Florida Department of Education names schools to get relief from some state rules
Hundreds of Florida public schools learned late Wednesday that they will not have to follow state rules regarding class size, reading instruction and daily start and end times for the next three years.
They're identified as "Schools of Excellence" through a program the Legislature created in the spring, in HB 7069. Lawmakers said they wanted to make it easier for highly successful schools to operate.
The list largely reflects Florida's schools serving more affluent communities, and some with self-selected populations, much like the state grading system does.
In the Tampa Bay area, the list includes:
Hernando County - Chocachatti Elementary; Gulf Coast Academy of Science and Technology and Gulf Coast middle schools; Challenger K-8
Hillsborough County - Fishhawk Creek, MacFarlane Park, Stowers, Deer Park, Hammond, Apollo Beach, Bevis, Bryant, Chiles, Clark, Gorrie, Grady, Lithia Springs, Mabry, Maniscalco, Mitchell, McKitrick, Northwest, Pride, Roosevelt, Schwarzkopf, Westchase and Valrico Lake Advantage elementary schools; Barrington, Benito, Burns, Coleman, Farnell, Martinez, Randall, Walker, Williams, Wilson, Terrace Community and Bell Creek Academy middle schools; Steinbrenner, Newsome, Plant, Sickles and Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate high schools; Roland Park K-8, Horizon Charter, Lutz Preparatory and Winthrop Charter
Pasco County - Trinity, Veterans, Odessa, Sand Pine and Longleaf elementary schools; Seven Springs and John Long middle schools; Land O'Lakes High School; Academy at the Farm, Dayspring Academy, Countryside Montessori and Imagine School at Land O'Lakes
Pinellas County - Bay Vista, Brooker Creek, Leila Davis, Perkins, Jamerson, Lakeview, Curtis, Pasadena, Tarpon Springs, Cypress Woods, Sutherland, Pinellas Primary and Discovery Academy of Science Charter elementary schools; Clearwater, Thurgood Marshall and East Lake Middle School Academy of Engineering middle schools; Osceola, Palm Harbor University, East Lake and St. Petersburg Collegiate high schools; Madeira Beach K-8, Sanderlin PreK-8, Plato Academy Clearwater, Plato Academy Palm Harbor, Plato Academy Largo, and Plato Academy Tarpon Springs
Is your school now one of Excellence? See the complete lists for Elementary, Middle, High and Combination schools. The State Board of Education is scheduled to review and vote on the list at its Oct. 18 meeting.
The board also is expected to name up to 25 schools to receive $2,000 extra per student toward their turnaround plans. That "Schools of Hope" list, also created through HB 7069, is not yet available.