Few planned communities can boast of a public library AND a tuition-free charter school at the main entrances to their development. But, these bragging rights go to Avalon Park Wesley Chapel, the only development in Pasco County to offer both.
First to open is Pinecrest Academy Wesley Chapel, when students will pour through its doors on Aug. 10, the first day of the 2020-2021 school year in Pasco County. And then, a few months later, the New River Library will be re-opening in a completely remodeled building just a few blocks west of the school.
There will be over 600 students in kindergarten through sixth grade at the new charter school — the first Pinecrest Academy in Tampa Bay. With 16 schools nationwide, Pinecrest Academy offers advanced programs for its students, including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum, and a dual English/Spanish language program.
At Pinecrest Academy Wesley Chapel, students in all grades also will be immersed in new technologies, including robotics, and will work in fully functioning STEM labs — something most schools do not offer.
“All Pinecrest schools have an emphasis on high-quality instruction. We’ll continuously be monitoring the data so we know what each student needs, and have many different programs available to focus on the needs of the individual student,” says Principal Aimee Mielke.
There are still openings for students, and Mielke encourages interested families to explore the school’s website and complete its application as soon as possible. Information and the application form can be accessed at PinecrestWesleyChapel.com.
Mielke has hired most of the school’s 27 teachers, including classroom, art, music, Spanish, and physical education, as well as an instructional coach and office staff.
“We have a nice combination of experienced teachers from both public and charter schools,” said Mielke, who adds that over half of her teaching staff have master’s degrees.
The school, which is located on State Road 54 about three miles east of Interstate 75, will have several sections at every grade level, with kindergarten and the lower grades having the most.
The school also is offering self-contained classrooms for gifted students, where pacing will be faster and performance tests much more in-depth.
Everything designed and purchased for the classrooms was chosen for student engagement, Mielke explains, and technology is an essential component of the new school. Laptops are being provided for every student in grades two through six, as are iPads for first-graders and kindergartners.
Blue and green colors brilliantly burst along the hallways of the modern building that has 49 large classrooms, oversized art and music rooms, and high-tech science labs. The school is visually notable with unusual windows in the shape of half-moons, circles and squares that give students and faculty stunning lake and conservation views.
The New River Library and Pinecrest Academy Wesley Chapel, along with New River Elementary, are all important elements of the goal to build a brand-new town, says Stephanie Lerret, senior vice president of marketing and community relations for the Avalon Park Group, the developer behind the community.
“We are ecstatic to have both a brand new library and charter school in our community to give our residents the best opportunities for themselves and their children,” said Lerret.