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5 more charter schools planned
By LETITIA STEIN, Times Staff Writer
Published October 16, 2007
TAMPA - The Imagine Charter School emphasizes hands-on and project-based learning. Students are grouped in triads and stay with the same teachers for three years.
That curriculum sets it apart from other public schools in the Apollo Beach and Riverview area, where the Imagine Charter School proposes to enroll kindergarteners through sixth-graders.
"We're going to be able to see parents choosing some different things," said Jenna Hodgens, supervisor of charter schools in Hillsborough.
School officials are recommending that the School Board approve five charter schools at today's meeting. The schools aim to provide parents with choices beyond the traditional public schools.
Charters schools are tuition-free but run independently. This year, Hillsborough has 27 in operation. They enroll about 4,500 students.
Along with Imagine, two others recommended for approval would serve the communities around eastern Hillsborough County.
In the Progress Village area, Literacy Leadership Technology Charter High would expand on an existing middle school. The school stresses character development and targets students from low-income families.
Advantage Academy of Hillsborough would offer elementary students in Brandon or Plant City a fairly standard curriculum in a small setting.
Two more charter schools are proposed for the North Tampa area.
Tampa Charter School of Excellence, an elementary school, aims to infuse the arts throughout the curriculum. It is modeled after a successful program in Broward County, Hodgens said.
Another charter elementary school, Cloud of Glory, uses peace as a theme. Located in the university area, it seeks to teach students about harmony and getting along in addition to traditional classroom lessons.
Hillsborough received 13 applications for charter schools this year. After an initial review, seven withdrew their proposals. One charter applicant, the Life Skills Center, was recommended for denial. Hodgens said its sponsors intend to withdraw their proposal before the Board meeting.
Letitia Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813 226-3400. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.