Thursday, January 27, 2022

Marco Island Academy approved



The Marco Island Academy is pleased to announce the approval of it’s charter application by the Collier County School Board. The MI Academy would like to thank the community, School Board, City Council and, most importantly, all of the volunteers who have contributed tirelessly to the project.

Marco Island currently has an A-rated Elementary School and a Charter Middle School that is ranked in the top 4% statewide for academic excellence. The MI Academy seeks to expand on this locally unique scholastic achievement. The MI Academy will form a partnership joining students, teachers, parents and the community. Together, we can create a culture of high expectation, collaboration and service.

To be assured that the community has the most current information about the funding, enrollment, demographics, etc. of the MI Academy, the following information has been provided.


According to Florida Title XLVIII K-20 Education Code, Chapter 1002:
(4)(l) “A charter school shall not levy taxes or issue bonds secured by tax revenues.”
(17) FUNDING (b) “The basis for the agreement for funding students enrolled in a charter school shall be the sum of the school district’s operating funds from the Florida Education Finance Program as provided in s. 1011.62 and the General Appropriations Act. Charter schools whose students or programs meet the eligibility criteria in law shall be entitled to their proportionate share of categorical program funds included in the total funds available in the Florida Education Finance Program by the Legislature.”

In other words, since school funds are real-estate based, residents are paying the same amount of educational tax money whether our students are educated on Marco or in Naples. In simple terms, the money follows the student. Construction and operating costs will be paid through grants, fundraising and donations.


Phase 1 = 2011 – 2012: 200-250 students grades 9 and 10

Phase 2 = 2012 – 2013: 300-375 students grades 9, 10 and 11

Phase 3 = 2013 and beyond: 400-500 students maximum grades 9 -12


The make-up of the Marco Island Academy’s student body is to have demographics similar to its feeder school, the MI Charter Middle School.


The amazing, state-of-the-art, green campus has been engineered by one of the industry’s foremost experts, John Szerdi of Living Designs Group, in conjunction with world-renowned environmental design consultant William Browning, Partner, Terrapin Bright Green. The design is targeted to earn a top rating by certified LEEDS standards, entitling the school to be eligible for related grants. The building itself is to be a teaching tool where environmental lessons come to life through hands-on learning within a living pond, an outdoor classroom, a biolarium, and exhibits of solar energy, rainwater reuse, greywater treatment, composting and recycling.


The Academy will offer a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. Students have an opportunity to obtain dual enrollment college credits while learning the skills necessary for postsecondary success. The Academy will expand the innovative science curriculum to include a special emphasis on the STEM Program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

The Academy’s location near the Ten Thousand Islands, the Gulf of Mexico, estuaries, and the Everglades, affords unique opportunities to take advantage of nearby natural resources for educational purposes. Our academy will be one of the first schools in the world to form a unique partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society. Dr. Richard Murphy, their Director of Education and Science, will incorporate our island specific environment into the curriculum.

The Power Up program for disadvantaged and “at risk” students will prepare them for post-secondary success. Through partnering with the Marco Island Y, disadvantaged students can attend programs in preventive healthcare and participate in either physical fitness programs or extra-curricular sports. Additionally, a uniform allowance will be given to those who are economically challenged. At-risk students will attend an after school Power Hour of instruction in the four core subjects with additional instruction for English Language Learners (ELL).

The Academy will offer both competitive team and individual Co-Curricular experiences. Sports offerings will include: basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, track, cross country, golf, tennis and cheerleading. In addition, students may participate in band, debate team, math team, yearbook committee, school newspaper, student government, foreign language clubs, a garden club, an outdoor adventure club and other organizations established through the Co-Op program.

Enterprise – Student-run enterprises will incorporate students teaming with local mentors to formulate a real life business plan, market their business, and run their own company.

Co-op – The Marco Island Academy is a futuristic community school cultivating multigenerational relationships where students will learn from the highly talented pool of retired adults residing within the community and, in turn, students will enrich the lives of Marco Islanders. Students will form “Junior” associations to partner with established organizations like Junior Friends of Tigertail. Volunteer Community Service Hours will further benefit island residents and civic endeavors.

A Lifelong Learning Academy will provide extended learning opportunities on a wide variety of subjects enriching the adult community.


The Academy will provide the missing educational link on our island. It will be a small school, which research has proven will create better attendance, less violence, greater participation in co-curricular activities, improved health, higher graduation rates and a proportional increase in lifelong earnings.


The Marco Island Academy will assure a portion of Marco Island’s 63 million taxpayer dollars paid to Collier County for schools is returned to Marco Island.

A high school on the island will boost local home sales to families with children as the time and expense of a commute to an off-island school are eliminated (8,000-plus mi/yr for a parent to drive their child).

A communal spirit normally associated with small towns across America will be promoted through cultural, recreational, social and sporting events.

The MI Academy’s in-depth study of our natural ecosystems has the potential to impart untold scientific knowledge regarding the area’s many species and environs. The Academy will be a prototype for the incorporation of interdisciplinary science curriculums within coastal schools worldwide.


Jean-Michel Cousteau: Founder, Ocean Futures Society

Dr. Richard Murphy: Director of Education, Oceans Future Society

William Browning: Chair, U.S. Green Building Board; Founder, Greening of America

Rene Champagne: CEO ITT Educational Services (retd.); Chair, Career College Assoc.

Frank Conrad Russen: World-renowned artist, Naples Art Association

Ron Albeit: Founder FGCU Resort/Hospitality degree program; Adjunct Professor

Lyman Carter: President and CEO of Bluenose Edutainment


The MI Academy is currently searching for the “best fit” location on Marco Island. All suggestions are being accepted and thoroughly researched.


Jan 13th – 23rd, 2011- Bridal Boutique at The Esplanade- We are collecting gently used wedding and evening gowns. Please contact us at 239-970-0390 if you would like to make a gown donation for a tax-receipt.

Feb 6th, 2011- Superbowl party at Guy Harvey’s Island Grill

March 12, 2011- 5K Run/Walk starting and ending at The Esplanade

For more information on this project, please visit

New volunteers are always welcome and appreciated.

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