Seaside School’s Seacoast Collegiate High School was born upstairs in the second building of the Seaside Neighborhood School during the 2012-2013 school year. This small class, less than 10 ninth-grade students, were pioneers. This group of students and their teachers was the beginning of what would become a new educational model for high school students in Walton County.
After one year it became clear that a small high school that shared a mission with the Seaside Neighborhood School was in great demand. If the school was going to grow, more room and an innovative model was needed. At the start of the 2013-2014 school year Seacoast Collegiate High School was officially established, in its own right, in partnership with Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC). The school opened with ninth and 10th grades at the NWFSC South Walton campus for its official inaugural year. The school would offer a small learning environment with a focus on students’ individual learning needs and a collegiate program. In 2016, Seacoast Collegiate High School had its first graduating class of 16 students.
Over the past 10 years the school has experienced great success and growth. This year the school anticipates a graduating class of 60 students. The school has consistently had a 100 percent graduation rate and had more students qualify for the Bright Futures Scholarship than any other high school in Walton County. Seacoast Collegiate High School has continually earned top academic scores.
At the heart of this academic success is the commitment of its staff and the partnership with NWFSC. Founding staff member, Lori Atlas, has watched the school grow. “As a Seacoast counselor it has been incredible to see our students find success beyond our campus,” Atlas says. “Starting on day one in 2013 we have been teeing our students up to be independent and ambitious contributors to society. The collegiate program allows our high school students the freedom to take ownership of their learning and gives them the opportunity to make big plans for their continued education.”
The Seacoast Collegiate High School academic program is a collegiate program. In ninth and tenth grade students are taught by Seacoast teachers who ensure that the students have all the necessary academic and social skills to take college level classes beginning in 11th grade. The students move on to complete their high school experience as fully-enrolled college students at NWFSC. Alongside their Seacoast peers, they take classes with college professors and other college students at both the NWFSC Niceville Campus and NWFSC South Walton Campus. While earning their high school diploma, students are also earning an associate of arts degree through the dual enrollment program.
Almost 10 years since its inception, Seacoast Collegiate High School is again responding to the demand for expanded educational choice. In 2021, Seacoast Collegiate High School and NWFSC committed to expand their existing partnership to construct new facilities for high school and college students at the college’s South Walton campus. This partnership agreement creates a permanent home for Seacoast Collegiate High School at the NWFSC, South Walton campus and develops a high school dual enrollment center serving students in Walton County and the surrounding areas. The new facility will also include an “accelerator,” which will offer training, mentoring and collaboration to new area businesses and entrepreneurs. As building plans for the physical buildings continue to be finalized, Seacoast is expanding its unique programming.
Seacoast remains committed to fostering a high level of academic achievement for its students while providing them with skills to contribute to the area’s business community. In support of these efforts Seacoast currently offers leadership classes, the opportunity to earn Intuit’s Entrepreneurship and Small Business certification, and dual enrollment classes for 10th-grade students that include college algebra and pre-calculus courses, a college success course, and an introduction to business course. Currently most students are working towards earning their Associate of Arts degree but beginning as soon as next year students will be able to begin working towards an Associate of Science degree with a concentration on business management.
This spring the class of 2023 will graduate in almost the same location the school began 10 years prior. Sixty Seacoast Collegiate High School students will celebrate their graduation in a commencement ceremony in the Seaside Amphitheater. These students will move on from the Seaside Neighborhood School and Seacoast Collegiate High School family with big plans for the future and tools to be successful.