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Tech-oriented Tampa charter schools okayed

TAMPA — New charter schools offering a longer school year and an emphasis on technology will open next fall in Hillsborough County.

The School Board on Tuesday approved contracts for:

• Shiloh Middle School, a sixth- to eighth-grade campus with a math and science emphasis in the Plant City area. The middle school expands on an existing elementary charter school.

• NewPoint Academy, a technology-intensive high school in the Brandon area.

• Florida High School for Accelerated Learning, a high school targeting students at risk of dropping out.

• Valrico Lake Advantage Academy, a kindergarten to eighth-grade school.

Board members didn't approve the high schools Padah's Academy and Mavericks High, D. Wade's School. School officials said their applications didn't meet criteria.

Charter schools are public schools, but have greater freedom to experiment than traditional campuses.

In other news, School Board members heard several Alafia Elementary School parents ask for removal of principal Ellen Smith after a recent school report noted a "very stressful work environment." More than 270 have signed a petition calling for Smith's removal. Parents said teachers have left the school in droves.

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia responded by saying another school official would be "coaching" Smith in the future. Elia urged parents to attend an informational meeting at the school at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

The School Board also selected Carol Kurdell as chairwoman. Susan Valdes is vice chairwoman.

Tech-oriented Tampa charter schools okayed 11/18/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 5:03pm]
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