Friday, May 24

Indian River County may develop magnet school with ‘classical education’ model

The School District of Indian River County is considering transforming one of its elementary schools into a new educational model magnet school and wants to hear feedback from you.

The district wants to maximize enrollment and said there is a demand for a classical model-style school.

Right now, Indian River County has three magnet elementary schools and it’s looking to create a fourth in the northern part of the county to meet a need in the community. And it could have a very different style of teaching and learning.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Education

“I think a lot of kids are struggling with basics math, reading, writing and they either don’t graduate or they do and their skills are horrible,” said grandfather Gary Coleman.

Coleman likes the idea of going back to the basics in the classroom.

The School District of Indian River County is looking to convert one of its current elementary schools into a magnet school, potentially with a classical education curriculum.

“Well look at our campuses up north. We have a few that are under-enrolled,” Superintendent Dr. David Moore said. “The goal here is to provide choice to our community to maximize the opportunity our children have to participate in quality schools.”

Moore said the classical style is one of the fastest-growing educational options, but not offered in traditional district schools. He said it’s not based on politics or religion, but does have less focus on technology, while still adhering to state standards.

“You go back and look at how we were educated back in the day. Very routine systems, direct instruction, looking at classical novels throughout the day, classical literature, a lot of individual memorization,” Moore said.

The transition wouldn’t happen overnight. A phased approach would begin with kindergarten at the selected location in the 2025-26 school year.

A survey on the school district’s website is gauging parent interest.

“A magnet school doesnt have a boundary it serves,” Moore said. “It services all of the community, and transportation is limited to depot stops. So theres not nearly as much transportation.”

Mom Jennifer Pippin sees the value in the classical style of education and trying to bring more students back into the district.

“Having more options for children and families, it may not be for all, but it will be for some, and fill those seats with that classical education model,” Pippin said.

“It’s the old style,” Coleman said. “It worked for me. It worked for all of us and you, I’m sure. Nothing wrong with it!”

That survey will be open until April 22, then the Indian River County School Board will discuss how to move forward and what educational model is preferred at its June meeting.

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