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  1. Education

School Search: Charter school enrollment growing quickly in Hillsborough

Publicly funded but privately managed, charter schools have been shaking up Florida's educational landscape for two decades. And this year, they've become even more controversial with a new Florida law that makes charter schools easier to start and forces school districts to give them money earmarked for school maintenance and construction.

The law, known as House Bill 7069, is being challenged in court by several districts. Already, close to one out of every 10 Florida public school students attends a charter.

The schools were created to give families an alternative, and are supposed to offer a more innovative curriculum and school setting than traditional public schools. Charter schools are multiplying quickly in Hillsborough, where enrollment in the schools was expected to increase by as much as 4,000 students this year. Here is a look at the charters now operating in the county:

Advantage Academy of Hillsborough

Theme: "A well-rounded education, through a challenging program, focused on mathematics and science using innovative, reform-based instructional methods in a stimulating and nurturing environment."

350 West Prosser Drive, Plant City; K-8; advantageacademyhillsborough.com; (813) 567-0801

Avant Garde Academy

Theme: "Helps students make science, technology, engineering and mathematics connections in every discipline that is studied."

13901 Sheldon Road, Tampa; K-6; agawestchase.org; (813) 551-0395

Bell Creek Academy

Theme: Uses the Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) method of study offered through the University of Cambridge.

13221 Boyette Road, Riverview; 6-12; bellcreekacademy.com; (813) 793-6075

BridgePrep Academy of Riverview

Theme: "A nurturing and rigorous academic environment that embraces the Spanish culture and language, incorporates innovative technology, and promotes civic responsibility."

6309 South US Highway 301, Riverview; K-8; bridgeprepriverview.com; (813) 405-1770

BridgePrep Academy of Tampa

Theme: "A safe, nurturing and stimulating environment where high academic expectations, self-esteem, good character, and an appreciation for the arts are promoted," along with a Spanish language program and technology.

2418 West Swann Ave., Tampa; K-8; batampa.bridgeprepacademy.com; (813) 258-5652

Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School

Theme: "A model collegiate school, offering a broad and rigorous, technology-rich educational program to students from diverse backgrounds."

10948 N. Central Ave., Tampa; 9-12; bdchs.org; (813) 971-5600

Channelside Academy of Math and Science

Theme: Uses the Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) method of study offered through the University of Cambridge.

1029 E. Twiggs St., Tampa; K-8; channelsideacademy.com; (813) 579-9649

Community Charter School of Excellence

Theme: Offers visual and graphic arts, and high school accredited math and art courses.

11604 N. 15th St., Tampa; K-8; ccsetampa.org; (813) 971-5500

Early Childhood Learning Center

Theme: Working to "break the cycle of poverty in East Tampa by improving academic outcomes for children in the community."

4309 N 34th St., Tampa; K-1; tampalearns.org; (813) 816-2100

Excelsior Prep Charter School

Theme: "Our students will reach high standards of achievement in the traditional elementary school subject matters, and also become literate in speaking, reading and writing in the Spanish language by the completion of 5th grade."

2156 University Square Mall, Unit 260, Tampa; excelsiorpreptampa.com; K-3; (813) 644-9060

Florida Autism Center of Excellence

Theme: "The center's innovative collaboration with the public school district is bringing new choices for families of children with autism spectrum disorders."

6310 E. Sligh Ave., Tampa; PreK-12; faceprogram.org; (813) 985-3223

Focus Academy

Theme: Serves students with a range of disabilities, ages 14 through 22. "Life skills and 'next steps' are highlighted throughout the high school curriculum, complementing the transition program for students that have graduated."

304 Druid Hills Road, Temple Terrace; 9-12; focusacademyflorida.org; (813) 443-5558

Henderson Hammock Charter School

Theme: Run by Charter Schools USA, which describes its model as providing "the process for improving student learning and academic achievement."

10322 Henderson Road, Tampa; hendersoncharter.org; K-8; (813) 739-6633

Hillsborough Academy of Math & Science

Theme: Uses the Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) method of study offered through the University of Cambridge.

9659 W Waters Ave., Tampa, K-8; hillsboroughacademy.com; (813) 793-6085

Horizon Charter School of Tampa

Theme: "A high-quality education in a safe environment."

7235 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa; K-8; horizoncharter.org; (813) 887-3800

Independence Academy

Theme: "A challenging program which emphasizes scientific inquiry, critical thinking, understanding of mathematical concepts and effective communication using innovative, reform-based instructional methods in a stimulating and nurturing environment."

12902 E U.S. Highway 92, Dover; K-8; iacademies.com; (813) 473-8600

Kid's Community College Charter School Southeast

11519 McMullen Road, Riverview; K-5; (813) 699-4600

Kid's Community College Riverview South

10030 Mathog Road, Riverview; K-8; (813) 671-1440

Kid's Community College

Charter High School

10550 Johanna Ave., Riverview; 9-10; (813) 699-5751

Kid's Community College Southeast Middle Charter School

11513 McMullen Road, Riverview; 6-8; (813) 699-5752

Website for Kid's Community schools: mykidscc.org

Kid's Community Theme: "All students will be given every possible opportunity to develop their individual intellectual curiosity, physical well-being, moral values, self-esteem, artistic appreciation and expression, interpersonal skills and academic abilities."

Learning Gate Community School

Theme: "In addition to the core courses … students engage in a variety of exploratory learning opportunities: environmental studies, the arts, technology, gardening, student designed projects and collaboratively developed theme-based units of inquiry and study."

16215 Hanna Road, Lutz; K-8; learninggate.org; (813) 948-4190

Legacy Preparatory Academy

Theme: "Our goal at Legacy Prep is to develop the whole child. We provide a varied educational curriculum that includes meeting" state standards.

302 E Linebaugh Ave., Tampa; K-8; legacyprepacademy.org; (813) 253-0053

Literacy Leadership Technology Academy

Theme: The school has five programs — ESE, gifted, intensive, general and advanced. "We recognize our students come to us at different levels of learning and with different needs. In order to meet those needs, students are scheduled into specific classes and curriculums."

6771 Madison Ave., Tampa; K-8; lltacademy.com; (813) 234-0940

Lutz Preparatory School

Theme: "Lutz Preparatory School strives to create a student-centered learning environment that fosters 21st Century skills and empowers students to be compassionate and strong in character."

17951 N U.S. Hwy 41, Lutz; K-8; lutzprep.org; (813) 428-7100

New Springs Schools

Theme: "Special emphasis on mathematics, science and reading, utilizing state-of-the-art curricula such as Connected Mathematics Project, College Preparatory Mathematics, Foundational Approaches in Science Teaching, and Academy of Reading."

2410 E Busch Blvd., Tampa; K-8; newspringsschools.org; (813) 933-5025

Pepin Academies — Riverview

9304 Camden Field Parkway, Riverview; 3-11; (813) 533-2999

Pepin Academies — Tampa

3916 E Hillsborough Ave., Tampa; 3-12; (813) 236-1755

Pepin website: pepinacademies.com

Pepin Theme: Serves students learning disabilities. "We educate students in third through 12th grade, and also offer a transitional, job training program for students 18 to 22 years old. … Our goal is to make sure no child falls through the cracks."

Pivot Charter School

Theme: "Incorporates traditional and online courses. … with state-certified online teachers, as well as certified on-site teachers, working side by side with students as they are engaged in their courses in our learning centers."

3020 S Falkenburg Road, Riverview; 6-12; pivottampa.com; (813) 626-6724

Plato Academy Tampa Charter School

Theme: "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.

4903 Ehrlich Road, Tampa; K-2; platoacademy.net; (813) 437-2867

RCMA Leadership Academy

18236 U.S. Highway 301 S, Wimauma; 6-8; edline.net/pages/RCMA_Leadership_Academy; (813) 672-5159

RCMA Wimauma Academy

18240 U.S. Highway 301 S, Wimauma; K-5; edline.net/pages/Wimauma_Academy; (813) 672-5159

RCMA Theme: "Redlands Christian Migrant Association opens doors to opportunities through quality child care and education from crib to high school and beyond."

Seminole Heights Charter High

Theme: "An accredited tuition-free public high school serving students ages 16 to 21 who prefer a non-traditional learning environment with flexible scheduling options."

4006 N Florida Ave., Tampa; 9-12; seminoleheightshs.com; (813) 234-0809

SouthShore Charter Academy

Theme: Run by Charter Schools USA, which describes its model as providing "the process for improving student learning and academic achievement."

11667 Big Bend Road, Riverview; K-8; southshorecharter.org; (813) 769-1209

Sports Leadership and Management Academy (SLAM) Tampa

Theme: "An innovative and in-depth secondary educational program that produces college-bound students through emphasis on sports-related majors and post-secondary preparation."

7116 Gunn Highway, Tampa; 6-12; slamtampa.com; (813) 920-8802

Sunlake Academy of Math and Science

Theme: "A well-rounded elementary and middle-school education, through a challenging program, focused on mathematics and science using innovative, reform-based instructional methods in a stimulating and nurturing environment."

18711 N Dale Mabry Highway, Lutz; K-8; sunlakeacademy.org; (813) 616-5099

Terrace Community Middle School

Theme: "A technologically advanced back-to-basics public charter school that includes a spectrum of academic programs … to fulfill the demands of a diverse student population."

11734 Jefferson Road, Thonotosassa; 6-8; tcmstornadoes.com; (813) 987-6555

The Collaboratory Preparatory Academy

Theme: "A supportive and challenging environment that develops character-driven, culturally literate, life-long learners who bring value to their community."

6400 E Chelsea St., Tampa; K-3; collaboratoryprep.org; (844) 702-3123

Town & Country Charter High School

Theme: "An accredited tuition-free public high school serving students ages 16 to 21 who prefer a non-traditional learning environment with flexible scheduling options."

7555 W Waters Ave., Tampa; 9-12; townandcountryhs.com; (813) 902-2858

Trinity School for Children

Theme: "We concentrate on teaching the whole child — intellectually, physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially."

2402 W Osborne Ave., Tampa; K-8; trinitysfc.org; (813) 874-2402

Valrico Lake Advantage Academy

Theme: Uses the Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) method of study offered through the University of Cambridge.

13306 Boyette Road, Riverview; K-5; valricoacademy.com; (813) 699-5049

Village of Excellence Academy

Theme: "A school of technology preparing students to compete in a global community, having a local imprint with an international impact."

8718 N 46th St., Temple Terrace; K-5; voeaes.org; (813) 988-8632

Village of Excellence Middle School

Theme: Serving "at-risk learners as well as students that benefit from a small class size with an emphasis on community and family involvement."

4600 E Busch Blvd., Tampa; 6-8; voeams.org; (813) 374-9422

Walton Academy for the Performing Arts

Theme: "Maintaining a strong basis for reading proficiency and other academics, the academy will provide an enrichment program for the development of the performing arts in dance, music and theater."

4817 N Florida Ave., Tampa; K-5; waltonacademy.org; (813) 231-9272

Waterset Charter School

Theme: Run by Charter Schools USA, which describes its model as providing "the process for improving student learning and academic achievement."

6540 Knowledge Lane, Apollo Beach; K-8; watersetcharter.org; (813) 602-0622

West University Charter High School

Theme: "An accredited tuition-free public high school serving students ages 16 to 21 who prefer a non-traditional learning environment with flexible scheduling options."

11602 N 15th St., Tampa; 9-12; westuniversityhs.com; (813) 774-4396

Winthrop Charter School

Theme: Run by Charter Schools USA, which describes its model as providing "the process for improving student learning and academic achievement."

6204 Scholars Hill Lane, Riverview; K-8; winthropcharter.org; (813) 235-4811

Woodmont Charter School

Theme: Run by Charter Schools USA, which describes its model as providing "the process for improving student learning and academic achievement."

10402 N 56th St., Temple Terrace; K-8; woodmontcharter.org; (813) 708-1596

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