Even during a pandemic, Hillsborough County Public Schools students have the opportunity to safely explore their talents through magnet and school choice options.

By Brad Stager

The Hillsborough County School District’s magnet school, career and technical education (CTE) and school choice programs offer students a variety of focused educational opportunities with which to pursue their academic and professional aspirations.

The district’s first window for families to apply to these programs for the 2021-22 school year opened on November 2 and continues through Friday, December 11. Families will be notified about acceptance in late January 2021.

The district’s magnet school program provides instruction at specified elementary, middle and high schools that is theme-based, emphasizing areas such as performing and communication arts, International Baccalaureate studies, technology like robotics and game development as well as business and health sciences. Transportation to magnet schools is provided by the school district.

CTE programs are areas of focus at many neighborhood middle and high schools, ranging, for example, from automotive maintenance and light repair at Brandon High School to web development at Newsome High School.

Access to these choice schools and programs are available to students entering grades K-11 out of the schools’ attendance areas on a space-available basis. Transportation is not provided by the school district to out-of-area students.

The school choice option is also available to families without signing up for a CTE program. In those cases, the option is available to students entering grades K-11 on a space-available basis at schools outside of their attendance areas. No school district transportation is provided for school choice.

According to Bob Cox, the district’s supervisor of magnet programs, “Our choice and magnet options are some of the most dynamic and rigorous programs within our school district. We have worked diligently to ensure our families will have an informative and enjoyable experience as they explore new educational paths through our district’s 80-plus magnet and choice programs.”

For more information and to apply for a magnet or choice program, visit hillsboroughschools.org, where you can also participate in online events such as the Magnet: Vision 2020 Exploration Night presentation on Thursday, December 3 from 6-7 p.m.

Representatives from magnet schools will talk about their programs and answer questions during the event, which requires online registration.