Considering a Private School in Miami?

Posted on: July 13, 2018


By Lauren Billingslea Dowlen
Luxury Sales Associate


See my top tips and a non-exhaustive overview of our area’s independent Private schools


I was intrigued by a recent article in the Miami Herald written by a local real estate broker, suggesting that while Miami does offer several high-quality private schools, the community would benefit from a higher number of such schools, especially with an international focus. It seems likely that as our population grows, lawmakers and the business sector will demand more investment in public education. And an improved economy will drive philanthropic investment in independent schools. With rising discretionary income for wealthier families, private schools launch capital and endowment campaigns to build facilities or programs, recruit and retain faculty, and even buy land for their future students. Meanwhile perhaps a brief description of several of Miami’s most well-known independent schools might be useful.

I have been fortunate to be a part of the independent school community in Miami and the state of Florida for many years. My involvement with the Florida Association of Independent Schools and the National Association of Independent Schools allows me to offer a perspective on the unique programs that our local private schools provide. Should you have specific questions about schools, the neighborhoods they’re located in, or would like an introduction to the Admissions staff, please let me know and I’d be happy to discuss further. Keep in mind tuition costs may be higher or lower than the independent school market you are coming from. All schools will offer some kind of financial aid to family who demonstrate need. Tuition costs will generally range from $10,000 to $45,000 a year.

Before the overview, however, consider my top tips when considering an independent school for your child:

  1. Identify your priorities, and keep an open mind. What is your child interested in? What school traits are most important to them, and to your family? Does your child require a special academic program or extracurricular activity? Then, keep an open mind as you learn about each school!
  2. Visit each school. Like touring a house, every school has it’s own “feeling.” It’s the best way to educate yourself rather than depending on other families’ recommendations or personal experiences. Take your child with you if possible!
  3. Start the application process early. Including the visit, you’ll need to begin at least one school year prior to the child attending. Check the school’s websites carefully for admissions deadlines.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of a few of our area’s private schools. Organized by Preschools, Elementary Schools, Middle/High Schools, and Preschool-Grade 12 Schools. Click on the name of each school to visit their website to learn more:

Preschools (Schools only serving Kindergarten or younger age children):

Pineview Preschools – located across three campuses (in Miami-Dade county) from Downtown to South Miami, Pineview strives to build a foundation for school readiness, particularly through play-based activities.

Plymouth Preschool – located at Plymouth Congregational Church in Coconut Grove, this “church-based school with an open door policy” for families with children ages 2-6.

The Growing Place Early Childhood Center – associated with the First United Methodist Church of Coral Gables, TGP is a is “a well-established Christian early childhood center.” Open to all faiths, TGP serves children from one year old to Kindergarten.

Elementary Schools (Schools may serve Preschool through Fifth Grade students)

Alexander Montessori School – located at four campuses from Coral Gables to Palmetto Bay, the school is the only fully-accredited American Montessori Society School in Miami. The montessori-based curriculum seeks to support children intellectually, and socially to be independent thinkers and self-directed leaders.

Archdiocese of Miami Schools – located throughout Miami and Broward county. Within the Catholic Archdiocese of Miami, there are 48 elementary schools, 13 secondary schools (four of which are owned by religious orders), and one virtual school. Catholic Schools emphasize “faith, academic rigor, self-discipline and high moral standards.” Though there are too many schools to name individually, several are housed in the Coral Gables area including St. Theresa, Epiphany, and Our Lady of Lourdes Academy. Explore the main website to find out more:

Episcopal Schools – St. Philip’s Episcopal School (Coral Gables), St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School (Coconut Grove), and St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School (Coral Gables). These “sister schools” are each affiliated with an Episcopal parish. Open and encouraging to all faiths, each school’s slightly different educational program focuses on mind, body and spirit.

Fisher Island Day School – located on Fisher Island and serving students from 2 years old – Grade 8, the school offers a well-rounded educational program. FIDS strives to prepare children for entrance into high school with a “foundation for happy and successful academic and personal growth.”

Temple Beth Am Day School – located in Pinecrest, offering “a challenging, integrated, general and Judaic studies curriculum” for students from 15 months – Grade 5, the school welcomes families of all faiths to its Reformed Jewish community. The school also utilizes Open Circle, a social skills program that fosters positive student relationships.

The Gordon School of Beth David Congregation – located in Miami near the Brickell and Roads neighborhoods, the Gordon School offers preschool, elementary, and the Tikvah Center, “the only autism-specific program within a Jewish Day School in Florida.” The overall curriculum integrates secular and Judaic studies.

Middle/High Schools (May serve students in Grades 6-12 or only 9-12)

Belen Jesuit Preparatory School – located in West Miami-Dade, an all-male, Roman Catholic school for students in grades 6-12 operated by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The school was originally founded in Cuba in 1854 and re-established in Miami in 1961. “Men for Others” is the school’s motto and a major part of their philosophy as well as being college-preparatory.

Christopher Columbus High School – located in West Miami-Dade, an all-male, Roman Catholic high school, conducted by the Marist Brothers. The school seeks to inspire their students to “Move Forward (Adelante!)” and thus strives to offer innovative programs as well as staying rooted in the five distinct pillars of Marist educational philosophy.

Palmer Trinity School – located in Palmetto Bay, a co-ed, independent Episcopal school (not affiliated with an individual parish) embracing and encouraging families of all faiths and students from grade 6-12. The school offers leadership, many international travel programs, and focuses on global citizenship as well as “virtue, humanity and spirit” on a large campus.

Ransom Everglades School – located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, one being waterfront, a co-ed school that began its history in Miami in 1903 with Ransom School for Boys and later merged with Everglades School (for girls). The school serves students in grades 6-12 and prides itself as a “private institution with a public purpose” with a commitment to service as well as academic rigor and extracurricular leadership opportunities.

Preschool – Grade 12 Schools (Serving students from Preschool up to Grade 12)

Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart – located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, the only Catholic, all-girls preschool through high school in Florida associated with the acclaimed international network of Sacred Heart schools. The preschool through grade 3 program is a Montessori curriculum. Juniors and Seniors may qualify for and pursue the International Baccalaureate program, a demanding college preparatory curriculum.

Cushman School – Located just north of Downtown and founded in 1924, Cushman offers a non-denominational, co-ed program for preschool – grade 12. Focused on ten educational standards written by founder Dr. Laura Cushman, the school’s overall program delivers attention to academics, attitude and personal responsibility, and a “positive approach to life.”

Gulliver School – located on four campuses from Coral Gables to east Kendall, Gulliver offers “the full spectrum of academic and extracurricular programs” to co-ed students in preschool – grade 12. The school prides itself on designing a sequence of classes individualized for each student and boasts several unique “signature academic programs” including International Baccalaureate.

Miami Country Day School – nestled in the neighborhood of Miami Shores, MCDS serves a co-ed, preschool-grade 12 student population. The school integrates their core values of “honor, respect, wisdom and compassion” in its philosophy and strives to foster leadership, curiosity and excellence throughout their overall school program.

Riviera Schools – located on two campuses including a lower school in Coral Gables, this co-ed preschool – grade 12 school is known to “guide each child to reach his or her full potential.” The overall school program strives to encompass key curriculum standards including scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship, and character.

Westminster Christian School – located in Palmetto Bay, the co-ed preschool – grade 12 school offers a full college-preparatory curriculum with a reformed Christian theology doctrine. WCS seeks to inspire students with leadership opportunities in a nurturing environment, including through many extracurricular activities on their large campus.

Remember, I am happy to be a resource for you in your school, neighborhood and home search! Should you have specific questions about schools, the neighborhoods they’re located in, or would like an introduction to the Admissions staff, please let me know and I’d be happy to discuss further. Call me at (786) 942-0193 or email


1537 San Remo Avenue

Coral Gables FL 33146


Phone: 305.520.5420

Fax: 305.539.3713