NORTHDALE — Over the past 12 years, Plato Academy Schools has opened seven charter schools throughout Pinellas County, earning "A" ratings with a waiting list of more than 5,000 students.
Now, Plato Academy is opening its first campus in Hillsborough County for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year.
"This school is part of a family of other schools, and the family is very close knit," said Matt Gunderson, principal of Plato Academy Tampa. "They're going to have all the support and expertise of all the other schools."
Plato Academy Tampa will open Aug. 10 with kindergarten, first, and second grade, and then add Pre-K through eighth grade in subsequent years.
"We open small because we like to teach the children the culture at a young age," Gunderson said.
Unique to Plato Academy schools is the incorporation of the Greek language into the curriculum.
"We teach Greek to all students in Pre-K through eighth grade," Gunderson said. "By the time they finish eighth grade, they will have earned their two high school language requirement credits."
Every student has their own laptop, and there are smart boards in each classroom. Students have regularly scheduled art, music, PE, Greek, and recess, and students go on three field trips a year.
Enrichment activities include a variety of clubs and sports.
The school will follow the Hillsborough County Schools calendar, but bell times will be 8:40 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. with before and after school care available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Uniforms are required, as well as parent volunteer hours.
Plato Academy prides itself on providing a small, family friendly environment. Class size is limited to 18 students, and total school enrollment is 400 students.
"One of the big things that parents tell me year after year is that the students aren't just a number," Gunderson said.
Plato Academy Tampa is located at 4903 Ehrlich Road. Open houses will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday (July 1), July 9 and July 29 at 2 p.m. at the Tampa campus.
For more information, call 727-799-1200, or visit platoacademy.net.
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