STEM, performing arts top interest list for next Pasco magnet schools
If Pasco County school superintendent Kurt Browning wanted clear direction for his district's next round of choice options, he got it from parents and students responding to a recent online survey.
STEM and performing arts themes emerged as top areas of interest for elementary, middle and high schools that might be targeted for magnet programs.
According to the district's survey results, released Thursday, 22.4 percent of elementary parents and students supported added STEM magnets in the coming years, more than any other subject. The district recently opened a STEAM magnet (that's STEM plus arts) with a waiting list as large as the accepted enrollment.
STEM also was the top choice for middle schools, and a close second among high school parents. (The high school response was relatively small compared to the other two levels.) Performing and visual arts followed closely behind.
Notably, elementary students placed foreign language instruction as their second choice, just ahead of the arts, while their parents were much less inclined to seek that theme. (It was 17.7 percent compared to 5.6 percent.)
On the other end of the spectrum, single-gender classrooms garnered almost no support, alongside K-8 schooling (which appeared popular in its trial run at Crews Lake Middle) and classical education (for which Pasco has a popular charter school already).
Why does all this matter? Because Browning has committed to offering more education options, and the survey showed that three-fourths of the nearly 4,000 respondents were likely or highly likely to send a child to a specialty program.