Pasco expands school choice with new magnet programs

Pasco County parents will have new choices for the children's education as the district adds three new magnet schools in the fall. 

Starting Thursday, January 6, parents can sign up their children to attend new science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEM/STEAM) programs in the upcoming 2022-2023 school year through Pasco Pathways. 

Samantha Delvalle said her daughter is enjoying the magnet school program at Sanders Elementary.

"She loves it. She’s super engaged. She loves her teachers," said Delvalle, who is the assistant director of Pasco County Schools' Office for Leading and Learning.

School leaders say programs like the one at Sanders will allow for tailored learning throughout the county.

The STEAM programs will soon be available at Marlowe and Centennial elementary schools.

The new options don’t stop at kindergarten to 5th grade at the elementary schools. Construction is underway for a brand-new magnet high school, Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation. Pasco school leaders said Kirkland Ranch will let high school students explore in-demand careers like cybersecurity, automotive, robotics and construction. 

"It’s completely innovative and just ensuring that students have every opportunity to meet their career needs, their interest needs, college, life, all the skills that you would need to be successful and truly specializing what they’re interested in," said Delvalle.

Kirkland Ranch is expected to open in August, welcoming 9th and 10th-graders from across the county, Delvalle said. But it still needs students, so school leaders hope parents will see the potential of interdisciplinary learning and sign their kids up.

The school choice applications for Pasco County Schools close January 20.