More than 11,000 students applied this year to enter Pinellas County school choice programs in 2017-18, and the results are in. Once again, the district's fundamental schools were the most popular among families, followed closely by top magnet programs.
The application process took place in January and February, but the school district didn't release the numbers until this month. In addition to fundamental schools and magnet programs, Pinellas offers career academies on its menu of choice offerings.
Fundamentals provide a structured environment and a "back-to-basics" approach focusing on student responsibility and self-discipline. Students are expected to complete daily homework, and the schools have a dress code that exceeds that of the school district. Parents are required to attend conferences and monthly meetings.
The district recently ranked tenth nationally in the Education Choice and Competition Index compiled by the Brookings Institute. The ranking recognizes large districts that offer options for families, including alternatives to traditional schools.
Some choice programs still have openings for next year. To see which ones, visit pcsb.org/choice.
The chart below lists the top 10 Pinellas choice programs in elementary, middle and high school, based on the total number of applications each received. Students applied for up to five schools and ranked them in order of preference.
Osceola Fundamental High in Seminole received nearly 1,000 applications, the most of any program. The number of applications are in parentheses:
High school programs
1.) Osceola Fundamental High (992)
2.) Center for Wellness and Medical Professions at Palm Harbor University High (670)
3.) Center for Wellness and Medical Professions at Boca Ciega High (509)
4.) Academy of Engineering at East Lake High (504)
5.) Criminal Justice Academy at Pinellas Park High (474)
6.) Boca Ciega Fundamental School-Within-A-School Program (451)
7.) International Baccalaureate at St. Petersburg High (419)
8.) Center for Advanced Technologies at Lakewood High (380)
9.) Exploring Careers & Education in Leadership at Largo High (378)
10.) International Baccalaureate at Palm Harbor University High (347)
Middle school programs
1.) Madeira Beach Fundamental Middle (847)
2.) Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle (809)
3.) Clearwater Fundamental Middle (660)
4.) Center for Advancement of the Sciences and Technology at Bay Point Middle (548)
5.) IB Middle Years Programme at James Sanderlin K-8, IB World School (454)
6.) East Lake Middle School Academy of Engineering (383)
7.) Center for Gifted Studies at Thurgood Marshall Middle (305)
8.) Center for Innovation and Digital Learning - Tyrone Middle (281)
9.) John Hopkins Middle - arts and multimedia programs (254)
10.) Middle Grades Engineering Gateway to Technology - Azalea Middle (213)
Elementary school programs
1.) Madeira Beach Fundamental Elementary (612)
2.) Center for the Arts and International Studies at Perkins Elementary (541)
3.) Pasadena Fundamental Elementary (513)
4.) Center for Mathematics and Engineering at Doug Jamerson Elementary (496)
5.) Bay Vista Fundamental Elementary (464)
6.) International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme at James Sanderlin K-8, IB World School (455)
7.) Lakeview Fundamental Elementary (385)
8.) Curtis Fundamental Elementary (341)
9.) Center for Advancement of the Sciences and Technology at Bay Point Elementary (263)
10.) Gulf Beaches Elementary Magnet (238)
Contact Thomas C. Tobin at email@example.com. Follow @ThomasCTobin.