Frequently Asked Questions
- Does enrolling in your school satisfy Florida's compulsory attendance requirement?
Yes. Enrollment at Aspiring Heights Academy legally meets the compulsory attendance laws of Florida. Aspiring Heights Academy is a home-based, non-public school that has been registered with the Florida Department of Education since 2010. We provide an "umbrella" option to help parents educate their children at home.
- Does it matter what state we live in to enroll in your school?
Yes. Our school only serves Florida families. Students must be legal residents in the state of Florida. Military families living outside the state of Florida may enroll their children, but they must maintain their Florida residency.
- Does it matter what county we live in to enroll in your school?
No. Our school serves students statewide.
- Is your school accredited?
No. There is no state law requiring private schools to be accredited.
- When can I enroll my children in your school?
Enrollment is open year-round.
- What are the differences between your standard, academic, and high school diploma programs?
Our Standard Program includes record keeping services, FLVS enrollment, school IDs, a school email account, and MS Office 365 Education. Our Academic Program includes the foregoing, plus transcript services, dual enrollment opportunities, and an opportunity for students to earn a Certificate of Completion at the end of each school year. Our High School Diploma Program includes everything offered under our Standard Program, plus transcript services, dual enrollment opportunities, and an opportunity to for students to earn a high school diploma and a Bright Futures scholarship.
- How much does it cost?
- How long does the enrollment process take?
Enrollments are processed Monday through Friday within three business days of receipt of the required documentation and payment. We offer expedited services (same day and Saturday enrollments) for an additional fee.
- Is my child's enrollment information sent to our school district or to the state?
We do not routinely send enrollment information to school districts or the state. We will notify your child's previous school of their enrollment at AHA if you include a notification form with your enrollment documents. Parents and guardians are responsible for formally withdrawing their children from their previous school or terminating their home education program. See our FAQs about notifying school officials for more information.Florida law requires private schools to keep a register of enrollment and attendance open for inspection by the district school superintendent of the district in which the school is located. Statistical data, such as how many students are enrolled in each grade level, is provided to the Florida Department of Education. You can view Private School Annual Reports at www.fldoe.org.
- May I register for the upcoming school year early?
Yes. If you would like to start your school year on a specific date, just include your preferred start date on your enrollment form. This must be a future date. We cannot backdate enrollments.
- When will my child's school term begin?
Your child's term begins on the day your child is enrolled unless a future start date is requested on your enrollment form.
- Can we change our school term?
As long as your child has maintained regular attendance during his or her current school term, you are welcome to re-enroll your child to establish a new school term. Just send us your attendance record and a Returning Student Enrollment Form specifying the future date you would like to begin the new school term.
- What do I need to do when my child is ready to change grade levels?
When your child is ready to change grade levels, just send us your attendance record and re-enroll. Students must be re-enrolled with each grade change. To be eligible for re-enrollment, your child must have maintained regular attendance during his or her current term.
- Do I have to maintain a school portfolio?
No, but we recommend you keep one. It may be helpful should your child enter or return to public school. You may need to keep one if you enroll your child in our academic or diploma program. Also, some colleges and universities require applicants who complete a home school program or graduate from a non-accredited high school to submit portfolios to be considered for admission.
- How is my child evaluated?
You may choose the method in which your child is evaluated. We do not provide evaluations or require that parents have their children evaluated. Some parents want to have their children tested, so we've compiled a list of assessment resources here as a starting point. You'll may also find our directory of Florida evaluators at iamhomeschooling.com helpful, especially if you will be validating your child's coursework via a portfolio review.
- What kinds of records do I have to keep?
The only record keeping we require is attendance. You must keep records that document your child's absence or attendance for each school day and show regular school attendance of at least 180 days for each school year. See our FAQs about attendance requirements for more information. If you are enrolling your child in our academic or diploma program, you will need to document coursework in accordance with our program policies.
- How do we document our children's grades?
If your children are taking courses through FLVS, their grades will be documented on FLVS transcripts. If you are using your own curriculum, you may document their grades on grade reports. (Students enrolled in our academic or diploma programs must document coursework more thoroughly.)
- Will my child have to participate in standardized testing?
No. Students are not required to take Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS) Assessments or Florida Standard Assessments (FSA), including End-of-Course (EOC) assessments. Students may participate in EOC assessments, if desired, and there are certain circumstances in which students should participate. Learn More
- Do you provide curriculum?
We provide online curriculum through an agreement with Florida Virtual School (FLVS), however, enrolling in FLVS courses is optional. We encourage you to use what works best for your child.
- Will my child be able to participate in public school sports?
No. Students enrolled at Aspiring Heights Academy are not eligible to participate in interscholastic activities.
- Does enrolling in your school satisfy Florida's compulsory attendance requirement?
- What information do you need for enrollment at your school?
We need the following:
- A photocopy of your child's birth certificate;
- A school-entry health exam dated within one year before enrollment in school;
- A Florida immunization certificate if it is not on file with the Immunization Registry;
- Proof of residency if your child will be enrolling in courses at FLVS; and
- An enrollment form.
Please read through these FAQs and our New Student Enrollment page for more information.
- I do not have a copy of my child's birth certificate. Will you accept something else?
If you do not have your child's birth certificate, we will accept one of the following:
- A duly attested transcript of a certificate of baptism showing the date of birth and place of baptism of your child, accompanied by an affidavit sworn to by you;
- An insurance policy on your child’s life that has been in force for at least 2 years;
- A bona fide contemporary religious record of your child’s birth accompanied by an affidavit sworn to by you; or
- A passport or certificate of arrival in the United States showing the age of your child.
If you do not have any of the above, and your child was born in Florida, you can request your child's birth record from the Florida Department of Health. If your child was born in a different state, you can find out where to write for vital records at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We can request a copy of your child's birth certificate from your child's former school with your signed authorization. You must provide your child's birth certificate for Kindergarten entrance.
- Our children recently had physicals, but we do not have their forms. Do they have to be re-examined?
You should be able to obtain copies from your children's physician. We can also request copies from their former school with your signed authorization. Note that the examination must have been performed within one year before enrollment in our school. Also, certification of a school entry health examination does not have to be documented on DH Form 3040. We can accept a signed statement by an authorized professional that indicates the results of the components included in the health examination.
- How do we document that our child was screened for scoliosis?
Scoliosis screenings are only required for students in 6th grade. If your child recently had a school entry health examination, the results would be included on your child's Certificate of School Entry Health Examination (postural assessment). If your child is screened separately, then the results will be provided on some other health record. We will accept any health record provided the screening was performed for 6th grade entrance or while enrolled in 6th grade and it shows your child's name and date of examination.
- How do we document our child's immunizations?
Florida Statute 1003.22 requires that each child has a certification of immunization on file with the immunization registry. If your child has been excluded from participation in the immunization registry, you must present your child's immunization certificate. Florida physicians and county health departments issue Form DH 680, Certification of Immunization. No other immunization records can be accepted.
If your child is entering 7th grade, and your child has been excluded from the immunization registry, we will need an updated Form DH Form 680 indicating that immunizations are complete for 7th grade entry.
If the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with your religious tenets or practices, you may request religious exemption (DH Form 681 or objection in writing). County health departments issue Form DH 681, Religious Exemption From Immunization.
Please read our article on vaccines and immunizations for more information.
- My child's immunizations were administered in another state. Can I send what I have?
If you recently moved to Florida from another state, you must have your child's vaccination history transferred to Florida's Form DH 680, Certification of Immunization. This form is completed by Florida county health departments and private healthcare providers. Please read our article on vaccines and immunizations for more information about Florida's immunization requirements.
- We don't have the required health records. Can we just state that we do not want our children to be examined or immunized?
Florida law only allows a parent to object to health examinations and immunizations on religious grounds. We have sample religious exemption letters here.
- If we're educating our children at home, why do you need health records?
All private schools are required to have this information pursuant to Florida Statute 1003.22.
- What documents do you accept for proof of residency?
We accept copies of the following documents for proof of residency. We will need one document from Group A and one document from Group B. Your documents must be current, dated, and the name and the address on both of your documents must match. You are welcome to block out sensitive information such as account numbers and account balances, but your documents must show the the name and address of the issuer, the date the document was issued, and your name and residential address. To protect your identity, we recommend that you mail your documents. Proof of residency is updated annually or as needed.
Group A Group B For extenuating circumstances, please contact us.
- Utility bill (gas, water, sewage, electric, phone, cable) dated within the last 30 days (An activation notice for new service may be accepted.)
- Property tax statement
- Mortgage statement or mortgage commitment
- Home purchase contract, including the closing date, with a copy of the deed provided within 60 days of the closing date
- Lease/rental agreement
- Rent receipt with name of lessee and contact information
- Florida driver license
- Florida state issued ID card
- Automobile insurance statement
- Bank account statement
- Florida Voter's Registration Card
Families Living with Other Families
If your family resides with another person or family, we will need the following:
- A signed Residency Affidavit and
- One document from Group A from the homeowner or lessor and
- One document from Group B from the parent or guardian.
If your family is living outside of Florida due to military service, we will need military orders and one of the following:
- DD Form 2058, State of Legal Residence Certificate
- Leave and Earning Statement (LES)
- Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Form 702
- Do you need my child's previous school's records?
Not necessarily. We will need proof of Kindergarten completion if your child will be taking courses at FLVS and is entering first grade. We will need school records if you want your child's grades transferred to our school under our academic program. We will need high school transcripts if your child is enrolling in our diploma program. If you would like us to request your child's records from their former school, please include an Enrollment Notification and Records Request form with your enrollment documents.
- How secure are my children's school records and personal information?
Very! We take the security of your and your children's personal information seriously. Our students' permanent school records are archived in locked, fire-proof file cabinets, and documents containing obsolete personal information are shredded and destroyed. Digital records are kept offline on password protected drives. We do not use outside sources or third party services (e.g., Google's services or cloud storage) to store personal information, and we do not share our students' records unless required by law without explicit parental/guardian or student consent.
You must notify us in writing if you wish to have your child's records sent to another person or entity. Note that we will provide you with access to your child's records after your child turns 18 years of age as long as your child is enrolled at our school. A student age 18 and older may formally request to restrict your access.
- What information do you need for enrollment at your school?
- Do I have to notify anyone that I am enrolling my child in your school?
If your child is not enrolled in any Florida home education program, public school, or private school, then you do not need to notify anyone of your educational choice to enroll your child in our school. There is no statute requiring parents to inform the district of their child who may attend a private school.
Students enrolled at Aspiring Heights Academy are private school students–not homeschool students as defined in s. 1002.41. You do not need to send a notice of intent to establish a home education program to your district school superintendent if you enroll your child in our school.
- Who do I notify if my children are enrolled in a public school?
If your children are currently enrolled in a public school, then you will need to formally withdraw them. Your district school will ask where your children are going so that they can assign the appropriate withdrawal code. Specify that your children are (or will be) enrolled in a private school, not a home education program. If you would like us to verify your children's enrollment at AHA with their former school, include a notification form with your enrollment documents.
Some schools prefer that parents withdraw their children before enrolling them into another school, some schools prefer that parents withdraw their children after enrolling them into another school, and some schools don't have a preference. In any case, be sure to formally withdraw your child in a timely manner to avoid any potential truancy issues. (See Florida Statute 1003.26)
- Who do I notify if my child is enrolled in a private school?
If your child is currently enrolled in another private school, you will need to formally withdraw your child from the other school. Your school may have a particular policy regarding this, but you should only need to provide them with something in writing stating that you are withdrawing your child. If you would like us to notify your child's previous school of their enrollment at AHA, include a notification form with your enrollment documents.
- Who do I notify if my child is registered as a homeschooler with our district school?
If you sent your district school superintendent a notice of intent to establish a home education program, then you must send them a termination notice, along with your child's annual evaluation, within 30 days of your child's enrollment at Aspiring Heights Academy. Your district school may have a form you can download, or you can download a termination notice here. (The requirement to include your child's annual evaluation with your termination notice was added to s. 1002.41(1)(c) in 2018.)
- Do I have to notify anyone that I am enrolling my child in your school?
- How do I keep attendance?
We will send you a customized attendance form on enrollment. You will log the days and total number of hours your child is in school. You must keep complete and accurate attendance records that document the minimum compulsory attendance requirements required by law. Attendance records are due at the end of your child's school term or upon grade level completion, whichever comes first. Learn More
- How often do we send you our attendance records?
Attendance records are submitted annually or on grade level completion. You will need to send us your attendance record and re-enroll with each grade change. You are welcome to send us your children's attendance more often. We have parents that send it to us monthly, quarterly, and biannually. Just keep one record (per child) and update it throughout the school year.
- Why do we need to log both days and hours?
Private school students must maintain regular attendance as defined in Florida Rule 6A-1.09512 to be deemed in compliance with Florida's compulsory attendance laws. Recording both days and hours of attendance specifically documents that your child is meeting the state's requirements.
- We school at different hours and take breaks throughout the day. Do we need to keep track of the specific times our children are in school?
No. You only need to record the total number of instructional hours for the day.
- Does my child have to be in school for a specific number of hours each day?
No. Your child's daily instructional hours may vary, but your child must meet the required net number of instructional hours by the end of the school term. Learn More
- What counts as a school day?
As a supervisor of your child's education, you decide what counts as a school day. Field trips, classes at museums and science centers, library activities, co-op classes, and online lessons, to name a few, all count. Instruction does not have to take place in the home.
- Do we have to keep a log of our activities or the curriculum we use?
Maybe. If you are enrolling your child in our academic program, you will need to keep records for your portfolio review. If you are enrolling your child in our diploma program and are seeking credits by portfolio, you will need to keep records for credit verification. If you are enrolling your child in our standard program, you do not need to keep such records, but we recommend you do. You may find them helpful at some point, especially should your child enter or return to a public or traditional private school. In any case, you do not need to provide this information to us.
- Do we have to keep a portfolio?
You may need to keep a portfolio if your child is enrolled in our academic or diploma program, but otherwise no. However, we encourage you to do so. We especially recommend you keep a portfolio documenting Kindergarten, since successful completion of Kindergarten is required for entry into public school first grade, and to document high school coursework, since some colleges and universities require applicants who complete a home school program or graduate from a non-accredited high school to submit portfolios (and/or transcripts) to be considered for admission.
- My child has already started his school year. Can we count his attendance from his last school?
Our attendance record is only for documenting attendance at our school, but you may include a note under the Notes section if you want to include your child's attendance at his former school as part of the 180 day requirement.
- Does my child have to wait until the end of the school term before advancing to the next grade level?
No, but please send us your child's attendance and re-enroll with each grade level placement. It's common for students to have less than the required number of hours and days of attendance with mid-term grade changes, but your child must have maintained regular attendance to be eligible for re-enrollment.
- When will my attendance record be due?
Your attendance record will be due one year from your child's term start date or on grade level completion, whichever comes first. We'll email you a reminder about a month before the end of your child's school term. We'll send you a reminder post card, too, if requested.
- What if I later want my child on a typical public school schedule?
Provided your child maintained regular attendance, you are welcome to re-enroll to establish a new school term.
- How do we submit attendance records?
Attendance records may be mailed or emailed. Learn More
- How do I keep attendance?
- What is FLVS?
Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is a state-funded, online K–12 public school that is free to all Florida students through age 19. There are two different Florida Virtual School programs offered to Florida students: FLVS Flex (formerly known as FLVS Part Time) and FLVS Full Time.
1 FLVS Flex provides free online courses to students in Elementary school, middle school, and high school. AHA students may take as few as one course and as many as six. Statewide assessments are not required. Enrollment is open year-round.
2 FLVS Full Time is online public school. Students enrolled in the FLVS Full Time program follow a traditional 180-day academic calendar, take a standard public school course load, participate in the Florida Statewide Assessment Program, and are eligible for public high school diplomas. There are specific enrollment periods. FLVS is the school of record, so students would not also be enrolled in an umbrella school or in a home education program.
- Are there any specific eligibility requirements?
Yes. Students must be legal Florida residents. There are also specific age requirements and limitations. Students must be 5 years old on or before September 1 to enroll in Kindergarten courses, and students must be 6 years old on or before September 1 to enroll in first grade courses. First grade students must also have successfully completed Kindergarten. Students can only enroll in courses through age 19, and all coursework must be completed prior to turning 21.
- How do we sign up?
You will sign up at flvs.net. Please see their step-by-step guide for registration instructions. For the school type, you will choose private school. For the county, you will choose Sarasota (since that is where our school is located). For the school, you will choose Aspiring Heights Academy.
Students with existing FLVS accounts only need to change their physical school to Aspiring Heights Academy under their Academic Profile.
Please see our FLVS page for more information.
- Do we have to provide proof of residency to FLVS since we are providing it to you?
- What if my child is taking FLVS courses through another school or homeschool?
Most courses in progress will continue as usual. If your child is taking a course though a district franchise, your child will be able to continue the course if it is also offered at FLVS Flex.
When changing your child's school of record (see How do we sign up? above), you may receive an email from FLVS stating that you need to review your current enrollments with the new Physical School Guidance counselor. We will contact you if there are any issues that need to be addressed.
- How many courses may my child take?
Based on FLVS course registration guidelines for private school students, FLVS Flex students may to take up to six (6) courses at one time. Selecting both segments in a two segment course counts as one course. Students may request an additional course when at least 50% of an active course has been completed.
- When will my children be able to start their courses?
Classrooms are usually assigned within 48 hours of courses being approved, but it can take longer if seats are not available. Once classrooms are assigned, students can start their courses. You will want to check classroom status regularly. If you notice an extended delay, please let us know, and we will see if we can expedite placement.
Students may request a future start date, but FLVS's "preferred start date" option is not always what it suggests. FLVS previously stated that "the placement process will begin on the preferred start date you selected during registration," but their current policy states that they "will do [their] best to place you on your preferred start date." Placement on your preferred start date is is not guaranteed.
- What are the courses like?
FLVS Flex Elementary and middle school students work with their teachers and with the guidance of their parents. Parents are expected to help their children navigate through the course, monitor their progress, and ensure they master course content. FLVS Flex high school students work independently. Sometimes students are required to download (free) software and/or visit external websites to complete assignments. Middle and high school courses include live lessons and classmate collaboration assignments. All assignments are submitted online, including assessments, so students are on the computer a lot. Periodically, students connect with their teachers on the phone for discussion-based assessments. FLVS offers sample high school level lessons and course videos and Elementary level sample lessons and printable worksheets.
- Does FLVS provide school supplies?
No. You need to ensure your child has a computer, an Internet connection, and any supplies needed for the course your child is taking (pencils, notebooks, rulers, software (free), library books, etc.). See the materials list provided with each course and FLVS System Requirements for more information. Your child will also need email access and access to a telephone to be able to communicate with teachers.
- When are teachers available?
Teachers are (ideally) available Monday through Friday from 8AM to 8PM, but sometimes they can be hard to reach. Messages are generally returned within 24 hours. Substitute teachers are assigned periodically.
- Are students expected to sign into class everyday?
No. Students are allowed to work at their own pace and on days and at times that work for them, but they are expected to submit work regularly (usually 3-5 assignments a week). Additionally, parents are required to connect with their children's teachers (via phone or email) at least once per month.
- How long do courses take to complete?
Depending on the course, courses can take between 16 and 36 weeks to complete. Courses are divided into segments (semesters), and each segment takes between 16-18 weeks to complete. Some middle school and high school level courses have two segments; some have only one. Students are not required to take both segments of a two segment course. Each high school segment is worth 1/2 credit.
Students may work ahead of pace and finish the course in less time. Also, students may work at a slower pace and finish the course in more time. In either case, it's important that students submit work regularly. We encourage parents and students to reach out to their assigned teachers if they are struggling with the material or the pace.
- What if my child doesn't like a course?
FLVS gives students a 14 day grace period to try out a course. If a course is too easy, too difficult, or doesn't meet a student's expectations, a student may drop the course without penalty during the first 14 days of being activated in the course. Note that a student may also be withdrawn from a course if the student fails to meet the initial submission requirements during the 14 day grace period.
- Can my child retake a course?
Students can retake a course that has not been passed with a grade "C" or better. Elementary students cannot retake courses once they have been promoted to the next grade level.
- How does my child withdraw from a course?
If a classroom has not been assigned yet, the course can be dropped from your child's dashboard. Once a classroom is assigned, you will need to call or email the assigned teacher to request withdrawal.
- Does my child have to take the End-of-Course (EOC) Assessments?
No. Our students are not required to take EOC assessments. Students may take these tests, if desired. There are also certain circumstances in which students should take these tests. Learn More
- My child's grade level was changed by FLVS. How to I correct this?
This can happen when FLVS starts their new school year. You only need to go into your child's Student Profile and select the correct grade level. Note that FLVS automatically calculates a student's projected graduation date based on his or her grade level.
- What is FLVS?
- Do high school students have to be enrolled in your diploma program?
No. Our High School Diploma Program is optional.
- Can my child be enrolled in the diploma program at any time?
Yes, but students must complete a minimum of one full semester with us and must be enrolled prior to age 20. If you're unsure of your child's high school plans, you're welcome to wait. We recommend you follow our graduation requirements in the meantime. Student must meet our eligibility requirements to be accepted into the program.
- Do high school students have to take statewide assessments?
No. Private and home educated students are not required to take Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) or Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS) assessments, including End-of-Course (EOC) assessments. Students may want to take EOC assessments to earn credit for a course without having to take the course or if they may enter or return to public school. Learn More
- Will you need my child's high school transcripts?
We will only need high school transcripts if your child is enrolled in our academic or diploma program. Learn More
- Will my child receive a diploma?
- Will my child be able to participate in a dual enrollment program?
If your child is in grades 6–12, is enrolled in our Academic Program or High School Diploma Program, and meets the eligibility requirements for initial enrollment in college credit dual enrollment courses, then they may be able to participate in Florida's dual enrollment program. Learn More
- Do you provide transcripts?
We maintain and provide transcripts for students enrolled in our academic and diploma programs. Students taking courses at FLVS are able to access their transcripts directly from FLVS. Learn More
- Can we use our own curriculum?
We do not require any specific high school curriculum. If your high school student is enrolled in our diploma program, however, coursework must be documented in accordance with our program policies. Learn More
- Will my child be accepted into college?
No school can guarantee college acceptance. Many postsecondary institutions require applicants who complete a home education program or graduate from a non-accredited high school to submit portfolios and transcripts from their originating sources to be considered for admission. Additionally, the acceptance of diplomas and transcripts from private schools (whether accredited or not) is subject to the requirements of the receiving institution. If you will be enrolling your high school student into our diploma program, we encourage you to reach out to colleges your student is considering attending to ensure they will be accepted for admission. See our Diploma Program Eligibility page for more information.
If you will not be enrolling your high school student into our diploma program, keep in mind that students enrolled at Aspiring Heights Academy are private school students, not home educated as defined in s. 1002.41. Some colleges require students applying as home educated to provide district verification that they completed a home education program. Some colleges accept students who complete high school under an umbrella school without earning a high school diploma as home educated; some require the student to present a GED. We encourage you to reach out to prospective colleges to find out what their admission requirements are.
- Will my child be eligible for a Bright Futures Scholarship?
Provided specific scholarship eligibility requirements are met, students graduating with an Aspiring Heights Academy diploma are eligible for Bright Futures Scholarships. Learn More
To be eligible for a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, students must earn a Florida high school diploma, be registered with the district as a home educated student for the current and prior academic year (typically grades 11 and 12), earn a GED, or earn a diploma from a non-Florida school while living with a parent or guardian who is a Florida resident but on military or public service assignment away from Florida. Please visit https://www.floridastudentfinancialaidsg.org/SAPBFMAIN/SAPBFMAIN for more information.
- Do high school students have to be enrolled in your diploma program?