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Carrollwood-area families met with teachers, students and leaders of 13 middle schools as they began exploring options for the following school year.

Families digest middle school options at Carrollwood showcase

October 09, 2017

Students and parents got their first taste of middle school on Thursday – and it was delicious.

Amid the display boards, flyers, pencils, chip clips and more used to attract parents during a middle school fair at Carrollwood Elementary School, a few schools turned to their Family and Consumer Science programs to provide a little fresh-baked goodwill.

Angel, a third-grader tagging along with his fifth-grade brother Alejandro, loved the brownies from Davidsen Middle School’s culinary team. His mother, Cary Romero-Martinez, appreciated having the chance to explore more than a dozen schools at a single stop.

“I would recommend this to any parent,” she said.

About 500 people attended the fair. They hugged Ben Hill Middle’s bear, tested out Buchanan Middle’s robotics and spun Adams Middle’s incentive wheel while snacking on cookies from that school’s culinary program. They also had a chance to talk with students, teachers and leaders from 13 middle schools, both neighborhood and magnet campuses.

Sgt. Smith Middle School highlighted its new Academy of Broadcasting and Sports Medicine. Broadcast teacher Valerie Chevalier said parents had three primary questions: “What is it? What are they going to do? And, how does this prepare them for high school?”

The Carrollwood event started last year after a group of parents brought the idea to School Board member Cindy Stuart. Parent Bob Mcilwain, looking for a school for his fifth-grade son Connor, was impressed.

“I didn’t know there were so many different choices for middle school,” he said.

While it may seem early in the school year to start thinking about next year, the timing coincided with the upcoming Choice/Magnet application period, which runs Nov. 1 to Dec. 12.

Plus, as Carrollwood Principal Melanie Bottini noted as she looked out on the crowd and saw quite a few students younger than fifth-graders: “You’re never too young to think about middle school.”

There are more showcase events planned in the coming weeks, including:

  • STEMtastic (STEM programs), Oct. 19, 5:30-7:30 at the Florida Aquarium
  • Parent University (pre-registration required): Oct. 28, 8 a.m. to noon at Franklin Boys Preparatory Academy
  • Hillsborough Choice Expo (grades K-12): Nov. 3, 3-7 p.m. at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall
  • Magnet and Choice Exploration Night (magnet grades K-12): Nov. 15, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Leto High School
  • Magnet and Choice Exploration Night (magnet grades K-12): Dec. 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Armwood High School
  • Magnet and Choice Exploration Night (magnet elementary): Jan. 18, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Jefferson High School
  • Parent University (pre-registration required): Feb. 17, 8 a.m. to noon at Bloomingdale High School

Also, don’t hesitate to reach out directly to a school for more information. Many schools may also offer their own information/parent nights. You’ll find a SCHOOL SEARCH option on the right side of the district homepage.

Click here to learn more about Magnet/Choice options.

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