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  1. Education

How to apply for a Pinellas school choice program

The application period to get into a Pinellas County school choice program is Jan. 9-18. Families must use the online Student Reservation System. [DIRK SHADD, Times]
Published Nov. 13, 2018

In early January, the Pinellas County school system will start accepting applications for choice programs for the 2019-20 academic year. The offerings include magnet, fundamental and high school career programs. The district refers to these as "application programs."

This process does not apply to those who plan to attend their regular zoned school next year. Students who are moving to the next level and are already registered with the district will automatically receive notices about zoned school assignments. New zoned school students, including incoming kindergarteners, can register under a separate process starting Jan. 14 (visit pcsb.org/kg for details).

For more information about choice programs, consult this guide or visit pcsb.org/choice and find the District Application Programs Guide for 2019-20.

Applying for a program

• First, make sure you have a User ID and password. If you misplaced yours or don't have them yet, you can get them at any nearby school with a photo ID. Only one User ID and password is needed per family.

• Apply online Jan. 9-18

• Go to reservation.pcsb.org and log on to the Student Reservation System, known as SRS, using your User ID and password.

• Choose up to five programs and rank them in order of preference. You can do this any time during the application period; your odds are not affected by whether you go early or later.

• Many programs have entrance criteria, and many accept only applicants who live in a certain part of the county. (See the District Application Programs Guide at pcsb.org/choice for information on the criteria and a map of application zones.) Students outside the system who are applying to a program with entrance criteria must deliver documentation of their eligibility to the program office by the end of the school day on Jan. 25, 2019.

Accepting an invitation

• Log on to the Student Reservation System between Feb. 13-22 to accept one program invitation. If you get an invitation and do not accept during this time, your invitation becomes invalid.

• Families can change their selection before Feb. 22.

• Once a program's invitation is accepted and the deadline passes, the student's name will be removed from all other lists, including waiting lists (except the Centers for Gifted Studies).

• You don't need to accept waiting list spots.

School choice glossary

Application areas: While many programs are open to students who live anywhere in the county, several are limited to students in their designated application areas. Application areas are defined by a grouping of middle school and high school zones. Consult the District Application Programs Guide at pcsb.org/choice for a listing of the areas.

Fundamental programs: These programs provide a structured environment and a "back-to-basics" approach that includes daily homework, stricter dress and required parental involvement. Most fundamentals encompass entire schools. Fundamental programs at Boca Ciega and Dunedin high schools are "schools within schools."

Magnet programs: These are programs centered on themes such as visual and performing arts, advanced technologies, wellness and medicine, sciences and technology. Many magnet programs have entrance criteria.

Entrance criteria: Some programs require applicants to meet certain requirements. Each of these programs is identified with an asterisk in this guide. For information on requirements, contact the program or consult the District Application Program Procedures manual, available at pcsb.org/choice.

Zoned school: These are designated schools for each student in the district based on the residence of the student. Incoming kindergarten students and other new students must register with the district to be assigned a zoned school. Regular kindergarten registration for the 2019-20 school year begins Jan. 14.

Transportation

Arterial bus service (which operates on main roads with a limited number of stops) is available for students in district application programs who live more than 2 miles from their school, with the several exceptions. See the list on page 4 of the District Application Programs Guide at pcsb.org/choice.

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