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These are traditional neighborhood schools that students typically attend based upon attendance zones created by the district.
District-managed schools may also offer specialized programs such as:
• Magnet Schools/Programs
• Dual Enrollment
• Advanced Placement
• Career Academies
• Advanced International Certificate of Education
• International Baccalaureate
Districts may also offer controlled open enrollment, allowing parents to select schools outside of their zoned attendance area.
To seek availability of a program or school within a particular school district, please contact your local school district. For information on how to contact your local school district, please visit http://fldoe.org/schools/k-12-public-schools and click List of Schools by District. Or search for schools using the school performance data link on this page.
Public schools may offer a particular theme or academic focus, such as mathematics, science, technology, medical, performing arts, business, or college preparatory. A magnet program is designed to attract students from all over the district who have an interest in the theme of the program – hence the name “magnet.”
Dual enrollment courses and programs enable students to earn college credit and high school credit at the same time. Many high schools offer dual enrollment courses in their schools. Eligible students may also take dual enrollment courses on community college campuses. Some schools offer “Early College” programs in which a student can earn an Associate of Arts degree at the same time they earn their high school diploma. That can cut two years off the time and cost of a four-year baccalaureate education.
Advanced Placement is a standardized testing preparation program that offers more than 30 college-level courses taught in participating high schools. Following a rigorous, fast-paced college-level curriculum, students are eligible to sit for national exams. Many colleges will offer college credit to students who are successful on these standardized tests.
Career Academies are small communities within a high school that prepare students for a career path based on their interests, including educational opportunities beyond high school. Students in career academies will find traditional academic subjects taught within the framework of the program’s career theme. Career themes range from international business and engineering to computer information technology and advanced manufacturing. Florida’s schools offer hundreds of career academy themes that will help your student gain experience and a professional network in their chosen field. Career academies are appropriate for both students who plan to attend college after high school and for students who would prefer to go straight to work or career training after high school.
AICE is a pre-college curriculum program where high school students can earn an AICE High School Diploma and also earn college credit after passing the examination for AICE courses.
IB is a rigorous pre-university course of study for high school students. Students who successfully complete IB courses and exams are eligible for both high school and college credit.
Controlled open enrollment is a district choice plan in which parents may select the district-managed public school in which they will enroll their child. Transportation may or may not be available.
A charter school is a public school that operates under a performance contract, or a “charter,” with the local school district, which frees them from many regulations while holding them accountable for academic and financial results.
Charter schools select their own curriculum, instructional strategies and educational focus. As a public school, charter schools are tuition-free and do not have special entrance requirements for enrollment. However, they do require enrollment applications and may have a lottery system for acceptance. Since 1996, the number of charter schools in Florida has grown to well over 600. Charter school student enrollment now tops 250,000 students.
Charter schools serve different grade groups, ranging from prekindergarten through 12th grade. Charter schools are open to all students.
Like traditional public schools, all teachers employed by a charter school are required to be certified. Additionally, all employees must be fingerprinted and undergo the same background screening as any employee in the public school system.
To enroll at a charter school, please speak with the charter school directly to receive information about their enrollment process and deadlines.
Charter schools accept students at random, using a lottery process. (*Some schools have enrollment priority based upon siblings already attending the school or parents who are active military.) You can review the student performance data on Florida’s public charter schools in your area using the school performance data link.
Home Education is an educational option that is completely parent-directed.
Parents are free to determine their child’s educational goals and the path and plan to reach those goals. There are many methods a parent may use to direct a home education program. A parent may instruct the student, enroll the student in courses part-time in a public or private school, enroll the student part-time in the Florida Virtual School, enroll the student in correspondence courses, hire a tutor or choose any other means that provides “sequentially progressive instruction” directed by the parent.
All K-12 students are eligible to participate in home education. Students must be registered as a home education student with the local school district, and comply with reporting and evaluating systems.
Any parent who complies with the reporting, record-keeping and student evaluation requirements may implement a home education program for their child. The parent must maintain a portfolio of records and materials and provide an annual evaluation of the educational progress of each child.
To register a child in Home Education a parent must notify the district school superintendent of the county in which the parent resides of his or her intent to establish and maintain a home education program. The notice must be in writing, signed by the parent, and include the names, addresses and birthdates of all children who will be enrolled as students in the home education program. The notice must be filed within 30 days of the establishment of the home education program.
To find out more about home education, visit the FDOE School Choice website at http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/other-school-choice-options/home-edu.To enroll your child in home education, please contact your local school district to register.
Virtual Education is a school choice option where educational instruction takes place online.
Students can take a single course alongside their traditional classes, or an entire course load of classes online. The virtual curriculum and courses must meet state standards. All teachers providing instruction for this program must hold valid Florida teaching certificates in the appropriate areas of instruction.
The Florida Online Course Catalog allows students to choose from a variety of interesting classes. Here, students and parents can read detailed course description as well as view feedback on available courses. Visit http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/virtual-edu/fl-online-catalog.stml to view the catalog.
Eligibility criteria vary from grade to grade, part-time vs. full-time, home education and private schools. For a complete list of eligibility criteria, please visit the FDOE website at http://www.fldoe.org/Schools/virtual-schools.
Virtual courses do not have to be offered at a specific time of the day. Virtual teachers primarily interact with and instruct students on an individual basis using different methods of communication. Virtual teachers may also set up group sessions at specific times to cover selected topics or to provide additional help for students. Virtual courses offered by school districts to students in district school buildings may be provided during a specific time of the school day, although access to curriculum may often take place any time.
A private school is a school which is run and managed by a private organization or individuals.
The educational instruction, enrollment selection and services are at the determination of the school. Private schools are not supported financially by the state. Because of this, private schools can target a particular student population, such as a religious population or students with a certain type of disability. Private elementary and secondary schools in Florida are not licensed, approved, accredited or regulated by the Florida Department of Education.
Several scholarship programs have been created to support families in deciding the best educational option for their child.
The John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program allows parents of students with disabilities to choose the best academic environment for their children.
This program provides eligible students a scholarship to attend a participating private school or the option to transfer to another public school.
The parent of a student with a disability may request and receive a McKay scholarship if:
• The student spent the prior year in public school or received specialized instructional services under the Voluntary Prekindergarten education program during the previous year; and
• The student has an IEP or a 504 accommodation plan.
For a full list of eligibility requirements, please visit: http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/mckay/eligibility-requirements.stml.
There is no deadline for students to apply, although an intent to participate must be filed 60 days prior to the next payment date to be eligible for the payment.
• September 1
• November 1
• February 1
• April 1
After reviewing the eligibility requirements, if you would like to begin the Student Intent process, please complete the online application form located on the FDOE website at https://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Intent/McKayIntent/StudentIntent.aspx.
For more information about the McKay Scholarships for Students With Disabilities Program, such as frequently asked questions, eligibility and parent resources, visit the FDOE website at www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/mckay/.
The purpose of the Opportunity Scholarship Program is to provide enhanced opportunities for students to attend a high-quality public school and was the first program of its kind in the nation.This program allows students attending failing public schools to choose a higher-performing public school in their district with transportation or in any other district in the state without transportation.
Students who are enrolled or assigned to attend a Florida public school that received an “F” grade or three consecutive “D” grades are eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship. In addition, students entering kindergarten or first grade who have been notified that their assigned school is failing may also be eligible to participate.
Students who participate in the Opportunity Scholarship Program may then continue to attend the higher-performing public school feeder pattern until the student graduates from high school.
School districts must notify parents of their options every year following the release of school grades. A list of schools (up to date list for 2018-2019?) that must offer Opportunity Scholarships is also posted on the FDOE School Choice website at http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/osp/.
Once notified by the school district that their child is eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship, parents then contact their district to enroll their child. A list of district contacts can be found the FDOE website listed by clicking on the Contact District to Participate link.
For more information about the Opportunity Scholarship Program, such as frequently asked questions, eligibility, parent resources and district contacts, visit the FDOE website at http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/osp/.
The Gardiner Scholarship Program provides eligible students a scholarship that can be used to purchase approved services or products in order to design a customized educational program for the student.
Scholarships can be used for specialized services such as speech or occupational therapy, instructional materials, tuition at an eligible private school, contributions to a college prepaid account and more. The program is directly administered by state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organizations.
To be eligible to receive a scholarship a student must meet the following eligibility criteria:
• Is a resident of this state
• Is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12 in a public school in this state or will be 3 or 4 years old before September 1
• Has a disability as defined below:
1. Autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, an intellectual disability, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, Williams syndrome or a high-risk child as defined in s. 393.063(20)(a), Florida Statutes.
2. Is the subject of an IEP (individual educational plan) written in accordance with rules of the State Board of Education or has received a diagnosis of a disability as defined above from a physician who is licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 or a psychologist who is licensed in this state.
The Scholarship Funding Organizations (SFO) listed below are approved to administer the Gardiner Scholarship Program. Contact the SFO for instructions and deadlines for applying for a scholarship.
A.A.A. Scholarship Foundation-FL, LLC
P.O. Box 15719
Tampa, FL 33684
Step Up For Students
P.O. Box 54367
Jacksonville, FL 32245
The amount of a child's scholarship is dependent on a number of different factors, including grade level, county of residence and a student's individual level of need. The average for the 2014-15 school year was approximately $10,000.
For more information about the Gardiner Scholarship Program, such as frequently asked questions, eligibility, parent resources and district contacts, visit the FDOE website at http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/gardiner/
These scholarships can be used toward tuition and fees for an eligible private school or transportation to a Florida public school that is outside the district in which the student resides.
During the 2014-15 school year, $5,272 was the maximum scholarship awarded to a student for enrollment in an eligible private school, while $500 was the maximum scholarship awarded to a student for transportation to a Florida public school located outside the district in which the student resides. Scholarships are generally funded on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds have been allocated.
Students meeting one or more of the following eligibility criteria may be eligible to receive a scholarship:
• The student qualifies for free or reduced school lunches
• The student is currently placed, or during the previous year was placed, in foster care or in out-of-home care as defined in s. 39.01, Florida Statutes or
• The student continues in the scholarship program as long as the student’s household income level does not exceed 230 percent of the federal poverty level.
The Scholarship Funding Organizations (SFO) listed below are approved to administer the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Contact the SFO to determine the programs they administer and to apply.
A.A.A. Scholarship Foundation-FL, LLC
P.O. Box 15719
Tampa, FL 33684
Step Up For Students
P.O. Box 54367
Jacksonville, FL 32245
Deadlines to apply for a scholarship are determined by the Scholarship Funding Organization.
For more information about the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, such as frequently asked questions, eligibility and parent resources, visit the FLDOE website at http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/ftc/