Publicly funded but privately managed, charter schools have been around in Florida since 1996.
Often controversial, but undeniably growing, they were created to give families an alternative to traditional public schools, with the goal of offering a more innovative curriculum. Enrollment in charters grew to 313,586 last school year across 658 schools in 47 Florida counties. That’s a 37 percent jump from five years earlier.
But charter enrollment has been relatively flat in Pinellas. About 6,500 students were enrolled in charters during the 2018-19 school year, slightly above the 6,100 mark, where it had hovered for several previous years. That mirrors the overall situation in Pinellas, where enrollment in all public schools has remained around the 100,000 mark for years.
Here’s a look at the charters currently operating in the county:
Focusing on the arts and technology. Pinellas County's first charter school. "In addition to language arts, math, science, social studies, health, and physical education, every student participates in dance, chorus, music instruments and visual arts."
1060 Keene Road, Dunedin; K-8; academiedavinci.org; (727) 298-2778
"Strives to reach students who would best benefit from a highly academic, open-ended model, structured around a democratic approach, giving students both the choice and responsibility for their education along with the guidance and support from parents and teachers."
4515 38th Ave. N, St. Petersburg; K-8; alfredadlerschool.com; (727) 329-9545
"High standards for performance and behavior ... foreign language instruction in Greek and Spanish ... strong parent participation ... small school environment."
2289 N Hercules Ave., Clearwater; K-8; athenianacademy.org; (727) 298-2718
Discovery Academy of Science (South Campus)
Focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), hands-on learning and regular learning "to insure students don't get behind or aren't being held back."
1380 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin; K-1; discoveryacademy.info; (727) 330-2424
Discovery Academy of Science (North Campus)
1120 Curlew Road, Dunedin; 2-8; discoveryacademy.info; (727) 369-6361
Personalized attention to each student. "Our instructional method is self-paced, teacher-directed and technology-centered."
2461 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater; 9-12; enterprisehs.org; (727) 474-1237
“A tuition-free public charter high school helping students that are under credit or have already dropped out ages 16-22 to get back on track and finish their high school standard diploma in a blended online and classroom learning environment. Each student works at their own pace to achieve graduation in their own time.”
840 Third Ave. S, St. Petersburg; 9-12; pinellasmycroschool.org; (727) 825-3710
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Pinellas Academy of Math & Science
"A rigorous and challenging curriculum ... character-based education ... safe, secure campus ... private school environment ... highly qualified teachers providing individualized instructional strategies."
1775 S Highland Ave., Largo; K-8; pinellasacademy.com; (727) 330-9449
Pinellas Primary Academy (K-3)
Pinellas Preparatory Academy (4-8)
"We challenge students through a high-rigor curriculum that encompasses cooperative learning, critical thinking, and problem solving to not only make them successful in school, but to give them true 21st century skills."
2300 S Belcher Road, Largo; pinellasprep.com; (727) 536-3600
"An environment in which students can learn and teachers can teach. The academic focus is on reading, math and Greek as a second language. All students also receive instruction in science, physical education, the humanities, music, drama, and art" using the Socratic method. Plato system website: platoacademy.net
• Plato Academy of Clearwater
2045 Palmetto St., Clearwater; K-8; (727) 205-6360
• Plato Academy of Largo
7100 142nd Ave. N, Largo; K-8; (727) 205-6360
• Plato Academy of Palm Harbor
1601 Curlew Road N, Palm Harbor; K-8; (727) 205-6360
• Plato Academy of Pinellas Park
9200 49th St. N, Pinellas Park; K-8; (727) 205-6360
• Plato Academy of St. Petersburg
3901 Park St. N, St. Petersburg; K-8; (727) 205-6360
• Plato Seminole Academy
10888 126th Ave., Largo; K-8; (727) 205-6360
• Plato Academy of Tarpon Springs
2795 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs; K-8; (727) 205-6360
St. Petersburg Collegiate High
"Offers motivated students a unique educational choice to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associate's degree from St. Petersburg College." The Pre-Collegiate Program is for students entering grade 10 and the Collegiate Program is for students entering grade 11.
6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg; 10-12; spchs.spcollege.edu; (727) 341-4610
Source: Pinellas County School District; school websites