Coming soon in Pinellas: new magnet programs
Look for some news in the near future on magnet programs in Pinellas County. At a workshop today, the School Board expressed serious interest in several initiatives, including a proposed middle school program for gifted students and a new magnet program at Pinellas Park High geared to students seeking careers in emergency management.
The board also asked superintendent Julie Janssen for ideas on 1.) allowing more students to enter the district’s International Baccalaureate programs at Palm Harbor University High and St. Petersburg High, 2.) adding an IB or IB-like program at a third school or 3.) coming up with a new rigorous program for high school students. Board member Jane Gallucci pushed for something besides IB, saying the district needed a program that focused more narrowly on preparing students for global competition. Board members Janet Clark, Linda Lerner and Carol Cook said they were intrigued by Gallucci’s idea.
The middle school gifted program is a response to years of lobbying from parents at Ridgecrest Elementary, a gifted magnet in Largo and the only elementary magnet without a destination program in middle school. District officials said such a program could be in place for the 2009-10 school year. It would operate as a “school within a school” at a yet-to-be-determined middle school.
The National Guard has provided nearly $900,000 in start-up costs for the proposed magnet at Pinellas Park High. District officials said the idea for the magnet grew out of a realization after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that the nation needed more emergency management professionals. The program could be ready to accept students in time for the 2009-10 school year, with approval as soon as November.