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Families can learn about multiple Hillsborough County middle schools, including Stewart Middle Magnet and Sligh Middle Magnet.

Families can check out Carrollwood-area middle schools at Oct. 5 fair

September 27, 2017

Families shop for middle schools like they used to shop for colleges and with that in mind, Carrollwood-area families are invited to an upcoming event to learn about the diverse array of programs available to them in Hillsborough County Public Schools.

Teachers, students and leaders of both neighborhood and magnet middle schools will be at Carrollwood Elementary School on Thursday, Oct. 5 (from 5-7 p.m.) to showcase their programs.

“It was almost like speed dating for middle schools,” said Carrollwood Elementary PTA President Karen O’Brien, part of a parent group that worked with School Board Chair Cindy Stuart and district leaders to start the middle school fair last year. They were hungry to learn more about Hillsborough County middle school options.

“It’s a great way to learn more about options and have one-on-one conversations with leaders of schools,” O’Brien said.

And though it seems like this school year just started, the event is also timed to coincide with the upcoming start of the Choice/Magnet application process.

“It is the time of year when our families begin to weigh potential options for next year in advance of the Nov. 1 opening of the Choice/Magnet applications,” said Robert Cox, supervisor of Magnet Programs. “It is with this in mind that we are providing families with this opportunity to explore what our schools have to offer.”

Here are the schools expected to attend:

Heath Beauregard, principal of Adams Middle School, is bringing students and a giant spinning wheel used on campus for student incentives. He realizes competition is fierce to attract students.

“Just like a good book, we have lots of great things at Adams,” he said. “You just need to step inside to see just how great Adams really is, from the programs to the teachers and our students.”

Meanwhile, the principal of Young Middle Magnet hopes families leave with an understanding of her school’s diverse offerings, including high school credit classes, Project Lead the Way, robotics, American Sign Language, video game design and more.

“Lessons are taught with high levels of critical thinking skills, collaborative structures in all classes and positive culture with student involvement in National Junior Honor Society, sports and Student Government,” said Young’s Nadine Johnson.

Orange Grove’s Lydia Sierra wants to ensure parents leave knowing “we have high academic standards through arts integration.”

Melanie Bottini, principal of the host school, expects several hundred people to attend. The parents behind the event last year had students as young as second grade and according to her, “It’s never too early” to think about middle school enrollment.

O’Brien’s family got a jump-start last year when son Carson, then a fourth-grader, took a liking to a science-themed magnet school. The entire family will be back again this time to check out options for next year.

The event will also include performances by students, Bottini said. Expect demonstrations of experiments, robots and drones. Refreshments will be available for purchase as the cafeteria is transformed into a festival-like atmosphere for the event.

“It will provide an opportunity for families to explore the nuances of these programs, ask questions, experience elements of the programs and gather information that will help them make decisions on the options available to them for 2018-2019,” Cox said. “It will be a fun and informative evening to learn about educational programs in Hillsborough County Public Schools.”

Click to learn more about school choice options.

Carrollwood Elementary is located at 3516 McFarland Road, Tampa.

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