Pinellas County Schools continues to provide new educational choices for families. Several of our newest programs were created based on feedback from parents and students.

Elisa Nelson Elementary School

Elisa Nelson Elementary School in Palm Harbor will open this school year as the Center for Gifted Studies and Literacy Innovation.

The Center for Gifted Studies will serve gifted students in grades 1-5. Students will learn from gifted endorsed teachers, collaborate with gifted classmates and experience an advanced, accelerated curriculum. Special focus will be placed on critical and creative thinking as well as social-emotional development.

The Center for Literacy Innovation is for students in grades 1-4 who have dyslexia or a specific pattern of reading difficulties. The program will provide a structured and innovative approach to teaching reading and literacy to ensure that each student will feel empowered and challenged in their learning.

Sandy Lane Elementary School

The Conservatory for the Arts at Sandy Lane Elementary School in Clearwater will emphasize hands-on learning using arts integration. The goal of arts integration is to increase knowledge and achievement of a general subject area while fostering appreciation, understanding and achievement of the visual and performing arts. The program is staffed with experienced arts educators and will feature a variety of field trips to deepen learning in the arts and other subjects. All students at the Conservatory for the Arts participate in dance, music and visual arts each week. Students in grades 3-5 will have the opportunity to participate in strings instruction. Fourth and fifth graders will have additional opportunities to explore various arts through weekly focus groups.

Other new offerings

Last school year, Pinellas County Schools opened two new magnet programs at Midtown Academy in St. Petersburg: The Center for Gifted Studies and the Center for Cultural Arts. The Center for Gifted Studies provides students with a full-day gifted program that expands beyond the classroom walls into the St. Petersburg community and beyond. The Center for Cultural Arts exposes all students to cultural opportunities through multiple field trips and community partnerships.

The district also debuted Richard O. Jacobson Technical High School, an application program that gives students the opportunity to choose from various career pathways, including Building Construction Technology, Commercial and Digital Arts, Electricity, Game and Simulation Programming, Veterinary Assisting and Nursing. New this year is the Marine Mechanics program where students will learn skills in outboard, inboard, and personal watercraft service. Nursing students will also have the opportunity to attend a dual enrollment program that will prepare them for the Licensed Practical Nurse exam.

Programs designed to give students additional support

• The district’s Educational Alternative Services (EAS) Department will launch new programs for the upcoming school year. The programs are designed for students who may need additional support to meet their education goals. Educational Alternative Services assists students who have previously been retained or are in danger of being retained, have less than a 2.0 GPA, have struggled with standardized testing or have had attendance issues. The new EAS programs include:

• The Alpha 4.5 program at Blanton Elementary — The program is for fourth graders who have previously been retained. It provides students the opportunity to complete fourth and fifth grades in one school year. The Alpha 4.5 program is for students who live south of Ulmerton Road and whose zoned schools include Azalea, Bardmoor, Blanton, Campbell Park, Cross Bayou, Fairmount Park, Gulfport, North Shore, Lakewood, Lealman, Lynch, Maximo, Melrose, New Heights, Northwest, Oakhurst, Perkins, Pinellas Park, Rawlings, Seminole, Sexton, Shore Acres, Skyview, Westgate and Woodlawn elementary schools. Parents may inquire about the program at 727-547-7508.

• Clearwater Intermediate School’s new Business Technology and Culinary programs — There are vacancies for students in grades 6-8 who meet the EAS criteria. Interested families should contact the school at 727-298-1616.

• Bayside High School’s Drone Pilot, Nail/Facials Specialist and Culinary Arts programs — Interested students may call the school directly at 727-507-4730.

• Pinellas Gulf Coast Academy’s Drone Pilot, 911 Operator and Vision Care Technician programs — Interested students may call the school directly at 727-474-8836.

• Disston Academy’s Drone Pilot, Nail/Facials Specialist, Smart Home Technology Installation and Culinary Arts programs — Interested students may call the school directly at 727-893-1115.

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