inspirED

Meet our scholars, educators, donors, and partners.

Transforming Our Community.
One Scholarship at a Time.

Step Up For Students Scholarships do more than fund education. They change lives. Students thrive in environments that fit their needs. Educators extend their reach to support vulnerable students. Communities grow stronger as educational systems improve.

This is inspireEd. Welcome.

Here, you will get an inside view of that transformation in progress. See what happens when students and their families discover the power of taking control over their academics. Watch as they forge new pathways to a better future. Find inspiration in their determination to achieve their dreams.

These are the stories of Florida students who have renewed hope because they have a school that better fits their needs or educational materials to unlock their potential. They are the stories of a community that has come together to support the belief that educational choice matters. Here, you can be a part of this incredible journey.

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With nowhere else to turn, Juliet Sanomi started her own school for students on the spectrum

BY ROGER MOONEY PLANTATION, Florida ­­– Joshua Akabosu was nearly hit by a truck when he was 10. He had run from school that day, as he often did. Announced to the class he was going home, then bolted through a door and into the neighboring streets. An aide, whose job was to shadow Joshua […]
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Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company donates $5 million to Step Up's scholarship program

Step Up For Students announced April 26 a $5 million contribution to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program from Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company (UPCIC), helping nearly 630 Florida schoolchildren attend the K-12 school that is best for them. Since 2017, UPCIC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc., has generously funded […]
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A young artist blossoms with the love of her grandparents and the help of an education choice scholarship

BY ROGER MOONEY PLANT CITY – Lilly Bowden flipped through her sketch pad and proudly showed off her work. There’s a fox on one page and a cat on another. A giraffe from the neck up and a mountain range in all its purple majesty. One drawing begins on one side of a page and […]
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podcastED: Florida mom expresses gratitude for scholarship that benefits her daughter, contributes to her own success as tutor, advocate

On this episode, reimaginED senior writer Lisa Buie talks with Danyse Streets, a reading specialist who owns and operates Bridging the Reading Gap, a tutoring and special education advocacy company in Fleming Island, Florida, just south of Jacksonville. Her 12-year-old daughter, Kate, receives a Florida Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities, which Streets uses […]
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Jaylen's challenge: A mission to prevent bullying while creating Tourette Syndrome awareness

BY ROGER MOONEY LAKELAND – Jaylen Arnold was 8 when he walked into his old elementary school to speak with two dozen or so former classmates, many of whom had recently taunted and physically bullied him. Jaylen was scared. His mother, Robin, walking beside him, was proud. The meeting was Jaylen’s idea. He wanted to […]
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Putting the 'student' in 'student-athlete' with the help of an education choice scholarship

BY ROGER MOONEY TAMPA – The numbers Joquez Smith compiled as a running back during his four years of high school football place him among the best to have ever played in Hillsborough County. The numbers he’s earned in the classroom at Jesuit High School, an academically demanding Catholic school in Tampa, are just as […]
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Time to nominate your Step Up students for the annual Rising Stars Awards event

It’s time for educators to nominate students for Step Up For Students’ annual Rising Stars Awards. The recipients will be honored in April at events at eight schools across the state. The schools will be announced at a later date. Students must be enrolled in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC), Family Empowerment Scholarship for […]
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Education choice scholarships help family continue on chosen education path

BY ROGER MOONEY Those were tears of joy rolling down her cheeks after Maureen Press opened the email and learned her four children were eligible for education choice scholarships that would keep them in private school. “I was beside myself,” Maureen recalled of that day in the spring of 2017. “I didn’t think it would […]
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New private school seeks to connect Florida students with their Jewish roots

BY LISA BUIE Rabbi Isaac Melnick thinks learning should be fun. As a young teacher in a Hebrew dual-language charter school in South Florida, he ran a lively after-school program that taught Torah to students who wanted to receive Judaic instruction. He called the program Torah 4 Everyone. He also ran Camp Cooluna, a summer camp […]
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Purple Star program lets Florida Catholic schools nurture military families

BY LISA BUIE It’s tough being the new kid in school. It’s even tougher being the new kid every two to three years. That’s the norm for 1.2 million United States children born into military families. According to the Military Child Education Coalition, military-connected children move six to nine times between kindergarten and high school graduation. Florida […]
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