Imagine prepares for the fall (North Port, FL)

admin Imagine Schools in the news

“According to Imagine [North Port] Middle and Elementary School principal Justin Matthews, everything is on schedule for the 2011 fall semester opening of Imagine High School.

The school found out its charter request for a high school had been approved unanimously by the Sarasota County School Board — with Board Member Carol Todd absent — in November of last year. Matthews presented his plan for Imagine High School to the Sarasota County School District Charter Review Committee in late August.

The charter approved by   the board allows for a maximum of 150 students per grade level, grades nine to 12, for a total of 600 students. There are currently 767 students in the Imagine elementary and middle schools.

The four high school grades will be phased in over the course of the next four years. Matthews said the 60-day pre-enrollment window — the length of the window is mandated by state statute — for its new ninth-grade class, as well as all other grades, is open now through March 1.

Eighth-graders already attending Imagine Middle School who are moving up will be guaranteed a spot in the new freshman class. Matthews said   he expects about 90 percent of the current eighth-grade class to move up.

‘Because we’re moving from   a four-class, 88-student population to a six-class, 25 student     (per class) population, we’ll naturally have some seats that will be open,’ Matthews said. ‘We’re projecting a wait list by … March.’

Matthews said the school is in the midst of negotiations with Benderson Development to take over the remaining   empty buildings next to the middle school campus near the corner of Toledo Blade and Panacea boulevards. He added there will be some remodeling of the existing buildings to include a theater, but they are also in discussions about building a new facility on nearby vacant land.

There is also a staffing plan. New teachers will be hired, but some current middle school teachers will move ahead a grade level.

‘The key to our success is making sure that we have established, quality Imagine teachers,’ Matthews said. ‘Some of our teachers go with our kids every year … It   allows the foundation of our (school) culture and expectations to grow and still have a core of that culture in the new grades so it’s not its own island without roots in the school.

‘It’s just one more thing to make sure the school is successful right out.’

Imagine High School’s first freshman class will be the graduating class of 2015.

‘We have a student focus group comprised of only eighth-grade students and myself,’ Matthews said. ‘They will help shape what interscholastic sports we play and our uniform policy. This is really going to be one of those schools that really takes student opinions into account.’

For more information, call the school at 941-426-2050, or visit www. and click on the ‘High School’ link on the top of the page. Applications also are available on the website.”

Article published on January 23, 2011 by the North Port Sun