Institutional Excellence Nominees

Dreyfoos Campus Photo

1. Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, West Palm Beach

A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts is one of the most unique schools in the United States. It graduates an equally unique kind of student. Each year this largely audition and portfolio admission-based public magnet school of the arts brings together a class of amazingly diverse, highly motivated, and driven students selected from the 193,000 public high school students in Palm Beach County. Dreyfoos students bring their talent, passion, joy and individuality with them daily, which creates one of the most open, diverse, joyous environments that you will find at an American public high school campus. They give back to the community in thousands of hours of service annually. They enrich it with performances, art in public spaces, and proactively addressing the world that they are being educated to enter.

Dreyfoos’ curriculum is a hybrid, where high-level academics and arts/performance intersect. On campus, we offer more Advanced Placement and AICE courses than any other school in our district. Off campus, our students regularly participate in Dual Enrollment courses at both Florida Atlantic University, and Palm Beach State College. Students are supported by the passion of an outstanding team of academic and artistic educators, and professional artists-in-residence.

A private, non-profit fundraising group, the School of the Arts Foundation, Inc. (SOAFI), ensures that no student, no matter what their means, attends Dreyfoos without the ballet shoes, instruments, art materials, and other needs that make for a world-class arts education. They also provide important funding for our Artists-in-Residence program, which brings working professionals to school to work one-on-one with students. Our students attend summer programs in academics, and in the arts, including dance intensives, national debate tournaments, and travel to competitions and showcases. Dreyfoos is a place of passionate learning, creativity, exploration, performance, and inspiration.

Center for Creative Education

2. Center for Creative Education, West Palm Beach

Center for Creative Education (CCE) seeks to transform teaching and learning through creativity and the arts. The organization’s educational services include afterschool, in-house, and in-school programming, as well as our latest endeavor, The Foundations School.

The Foundations School is a K-5 demonstration school that provides youth from underserved communities with affordable and equitable access to a high-quality education built on reading proficiency, creative practice, social/emotional wellbeing, and overall academic achievement. Their approach relies on small class sizes and regular assessment to provide students with the one-on-one attention they need to succeed. They also use arts-integrated curriculum to break the barriers of traditional education, using music, visual arts, and more as a tool to teach academic subjects. They rely on a sliding fee scale for tuition, so while every family contributes something, no family is turned away for an inability to pay.

In addition to The Foundations School, CCE partners with Prime Time Palm Beach County to provide afterschool arts instruction to thousands of students across Palm Beach County. The C.A.D.R.E (Creative Arts Designed to Reinforce Education) program places teaching artists at afterschool locations, where the artists introduce students to an artistic discipline. Many of these units build on what students are learning in the classroom during the school day and connect to social-emotional learning.

FAU High School

3. FAU High School, Boca Raton

Florida Atlantic University High School (FAUHS) is an exemplary public school governed by Florida Atlantic University (FAU), featuring two campuses – Boca Raton and Jupiter campus, in Partnership with Max Planck Academy. Featured in U.S. News & World Report among the best high schools in the nation, this highly selective program serves as a dual enrollment prototype in which students earn high school and university credits beginning in grade 9. By grade 10, students take full time college course schedules amongst the general FAU undergraduate student population.

In addition to a rigorous academic environment, FAUHS provides a broad athletic program, supports a variety of clubs, and encourages service learning. Students win national and international STEM competitions, 62 student researchers have been published in peer-reviewed journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine, 85 students have graduated with their bachelor’s degree prior to receiving their high school diploma, and the school is a leader in producing National Merit Scholars.

FAUHS goes beyond the schoolhouse gates to educate and equip all students, regardless of financial circumstances, gender, or race, with the skills they need for careers in an ever-evolving job market. Our partnership with FAU means our students can simultaneously earn their high school diploma and a cost-free bachelor’s degree, graduating college debt-free. As an incubator for the STEM workforce and researchers of tomorrow, we are a driving force for social mobility and economic development. Our goal is to reengineer education in America by replicating our school model throughout the state and nation.


Grandview Preparatory School

4. Grandview Preparatory School, Boca Raton

Located in Boca Raton, Florida, Grandview Preparatory School is a small, diverse community committed to the philosophy that education is a personal endeavor. Grandview pairs timeless ethics with modern thought and personal attention with global consciousness while preparing students for college and life beyond.

Grandview is not simply preparing students to be great students, but rather extraordinary individuals who are curious, confident, and have the social and emotional skills to navigate the modern world in a healthy and enriching way.

From New York University and Parsons School of Design in the Northeast to Emory and Clemson University in the South, members of Grandview’s graduating class of 2022 are embarking on their next journey with confidence, passion and grit.

2022 Valedictorian, Megan Enriquez, has been recognized nationally for her robotics prowess and will be attending Rice University in the fall. Salutatorian and Class 1A Tennis State Championship Runner-up, Madeleine MacNeille, will be attending the University of California at San Diego.

Grandview class of 2021 graduate, Elizabeth “Elle” Buckley, was selected as a 2021 Semifinalist for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, as announced by the office of U.S. Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona. Buckley earned a perfect SAT score in 2020 and maintained a perfect GPA during her time in Upper School and dual enrollment at Florida Atlantic University (FAU).

Palm Beach Public

5. Palm Beach Public Elementary School, Palm Beach

Palm Beach Public recently celebrated one hundred years of excellence educating local students beginning in 1921. Palm Beach Public is designated an A-rated, Five Star School of Excellence.The school, originally built to teach the children of the caretakers and household staff on the island of Palm Beach, has grown tremendously over the past century. Students attending Palm Beach Public now come from neighboring areas in West Palm Beach as well as the island. The school has an enrollment of close to four hundred students, and almost half of those students play the violin, viola, cello, or bass as members of the school’s Orchestral Strings Choice Program. The population of Palm Beach Public consists of nineteen percent English Language Learners and thirty-seven percent economically disadvantaged students.

Throughout the pandemic, Palm Beach Public’s devoted administration, faculty and staff committed themselves to the students to create the most rigorous academic program possible during that difficult time. Palm Beach Public maintained its “A” rating from the State of Florida during the 2021-2022 school year despite the unprecedented challenges.

One of the most outstanding elements of Palm Beach Public’s success is the focus on social emotional learning. Students come to school and are greeted daily by the principal and assistant principal at the door. Each class begins the day with a “Morning Meeting,” a time to check in with their feelings and learn social skills as well as strategies for dealing with difficult issues. Students from kindergarten through fifth grade are treated with the utmost dignity and respect, and are well prepared for their next steps in education. We look forward to another 100 years of excellence!