Dayspring Academy charter school plans college program for juniors, seniors
Retiring state Sen. John Legg long has expressed the viewpoint that junior and senior years in high school are a "waste of time."
Now the charter school he founded, Dayspring Academy in Pasco County, aims to create something better for the few dozen high schoolers it serves.
The school has asked the Pasco County School Board to amend its contract to allow students up to age 18 and through eleventh grade to attend. And it is working out the final details of a "structured" dual enrollment program with Pasco-Hernando State College for those students rising into its newest grade.
"It's structured (in that) they can't just take any course," said Legg, whose school has been working on the arrangement for two years. "We as a school are picking their classes for them."
The school also will provide transportation to and from the college, as well as pay for the textbooks, tuition and fees, and hire teachers and counselors to advise the students throughout the year.
Students would attend college courses four days a week, and go to Dayspring on the fifth day to receive academic guidance and support. The ultimate goal is to have all the students graduate high school at the same time they complete a college associate's degree and an industrial certification.
In its usual format, dual enrollment allows Florida high school students to take college courses free of charge. But the course selection and other responsibilities generally are left to the students. Legg expressed hope that this model, similar to one used in Miami-Dade County public schools, will provide more direction and help students toward college and career access and success.
"We're trying to bridge that gap and give them a transition," Legg said.
The School Board will take up the contract amendment on Tuesday. The school expects to have about 25 juniors next fall.