The Sky Is The Limit At Corbett Preparatory School Of IDS

Published on 30 January 2014 in Business
Alexis Selby (author)

Alexis Selby


Location(s): Corbett Prep of IDS

Touring the Corbett Preparatory campus, I was in awe. Nestled amongst the Cypress trees on a beautiful lake and adjoining pond, the picturesque scenery reminded me of something straight out of a fairytale. Walking along the boardwalk, it was easy to see why this school is often referred to as “The Magic Kingdom.” Yet, as breathtaking as it is in the outside, what goes on inside is even more impressive.

Founded by two moms with a dream, Corbett Preparatory School of IDS, previously named Independent Day School, raises the bar for the future of education, going far beyond the basic fundamentals of teaching and preparing their students not only how to succeed in the classroom, but more importantly – how to succeed in life. Their teaching methods are exemplary, which are a reflection of their teachers, who are by far some of the best in the nation. “Every child and every family is different,” says Dr. Joyce Burick Swarzman, the Headmaster at Corbett Prep. “We pride ourselves on providing our students with individualized instruction and the opportunity to interact with others in positive ways. What we are is an engaging preparation for life – each and every day.”

Upholding a superior level of excellence in regards to student education, the teachers at Corbett Prep believe every child is gifted in his or her own way, and thus have a unique curriculum, specially designed to showcase each student’s independent skills and attributes. In addition to weekly and monthly trainings, every teacher at Corbett Prep is endorsed in gifted education through a master’s level grant with the University of South Florida’s Department of Education and the entire faculty has recently completed Harvard Graduate education classes. Dr. Swarzman emphasizes the importance of continuous education. She says, “To be a teacher means to be a life long learner.”

Corbett Prep teacher Mr. Scott, says, “As teachers, we receive a great foundation in education. We are continually being educated and learning new things. The pressure of the Olympic mentality is big; we are always looking for areas to improve, to be the best that we can be. We are very fortunate to have positive attitudes among our staff and great support from our faculty.”

A+ Action Approach to Leadership and Change

Corbett Preparatory School of IDS was founded upon a strong set of principals and values and there are seven common characteristics, known as the A+ Action Approach to Leadership and Change, that have shaped its existence; each of these components have gone beyond words and ideas, translating into action and steps that have propelled the school forward over the years.

Model the Models – “At Corbett Prep, our teachers use research-based and best-practice knowledge on how students can learn best and with the most joy,” says Karen Vaughan, Public Relations Coordinator at Corbett Preparatory School of IDS.

Proceed Purposefully – Everything you do, do with purpose. “Every child deserves a teacher of the year,” says Dr. Swarzman. “We train our teachers to be the teacher that they would want for their own children.”

Embrace a Vision- The goal at Corbett Prep is to create joy and make learning fun, and by encouraging students to embrace a vision and set attainable goals, the teachers are providing their students with a foundation for the future, instilling in them a valuable set of principals that they can carry with them through life. “We challenge our students to reach their highest potential and beyond,” adds Dr. Swarzman. “There are limitless opportunities for children and the excitement for teachers is figuring it out. The students learn to complete their work with quality– that is a requirement. When you learn to complete your work with quality you learn to develop pride in what you do and that is how you learn a strong work ethic.”

Build Leadership Capacity, Teams and Networks - Corbett Preparatory School of IDS is constantly networking with other universities and schools, working together to help each other achieve their goals.

Adopt “Presence” – Adopt presence – a presence of pride in your profession, presence that shows passion for your work and a presence that shows purpose.

Develop a Lifelong Learning Mentality – At Corbett Prep they believe that there is always opportunity for growth and continued progress and thus, have adopted the Olympic Mentality; the mentality of the best always looking for ways to be better. The teachers have a commitment to perpetual and constant learning and are always looking for areas in which they can grow and improve. Dr. Swarzman says, “We are in the business of educating students to be the best that they can be and to do that you have to work with teachers who are willing to do the same.”

Persevere and Persist – To Maintain purpose and remain persistent, despite adversity or difficulty, and never give up on your dreams.

What The Students Have to Say:

On my previous visit I had the pleasure of meeting a variety of different students, ranging in age from 1st graders to 8th graders; their excitement for learning was obvious. When asked how you treat people, each student happily responded, “with dignity and respect.”

6th grade student Emma says, “Everybody is really nice and the teachers are fun. I like the open campus and all the afterschool activities. I take private piano lessons and dance. In Spanish, if you are lucky and you speak Spanish well, when exchange students come from Madrid you get to host them for 3 weeks.”

What Emma is referring to is the International Exchange program at Corbett Prep. This past year Emma’s family hosted a student from Madrid, who was accompanied by one of her teachers. The teachers visit Corbett to learn about the curriculum and teaching methods in order to bring back the knowledge they have learned to help their schools. This summer Emma’s family will be hosting another exchange student from China.

Taylor, another 6th grade student, says, “This school is not like any other school. It is special and different in its own unique way. There are a lot of activities. The games are educational, but fun, allowing us to learn in an exciting way.”

“We are very real with our students, therefore we expect them to be real with us,” says Dr. Swarzman. We expect them to be positive, purposeful and passionate about what they do and what they learn.”

Founded in 1968, Corbett Preparatory School of IDS (formerly Independent Day School Corbett Campus) is a fully accredited, nonsectarian private school located in Tampa’s Carrollwood neighborhood. The school serves over 500 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and offers the International Baccalaureate program of study for all students. Teachers are endorsed in gifted education through a master’s level grant with the University of South Florida College of Education.

Corbett Prep balances a dynamic, nurturing and safe learning environment with high standards and high expectations to develop a positive approach to life and learning. Corbett Prep has become recognized as an exemplary school with over 7,000 visitors observing and learning from Corbett Prep teachers.

Corbett Preparatory School of IDS is located at 12015 Orange Grove Drive in Tampa. For more information, visit, or contact the Admissions Office at (813) 961-3087 or by email at

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