Lutz Preparatory School is gearing up to add a charter school for middle school students, beginning with the fall 2014-15 school year.
While the school will be located on the Lutz Prep campus, 17951 N. U.S. 41, now occupied by a kindergarten through sixth-grade program, the middle school will be considered a separate entity, under the charter approved on Dec. 10 by the Hillsborough County School Board. The final step to the charter, which involves signing the five-year contract, is expected in March.
Diane Farmer, principal of Lutz Prep, said the new middle school would open for students in sixth and seventh grades. Eighth grade will be added in the 2015-16 school year.
The new charter middle school, like the elementary school, will focus on providing a traditional education, in which all students have learning plans, Farmer said.
A middle school committee has been visiting charter schools and kindergarten through eighth-grade schools in Florida that are known for their excellence to learn about the programs they offer. The committee is researching curriculum options.
The plan is to create a schedule that focuses on student achievement, Farmer said. The goal is not merely to add more grades at the campus, but to create an outstanding middle school.
In the long-term, Lutz Prep wants to add a high school, too, Farmer said.
The middle school, like the elementary school, most likely will draw students not only from Hillsborough County but also from Pasco, Pinellas, Hernando and Polk counties, as well, Farmer said.
The principal believes parents are drawn to the school because it has such a dedicated staff. It’s not a bit unusual, she said, to see many cars in the parking lot long after the school day has ended because the teachers are so committed to delivering live and engaging instruction.
Before teachers are hired to teach at Lutz Prep, they must demonstrate their skills by delivering a lesson to students, Farmer added.
Besides having a dedicated staff, Farmer believes another chief strength of the school is the commitment of its parents.
“Our parents stay engaged,” Farmer said. “The culture is total family involvement.”
By state law, all of Lutz Prep’s fifth- and sixth-graders will be given preference for enrolling in the middle school before any new students will be enrolled. The school expects a few seventh-grade openings, and will be filling those through a lottery system.
Applications must be received by Feb. 3 at 2 p.m., to be considered for this year’s lottery.
Anyone who would like more information can attend an open house and information session on Jan. 29 at 7 p.m., at the school, or can visit the school’s website at LutzPrep.org.
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