Hillsborough County Public Schools is expanding choices for families in the Lutz and USF areas with plans to add middle school grades to three elementary school campuses. Lutz, Maniscalco and Pizzo elementary schools will each add sixth grade classes for the 2018-19 school year, the first step in a three-year process to convert to a pre-kindergarten to eighth-grade school.
Applications are due this Friday.
Staying for middle school will be an option for families, rather than a requirement. Some students may decide to advance to their assigned middle school or pursue other choices such as magnet schools. There will be 110 sixth-grade seats at each of the three campuses.
Priority will be given to students who currently reside within the school boundary, followed by students currently attending the school via the choice process, then students who live outside the boundary and are not currently enrolled at the school.
“Our parents and students love our school,” said Lutz Principal Lori Branham, who announced the plan to applause during a family math night at Publix. “They have told me that they really wish they could keep their children at our school. They know our school, they love our school, they love our community, they feel comfortable with each other. I think it’s going to be a huge positive.”
Applications are available at each school office or on the schools’ websites and will be accepted daily at the schools through this Friday, March 23.
Trang Bryan, a parent to both a fifth-grader and a third-grader at Lutz, said she’s giving the school a serious look as her family explores options for middle school. “This is very exciting,” she said. “It’s a local school and we love going there because our friends and neighbors go there. We know the staff, we know the principal, we know the teachers.”
Curriculum will be consistent with other K-8 schools and there will be a wide variety of after-school activities. Athletic offerings may include intramurals and the three schools playing each other until middle school grades are fully populated.
Transportation for sixth-grade students would be on a space-available basis.
Most traditional middle school are scheduled to start at 9:25 a.m. next year, but these K-8 schools are expected to start their days at 7:40 a.m. along with elementary schools. All three campuses also will continue to offer pre-K programs.
Superintendent Jeff Eakins told Lutz families at a recent interest meeting that this innovation made sense for these campuses.
“We have families who love our schools,” said Eakins, who actually attended a K-12 school in rural Ohio as a child. “We have teachers and principals who love our kids. That's a pretty good combination. I’m excited about it.”
How to apply
Applications are due to the school offices by Friday. Pick up an application at the schools or download one from their websites