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Seven charter schools to open this fall in Hillsborough

The Community Charter School of Excellence for grades 6-8 is one of the newcomers.


The Community Charter School of Excellence for grades 6-8 is one of the newcomers.

Choice is booming across Hills­borough County, where seven new charter schools open in August — the largest number to crop up locally in an academic year, according to a school district official.

"I think it helps raise the bar a little," said Jenna Hodgens, the district's charter schools supervisor.

The county's roster now counts 36 charter schools, which are free public schools that receive funding from the school district. Charter schools are independently operated and often offer specialized curriculums, but they still need to adhere to district standards.

Pinellas County also has a record number of charter schools debuting this fall, the St. Petersburg Times reported this month.

For families, more charter schools translate into more academic options. But for other Hills­borough County schools, the additions mean a push to keep "everyone working their best so they can keep kids at their school," Hodgens said.

Schools receive money based on enrollment, she said, so losing students to charter schools could force other public schools to maintain operations with less money.

Hodgens says applications to create charter schools are increasing every year. The School Board approved seven of about 30 applications submitted last year, and five of about 20 applications the year before, Hodgens said.

Applications for new charter schools for the 2012-2013 school year are due Aug. 1.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at or (813) 661-2443.

Charter schools opening this fall

Channelside Academy of Math and Science

1029 E Twiggs St., Tampa

Principal: Mary DeNicola, former principal of Athenian Academy of Pasco

Emphasis: Math and science curriculum enhanced by technology and aided by partnerships with organizations to promote studies in environmental science.

Grades: K-5

Estimated enrollment: 350

Call (813) 579-9649 or visit

Community Charter Middle School of Excellence

10948 Central Ave., Forest Hills

Principal: Charles Malatesta, also head of the Community Charter School of Excellence elementary program

Emphasis: Visual and graphic arts with daily health and PE classes to expand existing K-5 school

Grades: 6-8

Estimated enrollment: 100

Call (813) 931-5100 or visit the website (include the period)

Lutz Preparatory School

17951 U.S. 41, Lutz

Principal: Jessica Clements, former math and engineering teacher and magnet coordinator at Jamerson Elementary in St. Petersburg. Worked for Pinellas County schools since 2003.

Emphasis: Tests kids into levels to offer individualized instruction through a theme-based exploration curriculum.

Grades: K-5

Estimated enrollment: 224

Call (813) 618-1142 or visit

New Springs Elementary School

2410 E Busch Blvd., Sulphur Springs

Principal: Emre Akbaba, also head of New Springs Middle School

Emphasis: Math and science, adding to an existing program for grades 6-8

Grades: K-5

Estimated enrollment: 170

Call (813) 933-5025 or go to

Pivot Charter School

3020 Falkenburg Road, Riverview

Principal: Carmela David, former middle school principal in Illinois

Emphasis: Uses curriculums from Advanced Academics Inc. to craft individual learning plans with morning or evening classroom sessions supplemented by online college preparation.

Grades: 6-12

Estimated enrollment: 200

Call (813) 622-7479 or visit

Winthrop Charter School

6204 Scholars Hill Lane, Riverview

Principal: Terry Johnson, former assistant principal at Charter Schools USA's Six Mile Charter Academy in Fort Myers

Emphasis: Tracks students' progress and provides small groups for different learning paces through the Charter Schools USA model.

Grades: K-8

Estimated enrollment: 710

Call (813) 235-4811 or visit

Woodmont Charter School

10402 N 56th St., Temple Terrace

Principal: Kathy Stow, former acting administrator of Sebastian River High School in Sebastian, Fla.

Emphasis: Tracks students' progress and provides small groups for different learning paces through the Charter Schools USA model.

Grades: K-8

Estimated enrollment: 641

Call (813) 708-1596 or visit

Seven charter schools to open this fall in Hillsborough 07/28/11 [Last modified: Thursday, July 28, 2011 4:31am]
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