Siblings Thrive at Florida Prep

The benefits of having more than one child at the same school run deep and according to a University of Essex paper, “Sibling Spillover” may also have a direct effect on a younger sibling’s grades and behavior.

The Head of the Florida Prep Middle School, Rhonda Smith, discusses this perspective from a unique position, being both a parent and an educator of siblings at Florida Prep.

“Having my boys at the same school has many advantages,” says Rhonda, “As a parent, it is easier getting to know the teachers and understanding the school's culture because I am on campus for their various extracurricular activities and I get to see how my children interact with their teachers and coaches.  This year was especially memorable as they were both able to play on the same basketball team.

Rhonda Smith with her sons Tre and Terrell

“My older son is a positive role model for his younger brother and for other younger students as well; that is one benefit to being a 5-12 grade school. Older students set the bar for the ones coming behind them.  At the same time, because there are so many different ways to get involved, it is rewarding to see my two sons trying different things. That exposure to new opportunities in a safe setting like Florida Prep makes it easy for students to try new things and is great preparation for future endeavors.

“As a teacher,” she continues, “I always enjoy being able to teach siblings. It is great to see their unique strengths and personalities, and it is also helpful as relationship and communication is built with the family and extends over time,” she concludes.

Sibling attendance at Florida Prep is not restricted to day students; in-fact a number of our family groups are boarders. “We strive to ensure our siblings are treated as individuals,” says evening Dorm Supervisor Ebonie Carter. “We encourage them to develop their own network of friends and to try things separately; however, we are cognizant that our siblings are generally very protective of each other and this too works to our advantage.  An older child will become a role model not only to his or her sibling, but potentially to their sibling’s friends also, further growing the atmosphere of “one-family” within the boarding student population,” she said.

As parents it’s a difficult decision to send our children away to school; however, for many families the advantages of siblings taking that step together far outweigh any potential downside. From shared travel, to familiarity with friends, teachers and the environment in which they live, siblings not only grow closer but also develop independently, well prepared for the day an older brother or sister moves on to college or beyond.

Florida Prep offers sibling discounts.  For more information contact