Out-of-Door Academy

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The Out-of-Door Academy
Out of Door Academy logo.gif
Sarasota, Florida
United States
School type Independent, Preparatory
Established 1924
CEEB code 101579
Head of school David Mahler[1]
Teaching staff 54.1 (FTE) (as of-2007-08)[2]
Grades Prekindergarten-12th grade
Gender Coed
Enrollment 680 (as of-2016-17)[2]
Average class size 14[3]
Student to teacher ratio 10.0 (as of-2016-17)[2]
Color(s) Navy and White
Athletics FHSAA 1A (SSAC for football)
Mascot Thor
Team name Thunder
Newspaper The Bolt
Yearbook The Sandpiper
Endowment $16 million[3]

Out-of-Door Academy is a college preparatory school in Sarasota, Florida. It serves students in prekindergarten through grade 12 on two campuses in the Sarasota area, one on Siesta Key and one in Lakewood Ranch, the Upper School Uihlein Campus.

In 2006, Out-of-Door Academy was recognized as a Cum Laude Society School, a distinction reserved for the top 1% of all secondary schools in the United States. Out-of-Door Academy is regularly voted "Best Private School" by Sarasota magazine.[4][5][6]


The Out-of-Door School was established in 1924 by Fanneal Harrison and Catherine Gavin, followers of Belgian progressive education pioneer Ovide Decroly. Classes and free time were spent outside on the school's 20-acre (81,000 m2) campus on Siesta Key, with wooden cabins serving as classrooms during inclement weather and dormitories.[7] Over time, the classes were held indoors. In 1977, the school was purchased by 120 school families and transformed into a nonprofit organization, at which point the school became known as Out-of-Door Academy.

The Lakewood Ranch campus was established in 1996.[8] Seventh and 8th grades were moved to the new campus in 2000, and in 2008 the campus became known as the Uihlein Campus at Lakewood Ranch. The 6th grade was later moved to the Uihlein Campus in 2012. [9]

The Out-of-Door Academy is accredited by the Florida Council of Independent Schools[10] and the Florida Kindergarten Council. The school is a member of the Cum Laude Society, the National Association of Independent Schools, the Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education, and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.


Out of Door School
Out-of-Door Academy is located in Florida
Out-of-Door Academy
Location Sarasota, Sarasota County, Florida
Coordinates 27°17′9″N 82°33′38″W / 27.28583°N 82.56056°W / 27.28583; -82.56056Coordinates: 27°17′9″N 82°33′38″W / 27.28583°N 82.56056°W / 27.28583; -82.56056
Built 1924
Architect Ralph Twitchell
NRHP Reference # 94001276
Added to NRHP October 28, 1994

The Siesta Key lower school campus is on the National Register of Historic Places as Out-of-Door School. The 85-acre (340,000 m2) Upper School campus is located at Lakewood Ranch.[11]

Construction began in 2008 for a performing arts center at the Uihlein Campus at Lakewood Ranch, and the center opened in 2009. Renovation of the Siesta Key campus and construction of new athletic facilities also began in 2008.[12]


The academy's curriculum is a balanced liberal arts program that includes mathematics, English, science, social studies, Foreign Language including Spanish, Latin, and Mandarin Chinese, and music and visual and performing arts. Advanced Placement (AP) and honors courses are available.

STEM Science[edit]

As of September 2, 2014, the school leadership and lead donors officially broke ground on the Dick Vitale Family Student Center, founded by Dick Vitale and Dart Foundation STEM Center, the newest facility for The Out-of-Door Academy. This center was envisioned as a college-like campus center where students could congregate between classes, or have a place to study. The center will feature state-of-the-art technology as it strives to stay at the forefront of innovation in education. [13]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Student groups and activities include art club, community service club, drama club, National Honor Society, newspaper, Relay for Life, science/environmental club, student council, Tri-M Music Honors Society, Key Club, Invisible Children, and yearbook. 100 hours of Community service are required for upper school students in order to graduate from the school.

The Out-of-Door Academy athletic teams, known as the Thunder, compete in interscholastic competition in baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, sailing, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. The Out-of-Door Academy also has two sports, currently recognized as extracurricular activities, that do not officially have a varsity team in the school's registry, but compete in the surrounding Lakewood Ranch community matches and competitions. Those two sports are Polo and Ultimate Frisbee.


  1. ^ "Briefs; Out of Door Academy to welcome Mahler". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 2004-02-07. The Out of Door Academy will welcome its new school head during events at both campuses on Sunday. David Mahler will replace Mike Novello as head of the school in July. 
  2. ^ a b c "School Detail for Out-of-door Academy". National Center for Education Statistics. 
  3. ^ a b "Out-of-Door-Academy". Peterson's. 
  4. ^ "Best of the Best". Sarasota Magazine. May 2003. 
  5. ^ "The Best of the Best". Sarasota Magazine. May 2004. 
  6. ^ "The Best of the Best". Sarasota Magazine. May 2005. 
  7. ^ Shank, Ann A. "Out of Door School". Sarasota History Alive!. 
  8. ^ "Thunder rolls at new high school". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 1996-10-19. About two miles out, on a campus coated with fresh paint and fresh faces, Sarasota's newest high school blazes... 
  9. ^ "Out-of-Door Academy to announce gift, unveil plan". Tampa Bay Business Journal. 2008-03-31. A major gift of land and subsequent renaming of the Lakewood Ranch Campus of Out-of-Door Academy will be revealed April 4 when the school's master plan is presented. 
  10. ^ "Florida Council of Independent Schools: Out-of-Door Academy". 
  11. ^ Walter, Nick (2009-04-30). "Still growing at ODA in LWR". Bradenton Herald. A decade ago, a group of investors envisioned a growing area and potential for a thriving private school in this area owned by Schroeder-Manatee Ranch. The Uihlein family, which was behind SMR, donated the 85-acre plot... 
  12. ^ Sword, Doug (2008-07-09). "2-campus upgrades start at Out-of-Door Academy". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 
  13. ^ http://www.oda.edu/page.cfm?p=2060&newsid=1568

External links[edit]