Local academy promotes National School Choice Week

ENGLEWOOD — Students, staff and supporters will be rallying in front of Suncoast Christian Academy through Thursday in support of National School Choice Week.

The academy is on the grounds of Suncoast Worship Center at 881 S. River Road. Today and Thursday’s rallies will be 8:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. while the Wednesday rally will be from 3:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

“Many parents don’t know they have a choice,” said Meghan Campbell, education director at the academy. “We’re going to have tons of banners and fliers, students in uniform and embroidered scarves.”

Now in its fifth year, the school is using the promotional materials from National School Choice Week to draw attention to school choice.

“We’re not doing it for recruitment,” Campbell said. “We want to spread the word about our facility. Many parents don’t know they have a choice. Many don’t know we even exist.”

Parents are aware of the county school choice program, according to Scott Ferguson, spokesman for Sarasota County schools.

“We’ve had that for a while,” Ferguson said. “There are a variety of magnet schools and programs available. As far as the national week goes, we’re not actively participating at the moment, but we’ll be spending time during the month of February with enrollment.”

Parents in Sarasota County have an option to enroll their children in a school of their choice from Feb. 4 to Feb. 22 if they wish to opt out of their district school.

For a list of schools and programs, go to sarasota countyschools.net.    Charlotte County is also preparing for February school choice enrollments.

“We’re making sure parents are ready and notified for February if they want to take advantage of the program,” said April Prestipino, director of student services for Charlotte County Schools. “We had 1,865 of those who exercised their choice rights. While crowding has not been an issue lately, we’ve seen the number of students (overall in Charlotte County) dwindling over the years.”

Figures from Sarasota County for enrollment could not be provided at this time.

For more information on Sarasota County school choice, call 941-927-9000, extension 32250.

For Charlotte County school choice, go to yourcharlotteschools.net or call 941-255-0808.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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