By Kate Quesada
Residents who travel the U.S. Hwy. 301 corridor frequently will have noticed the large school building under construction at the road’s busy intersection with Bloomingdale Ave. in Riverview. The location, to the south of Wolfe’s Produce Market, will open next month as BridgePrep Academy, a kindergarten through eighth grade public charter school.
The school, under direction of principal Keith Jacobs, is the 15th Florida campus BridgePrep, with one other location in Hillsborough County. They are all SACS Accredited High Performing Charter Schools. The building, which will be able to hold 950 students, is state of the art offering technology in every classroom and two large computer labs. There will also be a baseball field and multiple basketball courts.
More than 700 students in kindergarten through sixth grade have currently received spots through the traditional charter school lottery system with approximately 200 more expected to join them in the next few years. Applications are available on the school’s website.
According to Jacobs, BridgePrep believes in a student-centered educational philosophy that emphasizes hands on learning and students who actively participate.
“We believe in the whole student approach to learning,” said Jacobs, who also explained that BridgePrep is a STEAM school that additionally offers every student one hour of Spanish language instruction every day.
As a charter school, students at BridgePrep do not pay tuition. Hillsborough County charter schools are independent public schools operated by a non-profit organization. They hire their own teachers, design their own academic program and control their own finances. They have their own board of directors that makes the decisions for the school, but all charter schools must provide a curriculum that meets the Florida and Sunshine State Standards.
“We are really excited to become a part of the diverse Riverview community,” said Jacobs, who is beginning his 14th year as an educator and ninth in school administration.
The school is located at 6211 S. U.S. Hwy. 301 in Riverview, call 370-1910 or visit www.bridgeprepacademy.com.