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University Prep students returned to struggling Pinellas schools

In Sunday's paper, the Times reported that 69 children had left University Prep, a brand-new charter school in Midtown St. Pete. The school had only a few months to open, and in that time-crunch, it failed to realize key promises in its contract with Pinellas County Schools.

Notably, it never created a local school board, which would have addressed the behavior and discipline issues behind some of the student withdrawls.

At a recent meeting of the Concerned Organization for Quality Education for Black Students, UPrep founder and principal Cheri Shannon was supposed to speak. However, she sent her assistant principal, Nehemiah Thomas.

When asked about the large number of students leaving UPrep, Thomas said it was mostly students who had come from fundamental schools who didn't realize they were going to be mixed in with students reading below grade-level.

A cursory look at the withdrawal data shows that's likely not the case. Only one of the 69 students who have left UPrep went to a fundamental, Lakeview Fundamental Elementary.

One-third of the students went to either Bay Point Middle, John Hopkins Middle, or Woodlawn Elementary. Another 15 went to Maximo, Melrose, Gulfport or Campbell Park Elementary. See the full break-down of where students went after the jump:

The majority of students who left UPrep went to another Pinellas public school:

10 - Bay Point Middle

7 - John Hopkins Middle

6 - Woodlawn Elementary

5 - Lakewood Elementary

5 - Maximo Elementary

4 - Melrose Elementary

3 - Campbell Park Elementary School

3 - Gulfport Elementary School

2 - Azalea Middle School

2 - Bay Point Elementary School

2 - New Heights Elementary School

1 - Fairmount Park Elementary School

1 - Lakeview Fundamental Elementary School

1 - Lealman Intermediate

1 - Meadowlawn Middle School

1 - Mount Vernon Elementary School

1 - James B. Sanderlin PK-8

1 - Tyrone Middle School

A handful went to a charter school or home school:

1 - Imagine Middle School

1 - Windsor Preparatory Academy

1 - Plato Academy St. Pete


1 - Home School

Another eight students either moved or went to private school.