By Tamas Mondovics
On track to open for the 2016-2017 school year, SouthShore Charter Academy is the newest addition to the list of charter schools opening within eastern Hillsborough County. According to school officials, enrollment is now also open for the new charter school, which is governed by the Florida Charter Educational Foundation, and will operate under the direction of Charter Schools USA (CSUSA), one of the nation’s leading educational management organizations.
CSUSA is currently boasting of managing 86 schools in seven states serving more than 70,000 students in Kindergarten through twelfth grade.
The Florida Charter Educational Foundation is a not-for-profit governing board created to open high quality, high performing charter schools in Florida. The board is comprised of local community leaders Rod Jurado, Allen Witt, Valora Cole and James Grant. It currently governs five schools in Florida.
When complete, SouthShore Academy—a sister school of Winthrop Charter School—will be a brand new, 66,920-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art building located on approximately 10 acres at 11667 Big Bend Rd. in Riverview, just west of Balm Riverview Rd.
“The general contractor, Ryan Companies, has designed the new building to create an exciting academic environment that includes well-outfitted classrooms, a multi-purpose room that can be used as a cafeteria, as well as a space for general assemblies and indoor recreational activities,” said school Spokesperson Colleen Reynolds.
The school will boast two science labs, computer labs, music rooms and art rooms.
Officials emphasized that advanced safety measures include a double-entry door security feature and security cameras throughout the interior and exterior of the building along with bright spacious hallways designed for maximum traffic flow with minimal congestion.
Outdoor amenities will include basketball courts, soccer and sports field, and an elementary-age appropriate covered playground.
At capacity, SouthShore Academy will house 1,145 Kindergarten through eighth grade students. In the first year, students will be accepted in grades Kindergarten through sixth with additional grades added in subsequent years.
“We have experienced great demand in Riverview with more than 1,200 applications already received,” said CSUSA Executive Vice President of Development Richard Page, who has emphasized that parents choose CSUSA schools for a variety of reasons, such as the personal learning plans developed for each child, while being involved in their child’s education.
“We require parent participation and provide plenty of opportunities,” Page said, while adding a few more reasons, which included the teaching staff.
“Our educators are another tremendous advantage,” he said. “Just as charter schools are schools of choice for parents, they are also chosen by charter school teachers. Our teachers want to be here and consistently go above and beyond.”
As an added advantage, Page said, “Parents are often impressed with our state-of-the-art facilities. Unlike some charters built in tiny storefronts, our school provides spacious hallways, are equipped with the latest technology and provide unmatched academic environments that encourage learning.”
Enrollment is underway and the school is on schedule to open in August 2016. While open enrollment is over, applications will continue to be accepted if seats are still available.
Those interested may apply online at SouthShoreCharter.org.