Students at magnet schools learn through programs ranging from the performing arts to science and technology.

Neighborhood schools and their attendance zones are considerations for many families making decisions such as where to live, or for students figuring out how to achieve their academic and career goals. Magnet programs and other school choice options that offer attendance and subject matter flexibility are available, and the time to exercise a choice for the 2024-25 school year is now. 

The application window for magnet and school choice options runs from Wednesday, November 1 through Friday, December 15. 

Hillsborough County Public Schools offers magnet programs focusing on subject areas ranging from performing arts, such as dance, to a variety of science and technology fields, such as robotics, as well as general academics. 

Nonmagnet options include what is referred to as ‘school choice,’ which includes school selection based on location as well as student interests and hardship considerations. School choice options include learning online via Hillsborough Virtual School (HVK12). The opportunity to learn in-demand skills, ranging from agriculture to information technology, through career and technical education (CTE) programs can also be selected.

According to Robert Cox, the school district’s supervisor of magnet schools and programs, families have opportunities to learn more about the educational possibilities beyond their neighborhood.

“The most important thing that we want our families to know about these next few months in the world of Magnet Schools is that there are a multitude of events on the district and the school levels for them to attend should they want to learn more about our award-winning programs and how to attend them in 2024-2025,” he wrote in an email.

Among the upcoming events are a Magnet & CTE Expo at ZooTampa from 3-7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8, and an open-house type event at Spoto High School in Riverview on Thursday, November 30 from 6-7:30 p.m. There are also online opportunities to learn about school options on the district’s website at

Cox added that applications are selected via a computerized lottery system so families and students can take their time in applying before the deadline. 

“In the end, we work hard to make sure that ALL students in Hillsborough County Public Schools and beyond have access and opportunity to attend one of our nationally known Magnet Schools!” he wrote. 

Families will be notified in January 2024 about a final determination regarding their applications.

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Avian-named publications have figured prominently in Brad Stager's career. Besides writing for the Osprey Observer, he started out writing sports articles for the Seahawk, a weekly newspaper serving the military community aboard Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. That position followed a career documenting life in the Fleet, from the Straits of Magellan to the North Arabian Sea, as a Navy Photographer's Mate. Since settling in the Tampa Bay area, Brad has produced a variety of written, visual and aural content for clients ranging from corporate broadcasters to small businesses.