spent a great deal of time working to put together our Administration Team to lead our staff and students. They arrive on campus from diverse backgrounds, vast experiences but most importantly passionate about Vanguard's Mission and our students. Our administration team is prepared and trained to work with you in developing and implementing an individual learning plan for your child.

Bruce Latta - Dean of Academic/Assistant Head of School Ana Pizarro - Director of Physical and Mental Health Susi Vacek - Director of Admissions and Marketing Jae Allen - Director of Residential Life/Dean of Students Tamika Smith - Director of Business Office I look forward to an exceptional 2021-22 school year working and partnering with you to develop students that understand and appreciate community, leadership, integrity, empathy and resilience. If I can be of assistance in this exciting journey please reach out to me. Sincerely, L. Shannon Graves Head of School

Academic Dean's Notes... There is a saying at independent schools that “no one is going to focus on math if they are worried about where they will be sitting at lunch.” The concern is not about location: it is about acceptance. If students do not feel safe, included, and welcomed, there is very little chance that they will be able to focus on mathematics or any other subject. If kids eat lunch together and invite others to join them, it’s a good sign that math class will be fine.

Bruce Latta Academic Dean

Picture Day Reminder!

September 14th Students Grades 6-11

September 15th All Seniors

While much of the start of school is busy setting up schedules and classes, establishing routines, and helping newcomers learn the ropes, the heavy work has been keeping track of students’ interactions. Are we treating each other well? Are students engaged in the life of the school? And, of course, is anyone sitting alone at lunch? If the answer is “no”, we address it quickly. Setting the right tone early will make or break the school year. It is worth noting that the faculty and staff are not alone in this endeavor. Our Student Leadership Club has started its work for the year. The club consists of students who are interested in leadership and want to hone their leadership skills. They set goals for the beginning of the year that include “being kind to others, helping everyone feel welcomed, and connecting with new students.” It’s terrific that Vanguard has this club, led by a collective effort among our Administrative Team. I look forward to a wonderful year for developing student leadership and the entire Vanguard community.

ACT Fall 2021 Students need to register with Pam Crump BEFORE September 17th

Additional ACT Feb. 2022 April 2022

Panther Fall Athletics Cross Country

Coach - Diego Fant 9/10 Holloway Park Jamboree (Lakeland) 9/11 Seffner Christian Invitational (Lakeland) 9/24 JT Memorial XC Race (Kissimmee) 10/1 Hoka Florida Runners Invitational (Lakeland)


Coach - Ana Pizarro Students interested in the Lake Wales Blue Martins Community Team, needs to see Coach Pizarro to schedule a swim test. Practices are held from 4:30-6 pm on-campus. The pool is also utilized for recreational activities for all students.

Fall Soccer Club Coach - Jonathan Swann The local Under 15 League currently has 5 students, and is looking for more! If your student is interested, please contact Coach Swann. The games will begin on September 18th, and will continue for all Saturday matches through the fall season.

Golf Coach - Josh Graves Practices are being held Tuesdays and Thursdays at Lake Bess Golf Course. If students are interested in joining, please contact Coach Rogers. All Vanguard Students who meet the eligibility requirements are welcome to participate in Vanguard sports. Please contact our Director of Athletics, Russ Rogers, if you have any questions.

Partnership with Our Business Office This year marks a new Business Office team that is excited to work with our Vanguard families. We understand that you are investing in your child's future, and look forward to helping you easily navigate payments, financial assistance, and external scholarships. We believe in communication and a proactive approach to finding solutions with you. Both the Assistant Director of Finance, Natasha Pokhai, or I am available for these conversations. Contact us with any questions, and we look forward to spending this year with you!

Tamika Smith Director of Finance

Engaging Residential Life

This year has been a blast! Yes, I know it’s only September. We have already been paintballing twice. On Friday evenings we’ve been able to either do paintball or go to see the local High School’s football team play. Also we’ve taken our students to the Lake Wales and the Lakeland skate parks. It’s a joy watching the kids do tricks and ride around the parks. So what's happening on campus? We have had peer tutoring, uno tournaments, students & staff playing chess, yoga together, and gaming. We are planning a table tennis (ping pong) tournament soon. At a few events, we set rewards for the winning team and participants (ice cream and pizza). We have taken several trips this year to Walmart and Publix. Also, we have had several community service opportunities on and off campus.

Jae Allen Director of Residential Life

We plan to continue taking students for local trips to the skate park and to the local family fun center to enjoy bowling, game zone, laser tag, and more! Students have begun showing interest and initiative in forming student-led clubs, and we look forward to engaging them throughout the year!

September 29th First Formal Meal

Contact Academic or Residential Mentors for more information

My Mental Health: Do I need help? The American Psychological Association defines mental health as “the foundation for emotions, thinking, communication, learning, resilience and self-esteem. Mental health is also key to relationships, personal and emotional well-being and contributing to community or society.” This is one of the reasons why our department is working diligently to make sure our students understand the importance of mental health and how it is essential to our overall health.

Some of the tips we have been focusing on are: *Getting enough sleep *Exercising regularly *Building a positive social support network *Focus on positivity *Setting goals and priorities

Taking care of our mental health should be a priority for all, as it includes our psychological, emotional and social well-being. Here at Vanguard we will continue to coach our students and help them discover what they need and enjoy in order to maintain a healthy and strong mental health.

Manage Stress and Build Resilience

Ana Pizzaro School Counselor

Our Department of Physical and Mental Health has also been busy meeting students and building positive relationships to help them be successful in both their academic and personal lives. One of the areas our department has been working on is coaching our students on how to manage stress, so it’s not overwhelming. The first step has been to recognize their body signals and then work to counter their effects. One of our goals is to help our students identify what is causing the stress and how they can manage to control it. We want them to know how important it is to identify strategies or activities that work for them and to make sure they are taking time to care for themselves.

Thank you...from the Admissions Team

Susi Vacek Director of Admissions

Kim Sims Admissions Coordinator

Don't forget! Thanksgiving Break is Nov. 20th-28th Contact Stacy Robinson about your student's travel plans

Our admissions team starts with the first contact from a worried, interested, excited, exhausted, careful, thoughtful, anxious, and loving family, The team is here to support families in their search for a collaborative learning opportunity for their child. The sharing of each child's story is as important to us as the diploma they earn on graduation day. Our goal is to prepare new and returning families for a learning community that will meet every child where they are and will dig deeper to find how to connect, resolve, and build their child academically and socially. Our Academic, Residential, and Physical/Mental Health teams work with parents to provide a robust program that builds a safe and supportive environment for our students to thrive. In our open dialogue with families, we address the history, goals, and opportunities for each student. The purpose is to provide the best options, answers, and connections to those who will help in your child's development and build relationships, sometimes, lifelong. All of this leads to welcoming the students and their families to The Vanguard School with excitement. Once the students are on-campus and connect within our amazing community, the learning can begin. You are now a part of The Vanguard Family, and we are delighted to share your child's educational journey with you! If you have questions or would like to connect with us, please contact us at

Follow Vanguard on social media! @VanguardFl



Current Enrollment Diversity Facts

76 Males 25 Females 3 Non-Binary

Asian...7% Bi-Racial...9% Black...24% Caucasian...42% Hispanic...16% Middle Eastern...1% Native American...1%

40 Day Students 64 Boarding Students

International Cultures - The Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, The Cayman Islands, China, Dubai, France, Hong Kong, India, Ivory Coast, The Netherlands, Trinidad & Tobego, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Uganda, Vietnam Domestic Regions - California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia ADD/ADHD, ASD Spectrum, Anxiety/Depression, Executive Functioning Disorder, Social Communication Issues, Specific Learning Disorders in Reading, Math, Expressive or Written Language

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The Vanguard School Fall 21-22 Newsletter  

Learn all about what is happening in the first term this fall at The Vanguard School! Our Administrative team will walk you through all of...

The Vanguard School Fall 21-22 Newsletter  

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