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History and Mission


The Florida Council of Independent Schools was founded in Jacksonville in December 1954. From the small handful of schools and correspondingly low student population that comprised the original group, the Council has grown to become one of the largest independent school organizations in the United States.

Member schools are located throughout the state, extending from Pensacola in the northwestern panhandle to Key Largo in the southeast. While most schools are coeducational and day, there are schools with boarding programs and others which admit only girls or only boys. Some enroll only elementary school children or only secondary school children, while others offer combinations of levels. Many of the schools are strictly college preparatory, but other member schools serve students with learning difficulties.

Schools range in size from fewer than 50 students to over 2,500 students. Indeed, one of the Council’s strengths is the variety of schools making up its membership. In this way, not only does the Council provide an alternative to public school, but also within its membership, it provides still further alternatives to parents who are looking for exactly the right type of school for their children. All FCIS schools have racially nondiscriminatory admission policies.

The Florida Council of Independent Schools is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and an affiliate of the Council for American Private Education (CAPE). FCIS is a founding member of the Florida Association of Academic Nonpublic Schools (FAANS).

Membership in FCIS is conferred only by decision of the Board of Directors. A school which has been in operation for fewer than three years maybe eligible for New School Candidate status if it seems likely that in the fourth year of operation it can meet the Council’s Standards for Accreditation. A school with New School Candidate status does not have the right to vote on Council matters, nor is that school allowed to represent itself as being accredited by FCIS. With the exception of these New School Candidates, all other members bear the Council’s accreditation. There is no other category of membership.


The Florida Council of Independent Schools promotes the highest standards for PK-12 education through its accreditation process, professional development programming, and advocacy efforts.