(2/14/18 update to this story...we fnally won the lottery!!!)
Thousands of applications have gone in recently for the Pinellas County District Application Program. This program is done once a year where parents can put an application in to the school of their choice for Magnet, Fundamental or Career Academy for the following year. It's a lottery system and this year on February 14, parents go back and log into their application and see if they were one of the lucky ones to get in. This application program has been going on for years at least as long as my two girls have been in school and they are 12 and 13 now. The problem is there aren't enough seats for every student to get their first choice, so the district does it by a lottery system.
This year, I asked how many applications were put in for the schools in Pinellas and was told 11,215 unique students completed the application. That's a lot of students!
Some of the schools around our area where parents want their children to go to are the fundamental schools like Madeira Beach Fundamental and Osceola Fundamental High. These schools are highly sought after by parents because there are almost no discipline problems at fundamental schools because if there is a discipline problem the student is not allowed to go to that school anymore. Also parent involvement is mandatory at fundamental schools. There is also a stricter dress code for students. This year there were 1,414 total applications for Madeira Beach K-5 and 1,106 for Madeira Beach 4-8 grades.
You could almost make another school for the amount of students that want to go to this school. I remember trying to get my kids into Madeira Beach Fundamental when they were in elementary school. One time we were 450 on the list and one time number three on the list. We never got in and after a few years of trying, I decided I liked the school we were zone for which was Seminole Elementary and didn't want to move them. I am also very happy at their middle school which is Osceola Middle.
I hear great feedback about the fundamental schools from parents and from teachers. Teachers love working at fundamental schools. My brother-in-law Mark works at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental and says it's so nice to not have the discipline problems you would have in the regular schools. Most teachers who are at fundamental schools don't want to leave. Plus parents are involved with the school because they have to be or their child can't attend the school. Obviously parents don't mind or we wouldn't see the numbers we are seeing to get into these schools.
Osceola High Fundamental is another school many parents try to get their children into for high school. This year there are 1225 applications. The school has a good reputation in the area and was the first fundamental high school in Florida and one of only a handful in the country.
My oldest daughter Randi is going into high school next year and it's a big decision of where you want your child to go their four years of high school. In my opinion a school has a big impact on kids from the teachers to the staff to the other students. I want my child going to the school I think is best suited for them. I am thankful for this application process, I just wish it wasn't a lottery system. A new school is opening up this year in Seminole I think would be the perfect fit for Randi. It's called Tech High. This school is smaller with 150 kids only being accepted for the freshman class and has exactly what she wants to do as far as a career. They offer a vet assisting program. They also offer other programs to like building trades and construction design, commercial and digital arts, electricity, game and simulation programming and nursing. The school is being built right now and will be ready for the 2018-2019 school year. It's seems like an ideal place for my daughter, but there are 715 applications for just a few spots. I am praying and crossing my fingers she will get in.
If you are a new parent or new to the area, you should really look into all the options you have as far as schooling for your child. I only highlighted a few schools, there are quite a few more with different opportunities for kids. There are so many choices today. A lot more than when I went to school. Parents do need to be involved though because if you aren't you will miss the opportunity to at least apply.
If you did apply don't forget on February 14-21 to log on and see if your child got into the school of their choice. You must go online and accept your invitation to the school if you received an invitation. If you don't accept it, you lose your spot.
Even Pre-K3 and VPK students can put an application in. They have until February 2. For more information about the District Application Program log onto the Pinellas County School website at www.pcsb.org or click here to go directly to the student reservation system.