By Kate Wallace

School of the Immaculata (SOTI), founded in 2005, is a private religious school serving 106 K-12 students in the heart of St. Petersburg, Fla. Its student body is more than 90 percent minority and low income, and nearly all students are recipients of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship.

The school opened to confront the school-to-prison pipeline pervasive in the community, said the school’s headmaster, John Giotis. Many of his students come from local public schools featured in a recent report, “Failure Factories.”

Area demand is high for the school’s nurturing, faith-based approach, which led to construction of SOTI’s second campus, set to open in neighboring Tampa Bay this fall.

So far, Giotis and his staff believe they are making a difference. “All of our students who graduate from here go on to post-secondary study,” he said.

Tampa Immaculata School