The Mighty Mouse of Private Schools

Helping students reach their educational goals

Brenda Crenshaw didn’t intend to open an accredited private school, let alone two: The Crenshaw School in Gotha and another near Plains, Georgia. Many have said her school is one of “the best-kept secrets in Orlando.”

The Crenshaw School provides a child-centered environment and tailors instruction to all types of learners.

The Crenshaw School is a private college-preparatory school serving boys and girls in prekindergarten through grade 12. Crenshaw offers a curriculum designed to help students of varying abilities reach their educational goals. With a well-earned reputation for educational excellence, the school has six nationally recognized accreditations. Among them are Southern Association of Colleges and Schools — Council on Accreditation and School Improvement and the Association of Independent Schools of Florida.

A graduate of Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s in chemistry and a minor in biology, Crenshaw also holds a master’s in education. She began her teaching experience as a public school teacher, then continued as an on-set teacher with students who were entertainers and athletes. Due to their production and training schedules, these students did not have the availability to attend a regular school-year program. Vowing not to let children’s dreams be placed on hold because of unbending school programs, Crenshaw founded The Crenshaw School in 1999.

Soon after, a handful of home-schoolers and students who were working as professionals joined her tutoring-style classroom. They became the first class at The Crenshaw School. With a philosophy that “it’s all about the children,” Crenshaw began developing an international curriculum based on consistency, accountability and strong parent-teacher communication. Some former students with whom Crenshaw has worked are well-known actors, musicians and athletes, including Justin Timberlake, Lance Bass, Mandy Moore, PGA golfer Ty Tryon, and The Crenshaw School’s own graduate actress, Arielle Kebbel.

Each year, attendance at The Crenshaw School is 100 to 125 students with more than 200 graduates during the past few years, most having been college-bound. Some graduates have received full scholarships to prestigious universities like Tulane University and Stanford University. While attending The Crenshaw School, many students have the opportunity to be dual-enrolled at one of the local colleges, such as Rollins College, the University of Central Florida, or Valencia College. After graduation from The Crenshaw School, they are able to begin college with at least one year of college credit hours. Crenshaw students report no trouble matriculating to a larger campus. This is because of their strong academic confidence as a result of being nurtured in a small, family-type high school setting.

The Crenshaw School tailors instruction to all types of learners. For international students, there is a solid English as a second language program. Unlike in public schools, these students have the freedom to learn English at their own pace. Based on their success, they soon take math and other general academic classes. The school also offers one class with an extremely low faculty/student ratio for students with high-functioning disabilities to study the same curriculum as other students, only at a slower pace. The program is called the Promise Program.

The Crenshaw School provides a child-centered environment in which every child is a learner. The goal is to give students the means by which they can think, understand and apply their knowledge in intellectual and practical problem-solving situations. Crenshaw recognizes the value of multiple approaches to learning, utilizing teaching methods that vary from traditional to innovative.

Crenshaw believes that smaller is better with regard to classroom size. She also believes in hiring teachers “fresh out of college,” who recently received their education degrees. In this way, the school can embrace their optimism, enthusiasm and technique to match the needs of the “wonderful young people” attending The Crenshaw School. Teachers begin by expecting more from students. With a low faculty/student ratio, they are able to personalize instruction to foster the learning necessary to meet rigorous expectations.

The Crenshaw School does not sacrifice size for quantity of extracurricular activities. Although there are no sports teams at Crenshaw, secondary school students have the ability to play for local high school-area programs. The Florida Film Academy runs a weekly after-school program on campus.

The Crenshaw School has been nicknamed the “Mighty Mouse of private schools.” You owe it to your inquisitive learner to see why.

The Crenshaw School in Gotha is located at 2342 Hempel Ave. For more information or to schedule an appointment for a tour,  call 407-757-2241 or visit www.crenshawschool.com ♥

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