Saturday, February 24, 2018
Education

Pinellas approves two new magnet schools

LARGO — Two new schools are coming to Pinellas County.

The School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the technology magnet programs at Gulf Beaches Elementary in St. Pete Beach and Kings Highway Elementary in Clearwater. It's the first time Pinellas has opened a school, let alone two, in a decade.

The declining enrollment that prompted Pinellas in 2009 to close Gulf Beaches and Kings Highway, then neighborhood schools, hasn't reversed. But the district has seen high demand in the form of lengthy wait lists for its magnet and fundamental programs.

The new programs, dubbed the Centers for Innovation and Digital Learning, will employ the "flipped classroom" in which students learn new concepts at home and use classroom time to build skills and ask questions.

Students will be equipped with electronic devices, while teachers will emphasize project-based learning. An integrated curriculum will see science topics being taught during reading lessons.

The application period for both schools, which give priority to students living in neighboring communities, begins today and runs through Monday. Applications can be submitted online at reservation.pcsb.org.

Contact Lisa Gartner at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter (@lisagartner).

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