By Tamas Mondovics

Nearly 200 families, along with teachers and administrators, filled the multipurpose room to capacity at Boyette Springs Elementary School this month in response to a new choice program now available for gifted students.

According to Hillsborough County Public Schools officials, the Center for Gifted Studies at Boyette Springs Elementary is a new School Choice Attractor program that is now accepting applications as part of Hillsborough Choice Options application period for elementary magnet programs and School Choice programs for the 2016-2017 school year.

“I am so excited and thankful for the opportunity to welcome this inaugural program here within our community,” said Boyette Springs Elementary School Principal Tamethea Simmons. “As the district’s only full-time gifted program, the Center for Gifted Studies will offer eligible gifted students the opportunity for an advanced and challenging curriculum, and we are ready and eager to accommodate.”

Demonstrating the level of excitement, close to 50 applications were received by the end of the first day of enrollment. With capacity around 200, families interested in their children attending can apply for admission to the program until Sunday, January 31.

Addressing the large crowd, K-12 Gifted Program Supervisor Dr. Lauri Kirsch spoke passionately about the program, emphasizing its full-time stays starting next fall at Boyette Springs.

“We are just thrilled to be able to offer this option for our gifted students,” Kirsch said adding that the Center for Gifted Studies is a program for first through fifth grade students designed for identified gifted students who seek a full-time gifted program offering advanced level learning experiences and opportunities for talent development.

Kirsch explained that the Center for Gifted Studies offers a high quality and distinctive program for students who meet Florida’s Gifted eligibility requirement.

The Center is promising to utilize the research-supported Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) approach based on three elements; enrichment, engagement and enthusiasm, all equaling achievement.

School officials added that under Hillsborough Choice Options students can apply for a magnet school or another public school with available space within Hillsborough County. Applications are available online at www.sdhc.k12.fl. us and by searching “Go Choice.” Parents can call 272-4692 for answers to questions. For more info, call 272-4048.