Education

Manatee’s newest charter school is near capacity. You want in? Better attend this meeting Thursday

Rowlett hopes to attract middle schoolers

Rowlett Academy hosted its third open house Wednesday night for parents and students interested in attending Rowlett Middle Academy, the charter school's new middle school.
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Rowlett Academy hosted its third open house Wednesday night for parents and students interested in attending Rowlett Middle Academy, the charter school's new middle school.

Students interested in attending Rowlett Middle Academy, a new Manatee County charter middle school, have one last chance to attend an open house required for admission.

The school is holding its final open house at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at its building, the former Orange Ridge-Bullock Elementary School, located at 400 30th Ave. W., Bradenton. Any student interested in attending the school must attend an open house and complete the application process.

Rowlett Middle is a new charter middle school for sixth- and seventh-grade students being opened by the Rowlett Academy for Arts and Communication, an elementary school. School leaders have plans to add eighth grade next year. Former Rowlett Academy Principal Brian Flynn is helping open the new middle school, and he said enrollment is near capacity.

“We’ve got 15 to 20 more spots. Enrollment is at 280, and we are going to close it out at 300,” Flynn said.

Like its elementary school counterpart, Rowlett Middle is designed for children who have an interest in arts, television and film production or leadership, and the application requires a portfolio. An interest in leadership can be demonstrated by involvement in programs such as school patrols, scouting or church-related activities, Flynn said.

In addition to attending an open house, interested students must also submit a letter of recommendation from a former teacher or administrator and a letter explaining why they want to attend Rowlett. Flynn said the school hopes to have all applications by Aug. 1.

Rowlett Middle is a free public charter school. Flynn said the school has many similarities to traditional public schools, but is able to cater its programming to its students.

“The main difference is that we have our own board, and our own board creates policies for our school,” Flynn said. “It gives us a little bit more flexibility, given that we answer to our board, and it allows us to be a little more free with our curriculum and assessment than you would find in a local public school.”

Ryan McKinnon: 941-745-7027, @JRMcKinnon

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