Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two Pasco schools will launch rigorous Cambridge program

Pasco High Principal Kari Kadlub said, “We’re not going to put any parameters on it.”

Pasco High Principal Kari Kadlub said, “We’re not going to put any parameters on it.”

DADE CITY — Each year, Pasco Middle School Principal Kim Anderson can count on one hand the number of eighth graders who enroll in International Baccalaureate for high school.

It's not that her school lacks academic high fliers who could succeed with the challenge. The problem, Anderson said, has been proximity to an internationally recognized advanced program: The closest one, Land O'Lakes High's IB unit, sits 25 miles away.

That's about to change.

Pasco Middle and Pasco High have won approval to launch the Cambridge/AICE advanced curriculum and accelerated study method in the fall. The program, developed by the University of Cambridge in England, serves more than 8 million students a year in 160 countries, including schools throughout Florida.

It would be the first of its type in Pasco County.

"They deserve the opportunity to have access to the same higher-level courses that students in other parts of the county have," said School Board member Allen Altman, who has advocated for an advanced academy in east Pasco since his 2006 election. "I wanted some alternative for our students on the east side to be able to take advantage of a rigorous academic program."

In the middle school, Cambridge will look like a preparation sequence, aimed at providing a foundation in both content and learning skills that get kids ready for tough high school courses. Anderson plans to pair it with AVID, an instructional model that helps students improve their study habits, while also increasing expectations and providing added support such as peer tutors.

"It's always a great plan when you can encourage someone who has potential to move forward," Anderson said.

Pasco High will introduce a pre-AICE curriculum for ninth and 10th graders, and then offer the high level Cambridge courses in the upper grades. Students can earn college credits for the courses they complete and pass the Cambridge test. If they take and pass six of the courses and tests, they can earn an AICE diploma that carries benefits including a Bright Futures scholarship at Florida universities.

Unlike IB, though, the Cambridge student can select their six diploma courses from a menu of options, rather than having a set list of requirements. They need only choose one each from the humanities, languages and sciences categories, with the rest coming from any of the three areas.

In another key difference, the Cambridge courses would be open to any student who wants to try them, much like Advanced Placement. Students earn credit for passing a Cambridge test at any level, though, unlike AP exams that carry non-passing scores.

"It's for any kid," Pasco High Principal Kari Kadlub said. "We're not going to put any parameters on it."

The idea is to create Cambridge schools rather than stand-alone entities, as magnet programs often can become.

That's the same philosophy that Pinellas County's Dixie Hollins High School adopted when it established its Cambridge magnet program three years ago. Dixie Hollins Principal Dan Evans said the availability of advanced courses from Cambridge has encouraged students to aim higher, which in turn has boosted the school's overall performance.

In 2008-09, the school had just 67 students take Advanced Placement tests, he said. This year, it expects more than 500 students to take Cambridge or AP tests. (Dixie Hollins slowly is replacing AP with AICE courses as its primary accelerated option.)

"You're talking about a complete culture shift for this school," Evans said.

The program's flexibility in course selection provides the added benefit of being able to combine a Cambridge diploma with an industry certification from one of the school's career academies, Evans said.

Kadlub expects to have the same opportunities for her students as the program develops.

"They're able to still be a part of everything else in the school," she said.

School and district leaders are working out the program details, including course offerings and application process. They expect to have student and parent information sessions later in the fall, once all the specifics are ironed out.

Both programs are expected to start small and expand, with spaces available for students to gain entry from other schools.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at, (813) 909-4614 or on Twitter @jeffsolochek. For more education news visit the Gradebook at

. Fast facts

What is the Cambridge program?

Created by the University of Cambridge, the program offers an internationally recognized, highly accelerated curriculum and assessments. It is often compared to International Baccalaureate, with both recognized by the state for funding incentives for schools and college-level credits for successful students. Colleges offer Cambridge students credit for passing the AICE tests, compared to having to earn specific scores on Advanced Placement exams for credit. Cambridge also differs from IB in that its course selection is more open to student choices, and it costs less for a school to implement. Visit for more information.

Two Pasco schools will launch rigorous Cambridge program 10/25/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 25, 2013 5:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Robert Pattinson is better than 'Twilight.' 'Good Time' proves it




    Don't judge actors by the books they cover on screen. It appears truer with each performance that two of our finest got their starts with the Twilight franchise.

    Robert Pattinson hooks viewers in Good Time, an inventive crime story.
  2. Deputies: Man feared other man was going to "steal his girlfriend" before armed assault



    Deputies: Rifle pulled in fight over girlfriend

  3. Largo police investigating U.S. 19 crash that killed woman, 34


    LARGO — Traffic homicide investigators are looking into a crash Wednesday morning that killed a woman and closed the southbound lanes of U.S. 19 for a few hours.

  4. Harvey regenerates into tropical depression, sets aim on Texas coastline


    The system moving toward Texas has regenerated into Tropical Depression Harvey, prompting storm surge and hurricane watches on portions of the Lone Star State's coast, according to the National Hurricane …

    [National Hurricane Center]
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay this week: SNL's Pete Davidson, Rodeo Fest, Disney Halloween party


    USF ROUND-UP: Pete Davidson

    Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson will headline this year's University of South Florida Round-Up Comedy Show, a back-to-school tradition at USF. Davidson revealed in March the reason he had "kinda been missing" for a spell last season on SNL was …

    Characters parade down Main Street, U.S.A in Mickey’s Boo-to You Halloween Parade during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom.