ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — In many schools, large class numbers are the rule of the day.  That’s not the case at St. Petersburg’s Indi-ED, a private school located on the second floor of a downtown St. Pete business.

Emily Tluchak has 12 students in her class where expectations are sky high because of the way they teach.

“These kids blow me away every day with what they are capable of if they are challenged,” she explains to me. “When they truly have the opportunity to apply themselves and they can learn what they want and at a pace that works for them they truly thrive.”

This very individualized method is why Emily quit her public school job and started here three years ago when the school first opened.  Next year they are hoping to increase their numbers even more with a newer facility.

What makes this school unique is that a huge part of that learning happens outside the classroom with dozens of what they call “experiences.”  These aren’t traditional field trips that only happen once or twice a school year.  They are almost a daily routine here.

Emily is standing in front of a large wall plastered with pictures top to bottom of those experiences.  Each picture has its own story.

“Whether it’s videography, geography, clay, construction, architecture, any of the pictures you see here, they are learning from the real experts in the community and not just us,” she says pointing to each photo.

The students range in age from 7 to 16 and come from public, private, and religious schools in the area.  All were looking for something different to reignite the flame of learning.  Most are performing well above grade level and absolutely love the challenge and their teacher.

“She really takes into account when students need harder work than they are currently working on.  She pushes us to do better,” said Alexander Wahl, a 10th grader.

“One thing we value here is our own motivation, our own desire to learn beyond the books. She inspires me to want to learn. I’d like to stay here forever,” student Miranda Blair said. 

That’s the kind of compliment any teacher would love to hear.  And just another reason Emily Tluchak is being honored by her students and Spectrum Bay News 9 as an A+ Teacher.