When Innovation Preparatory Academy, a new charter school in Wesley Chapel, opens this fall, it will usher in new opportunities in technology and innovation for students, according to officials at the groundbreaking ceremony last week for the school.
“It would be easy just to throw another school building up here. That’s not what you’re going to see,” said Jonathan Hage, the founder, chairman, president and CEO of Charter Schools USA.
“You’re going to see a learning environment that’s truly on the very cutting edge of what is the best in the country,” said Hage, whose organization will be operating the school, under a partnership with Metro Development Group.
“This is actually one of the most innovative school projects we’ve ever been a part of, in our 22 years of building and operating charter schools around the country,” the education professional said.
“We’re going to be looking at the technology in a wholly different way because we have the 5G network,” Hage said. “They created a project from the ground up that’s designed to ensure that parents have amazing options and choices for their children.
“I’ll tell you, it’s a testament of the work that’s been done on the ground here, by an innovative team that wanted to make sure that we put the kids first in this county and make sure that the families had something that was unique for them,” Hage added.
Greg Singleton, president of Metro Development Group, told the crowd: “We’re super excited about what’s going on here. The goal here is to make this one of the best educational facilities in this particular region.”
The K-8 school, which will be called inPrep for short, will have a capacity for 765 students.
It will open this fall as a K-6 school, adding seventh grade in its second year of operation, and eighth grade the year after that.
“We’re going to use a curriculum called the WISH model, which stands for Wellness, Innovation, Science and Health. And, also, the science courses will be based on the STEM model, which is used to kind of motivate kids to get interested in science and technology, and engineering and math.
“Also, for the gifted and high-achieving students, inPrep is going to offer programs that are designed by England’s University of Cambridge to meet the needs (of those students.)
“Obviously, it took a Herculean effort to pull this off,” Singleton said, thanking the Metro team involved in the effort, as well as Red Apple Development, Charter Schools USA, Pasco County Schools, the Pasco County Commission and Pasco County government.
Pasco County Commissioner Ron Oakley was there to celebrate the groundbreaking.
He praised the progress being made in Connected City, which encompasses two Metro Places communities — Epperson and Mirada.
Each of those communities has a multi-acre Crystal Lagoon and Metro’s exclusive ULTRAFi high-speed Internet technology.
Pasco School Board member Alan Altman noted, “this is extremely rare to have such a cooperative partnership arrangement between a private developer and the county and the school district, and see an innovative charter school come in.”
He touched on the variety of academic programs the school district has added, to provide more choice for parents and students, and this charter school offers another new option.
“The more I learn about other school districts around the state, the more appreciative I am of Pasco County, and our board and our superintendent who have stepped out and said, ‘We want to provide choice. We want to provide opportunities.’
“The families and the citizens of this community will benefit for years to come because of the cooperation that has allowed this to be another opportunity for learning for our students,” Altman said.
Hage, too, marveled at the partnerships involved in the project.
The future is bright, he said, “when people still care about education this much and in this way.
“You see families and kids and business people and elected leaders all coming together, and doing what’s right for families and kids, that’s a unique thing.
“You don’t often see that,” Hage said.
Singleton encouraged parents who are interested to sign up soon.
“I think this is going to fill up immediately because this is something really special,” he said.
For more information, visit inPrep.com.
Published February 26, 2020