Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Interested in two new elementary technology magnets? Apply March 12-17

It can take years to build the reputation of an academic program. But district officials are counting on two new technology magnet schools to fill up, possibly before principals have been named or facilities renovated.

Related News/Archive

Pending School Board approval Tuesday, Gulf Beaches Elementary in St. Pete Beach and Kings Highway Elementary in Clearwater will start taking applications Wednesday for the 2014-15 school year. Both will serve students in kindergarten to fifth grade, with a focus on learning through technology.

That means "flipped classrooms," in which students learn lessons online at home and then practice their skills during class, more access to personal technology, project-based learning and "blended learning," with both computerized and print texts.

"They're still going to have reading, writing, math, social studies, science. What we do envision with the curriculum is greater integration. I might be studying a science content piece during my reading time," said Pam Moore, associate superintendent of teaching and learning.

Already there seems to be interest in the new programs.

"Do we get calls? Yeah, every day," said Bill Lawrence, director of student demographics, assignment and school capacity.

The real test, however, will be how many parents turn out Tuesday for an open house, he said. Because the schools aren't ready to reopen, a special Discovery Night will be held at the district's headquarters.

The school district closed both schools in 2009, along with others, amid budget cuts and declining enrollment. It would cost about $680,000 to renovate the schools before an August reopening.

Superintendent Mike Grego proposed the idea in December as part of a broader effort to increase specialty options for families, particularly those who have left the district for charters and private schools.

With the reopening of Gulf Beaches Elementary, the barrier islands would again have a public school. Kings Highway Elementary also would offer a large prekindergarten program, which would have a separate enrollment process.

Interested families can apply online to either school between Wednesday and March 17; the acceptance period will be March 19-21. Seats will be available at all grade levels, with three classes per grade at Gulf Beaches and two classes per grade at Kings Highway. Gulf Beaches could enroll up to 348 students. Kings Highway could take up to 232 in elementary grades.

Half of the seats at each grade level will be reserved for students who live in what were the schools' zones before they closed. Another 20 percent of seats will be for students who live close to the schools but not in the prior zones. The remaining seats will be set aside for a random lottery from each school's application area.

Principal jobs will be posted, pending approval of the School Board, Lawrence said.

Cara Fitzpatrick can be reached at or (727) 893-8846. Lisa Gartner can be reached at or (727) 893-8707.

fast facts

To attend open house, apply

The application period for the new technology magnets is March 12-17 for the 2014-15 school year. Online applications will be accepted at for students in kindergarten to fifth grade. The acceptance period is March 19-21. A Discovery Night is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Pinellas County schools headquarters at 301 Fourth St. SW in Largo. For information, call the district's student assignment office at (727) 588-6210.

Interested in two new elementary technology magnets? Apply March 12-17 03/07/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 7, 2014 5:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  2. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and similar events, saying they are inappropriate could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  3. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  4. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)
  5. Photo gallery: Nation pays respects to America's war dead on Memorial Day

    Human Interest

    At Memorial Day ceremonies in Tampa Bay area and around the country, Americans paid tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.

    Eight-year-old Piper St. Jean, of Tampa, uses a brush to clean the grave of her grandfather, Henry St. Jean, who served with the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens on Monday moments after the conclusion of their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor. The event featured guest speakers, live choral performances by the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir and live music by Bones South, an area trombone ensemble with rhythm section. On Saturday local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops placed flags on veterans???‚??„? graves prior to the event. This is an annual tradition of Curlew Hills' Memorial Day services and helps the Scout troops achieve merit badges. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.