During the past few years, Pasco County Schools has been adding to its slate of educational choices for parents and students, and two new options will become available in the 2022-2023 school year.
Centennial Elementary in Dade City and James M. Marlowe Elementary in New Port Richey are slated to become STEAM magnet schools.
The acronym STEAM means the schools will have an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics.
As magnet schools, Centennial and Marlowe will not have traditional boundaries.
The school district will use its school choice program, known as Pasco Pathways, to assign students to the schools.
Parent meetings will be held in October, to provide additional information.
Centennial’s meeting is set for Oct. 12 and Marlowe’s is set for Oct. 5. (Check with schools for additional details.)
As a result of dropping their traditional boundaries, the geographic areas currently zoned to the schools must be absorbed by other schools.
The Pasco County School Board will have public hearings on the proposed boundary changes for the schools on Nov. 16 and on Dec. 14.
Centennial and Marlowe will pattern themselves after Sanders Memorial Elementary, at 5126 School Road, in Land O’ Lakes.
Sanders Elementary recently was named a nationally certified magnet school by Magnet Schools of America. The distinction signifies that Sanders meets rigorous standards that define high-quality schools, according to a school district news release.
Centennial Middle and Bayonet Point Middle, which are middle magnet schools focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also were named nationally certified magnet schools by the same organization.
In general, magnet schools feature themes and courses that are designed to attract students from outside traditional school boundaries.
Sanders Elementary became the district’s first magnet school in 2015, when it reopened, following a massive renovation. Most of the students attending Sanders live in the central part of Pasco County.
Centennial Elementary will provide a convenient option for students and families in East Pasco, to explore the same educational opportunities as those offered at Sanders. Marlowe will do the same in West Pasco.
Pasco County Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning briefed the school board members at their Sept. 7 morning meeting, on the process the district will use, leading up to the switch. He said communications would be sent to families later in the day.
Centennial Elementary Principal Gretchen Rudolph-Fladd explained how the transition will work in a letter to parents, posted on the school’s website.
In part, she told parents: “Making a transition like this requires several steps. Some are significant, while others are formalities that have no impact on students.”
She posted some frequently asked questions and answers to those queries, too.
Here’s an excerpt of those FAQs. (To see the FAQs in their entirety, visit the school’s website at https://cenes.pasco.k12.fl.us).
Will our school have to close?
Technically, it will, but it will not impact students because it will close at the end of the 2021-2022 school year and will reopen at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.
Will parents have to apply to have their student remain at the school?
Yes, parents will need to make that desire known by applying via School Choice. Children currently attending the school will have “preferred” status and there is every expectation they will be able to remain at the school.
Why is a rezoning necessary?
Magnet schools do not have traditional zones, so nearby attendance zones will expand to include Centennial’s current attendance zone.
Will the current teachers lose their jobs?
No one will lose their job as a result of the transition to a STEAM magnet. However, staff changes will result. The expectation is that most teachers will remain, but others have opted to pursue a teaching position at a different school. Teachers wishing to transfer to a more traditional position will be able to do so.
Published September 15, 2021