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Countryside High explores options on rigorous academic program

CLEARWATER — Countryside High parents still can weigh in on which rigorous academic program they'd like to see at their school.

Principal Gary Schlereth said he's also surveying faculty and plans to pass on the recommendations to the School Board.

Here are the main options, according to Schlereth:

• An internationally recognized college preparatory curriculum called the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education or AICE program.

• A program something like Lakewood High's Center for Advanced Technologies, which offers advanced math and science, computer education and multimedia training.

• An International Baccalaureate program, also recognized globally for its college preparatory curriculum.

• Another college preparatory honors program, combining Advanced Placement offerings and an expanded dual-enrollment college curriculum.

These were among several ideas discussed by School Advisory Council members who met with district representatives Tuesday afternoon.

Thursday night, Schlereth planned to solicit feedback from parents using the Pinellas County School District's instant notification system.

On Tuesday, the School Board tentatively approved a placeholder for a rigorous attractor at Countryside. It's the only north county high school, besides an alternative school, that doesn't have a magnet or career academy.

The board also tentatively approved AICE programs at Dixie Hollins, Clearwater and Tarpon Springs high schools. It's not clear if that would affect Countryside's ability to acquire such a program if parents and faculty want it.

SAC member Michael Pate said he was leaning toward an advanced technology program, but he hasn't made a final decision.

He wants to hear from teachers and other members of the community before making a final decision.

Another SAC member, Greg Hicks, would like the school to acquire either that type of program or an IB program.

"There's a definitive interest in still pursuing an IB program of some sort and that would fulfill a great need," Hicks said.

Pinellas County school superintendent Julie Janssen initially proposed moving Palm Harbor University High's IB program to Countryside.

But district officials say the prospect of an IB program at Countryside now appears highly unlikely. Board members want to cap IB programs within the district at three, and there are already two. And a pre-IB honors program at Largo High received preliminary approval Tuesday.

Speak up

Want to weigh in on an academic attractor for Countryside High School? You can reach the school's front office secretary at (727) 725-7956.

Countryside High explores options on rigorous academic program 11/11/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 11, 2010 8:00pm]
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