History

We have been listening to our students and families for almost 30 years, teaching students to learn how they learn. Study Skills, Organizational Skills, Writing Skills and Test-Taking Strategies are at the root of all of our programs.

In 1989, Joanne Weiner, an educator and artist, began working as a private tutor throughout South Florida, calling her one–woman organization Private Tutoring Services, PTS. Studying cognitive psychology and neuroscience, Joanne understood that every student had unique learning styles, so she knew she had to teach her students how they best needed to study and learn.

Joanne opened her art studio in Boca Raton, FL as the first center for her students. She expanded her team, hand- picking educators (as she still does today) who adhered to her uncompromising standards of academic excellence. She traveled throughout the world with her students, collecting great stories about teaching art, history, food, culture, manners, philanthropy, and global citizenship. Joanne knew she was on to something great in education and teaching.

At the same time, The Village of Wellington, FL began to be a center for equestrians, and Joanne tutored seasonal students there. With only a few hundred horses coming to Florida during the winter at that time, Joanne worked with students and their schools so that student athletes could come to train and compete in Florida. Coordinating with schools, trainers and students, Joanne diligently created a program and instituted systems that allowed students to leave their schools for six weeks or longer, train and compete in Florida, and then go back to school in the spring. All of her students went back to school prepared and ahead of their programs. Again, Joanne knew she was on to something big, especially as WEF (The Winter Equestrian Festival) began to grow!

Tennis players, equestrians, hockey players, race car drivers, golfers, surfers, skateboarders, artists, musicians, dancers and a vast variety of students who were incredibly intelligent and gifted in many areas, soon began seeking out Joanne and her team to help them coordinate their passions with their schoolwork or to get reinvigorated to learn again. In 1999, Joanne forged a partnership with Indiana University High School, developing a ‘home school’ program for college bound students, using IUHS’s accredited distance learning program. Ten students graduated from this program in 2000, all of whom attended and completed college.

Having a beautiful and colorful center with many different learning environments for students to work with tutors and interact with other students, PTS added a vital component to the distance and virtual school model that had been missing. This new ‘hybrid school’ model gave students a social and academic environment while maintaining their ability to work at a self-pace. Soon, PTS created partnerships with other nationally recognized programs, allowing for more choices and growth for PTS students.

Joanne recognized that students of all ages and points of life had a desire to learn. In 2008, PTS created an educational program for residential treatment centers for students enrolled in recovery programs for drug, alcohol and eating disorders. Students in these programs were able to continue going to school during and after recovery, while many graduated from high school while in treatment.

In 2009, PTS formally established Royal Palm Academy (RPA) in East Boca Raton’s beautiful tropical setting. RPA welcomed students into a full-time traditional school schedule while also offering tutoring services for students who needed just a few hours a week of help. RPA customized educational services for each student while offering a learning environment like no other traditional school. Tennis academies and coaches appreciated RPA’s flexibility and strong academic programs.

Soon, the equestrian community embraced the concept that students could maintain an exemplary college preparatory education outside of a traditional school building and schedule. Seeing the influx of young riders moving to Wellington, FL for equestrian events, PTS expanded its reach once more. In 2013, Palm Beach International Academy, PBIA, was opened in Wellington as the newest center, adjacent to the showgrounds. Not only do equestrian students from all over the world flock to this center during WEF, but all types of students also take advantage of the programs full-time, part-time, seasonally and throughout the year, that PBIA offers. In 2014, all of PTS’s programs and centers came under the name of PBIA.

For many years, Joanne and her team have traveled to many of the horse shows throughout the country in the spring, summer and fall opening ad hoc study centers at the venues. In 2016, PBIA opened an academic center on the showgrounds of TIEC (Tryon International Equestrian Center), created an academic summer camp, began partnerships with full and part-time universities throughout the USA, and organized the ‘21st Century Classroom’ for innovative project-based learning.

Joanne Weiner may be credited with creating and developing exemplary academic programs for student athletes, but her students are the true inspiration and reason for the success of PBIA. No longer do students have to choose between their sports, passions and school. Joanne and her team continue to push the envelope of what can and must happen in education. As the history of PBIA continues to unfold, students in all areas will continue to benefit from the vision and perseverance of PBIA.