Although the school year is only a few weeks old, the time is drawing near to consider applying for the Pinellas County school system's special programs for 2014-15.
The school district plans two information fairs and three meetings to inform families about the application process — all centered around magnet, fundamental and career programs. Known collectively as "application programs," they allow families to explore education options outside their regular zoned schools. Many programs receive more applications than they have seats available, requiring the district to invite applicants using a lottery system.
Families can't apply until January, but the legwork leading up to that moment starts soon. The process begins with three parent information sessions on how to apply, all from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in school auditoriums. The sessions are:
• Nov. 7 at Boca Ciega High, 924 58th St. S, Gulfport.
• Nov. 12 at Pinellas Park High, 6305 118th Ave. N, Largo.
• Nov. 14 at Countryside High, 3000 State Road 580, Clearwater.
After that, families can attend two fairs, where representatives from all the application programs set up booths and offer information. The fairs will be held from 9 a.m.-noon Nov. 16 at Pinellas Park High and from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 19 at Gibbs High, 850 34th St. S.
The next step will be discovery nights, where schools open their doors to allow families to meet educators and hear them explain in more detail how their programs work. Dates for the discovery nights will be announced soon, but the district says they will fall between Nov. 18 and Jan. 9.
For more information on application programs, contact the district's Office of Advanced Studies at (727) 588-6466. For information about the application process, contact the Student Assignment office at (727) 588-6210.