That back-to-school shine has only just washed away and Halloween is only now in the rear view, but already it’s time to plan for the next school year. The applications for Palm Beach County’s public school choice programs are now available and will be due in some cases as early as Dec. 2, 2016.
Deadlines differ depending on the programs. The December deadline is for those applying to an arts program that requires an audition: Bak Middle School of the Arts, A.W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts, as well as the symphony orchestra grades six through eight at The Conservatory School @ North Palm Beach and the dance, digital media, band, vocal, theater and visual arts program at Boynton Beach High.
All other applications are due Jan. 27, 2017. Late applications are accepted after that date but don’t get in the March lottery. Instead they are considered after all the wait pool applicants are assigned, the district notes.
And that wait pool can be huge, even though the list of options has grown once again.
The fall will see 10 programs, from International Baccalaureate to ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps), added at 16 schools. With those additions, the district now has more than 300 choice and career academies in more than 110 schools to offer students.
In all, that translates into about 10,500 to 11,000 seats to be filled by the lottery. District officials expect at least 20,000 students to apply. Because students can, but aren’t required to make a second choice that lottery will sort about 33,000 applications.
Among the choices, the district’s medical sciences programs at 13 middle schools and 15 high schools. Four elementary schools have related programs. If medicine is not your thing, other options include fields from culinary arts to criminal justice, teaching to tourism and more.
Last year, Palm Beach County students earned 10,560 industry certifications, a number that is tops in the state, according to choice program manager Pete Licata.