Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Schools in the area

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My wife has been a math teacher at both Apopka High School and Ocoee High School for the last decade or so.  We’ve had five kids of our own go to public school in Orange County. So, I know a lot of students, teachers, principals, and school staff members in the immediate area. 

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I can tell you that her and her colleagues are some of the most dedicated, hardworking, and diligent people I’ve ever me.  Every single one of them are totally focused on helping your child to ‘walk’ across the stage at graduation.  At Ocoee High School where my wife currently works the slogan is, “No student left behind.”

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Even so, sometimes a student or two come along who don’t fit into the standard educational mold.  I have a couple of those kids myself.  For that we have some really good alternative educational options to choose from.  If the public school system is not right for your child, there are lots of alternative schools that can be tailored to your child's unique needs.

Our kids experience:

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We have five kids who have gone to school here.  Rusty and Kimmie (Lori's kids came up from Apopka Elementatry, Apopka Middle School and Apopka High School.  Rebecca, David, and Michelle started at Windy Hill Elementary in Clermont, but switched to Apopka area schools when they came to live with me.

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Rusty got his Bachelor's Degree in Physics from the University of Southern Florida.  He also went on to get a Master's Degree in Physics.  He currently is a Math teacher and Tutor for Florida Virtual School.  Personally, I think our school system if fantastic if the kid really wants to learn.  Rusty is a great example of a kid who applied himself and got a great education from this area.

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Kimmie also came out of the Apopka School system.  She is currently still living with us, but working at Starbucks and going to Valencia Community College for her core academic classes (it's less expensive) with the idea that she would transfer to UCF with her Bright Futures Scholarship (a local Florida program that we encouraged all our kids to qualify for.

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Rebecca went to Pine Hills Elementary School in Clermont.  Then, East Ridge Middle School.  She started her High School career at East Ridge High School and came to live with us for her Senior year and went to Ocoee High School where Lori works as a Math Teacher. 

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David went to all the same schools as Rebecca, but came to us in his Junior year of High School and at the time we lived very close to Apopka High School so he ended up going there.  His other option was to go to Ocoee High School where Lori works.  Lori also spent 10 years teaching at Apopka High School, so she knows the staff there just about as well at where she is at in Ocoee.

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She is currently living off campus in a condominium at USF with a full scholarship, and had taken so many college courses during High School that she entered College as a Junior with only two years left.  She plans to continue on and get her Master's Degree and she is interested in Math, Engineering, and Computer Science. 

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During David's Senior year he decided to finish his remaining two courses online (English and Spanish), and he finished and graduated this last year.  He is currently taking a year off from school to work and evaluate where he might want to go for a higher education.  He has been a top notch gammer all his life, and I'm kind of hoping he decides to do something in that field, or at least computers.

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Michelle has had a hard time in High School.  She came to live with us on Thanksgiving Day 2014.  She was in trouble.  She had so many emotional problems by then she completely failed out of her first year at Ocoee High School. 

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At the end of that year we met with a committee of her teachers, counselors, and school psychologist to set her up with an EOC and determine what could be done to help her.  She took Algebra I in Summer school to make it up, and we are very involved in her school career at this point.  She is extremely smart, and brilliantly creative like her father, but she just doesn't fit into the standard mold.  She has to have creative solutions, and I'm glad to say that the Ocoee High School staff has been a blessing.

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I'm very hopeful that she will do much better next year.  She's feeling much better about herself, and I'm sure she will do fine and graduate eventually.  The EOC allows her to continue High School for two additional years if she needs it to finish.

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I think there are two secrets to getting your child through High School and to graduation.  One, the parents have to get involved.  That means not trusting what your child tells you is going on, and getting down to the school yourself to get it straight from the horses mouth. 

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Secondly, not all children are exactly the same and different kids need different routes to a higher education.  As you can see, our area offers excellent schools and many options for all children.  Just don't force a square peg into a round hole. 

Conclusions

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If your child is unique like Michelle or David, it will take some work, some communication with the school, and constant monitoring by the parents to make sure the kids are still on track.  The great thing about our school system is that they actively encourage the parents to get a involved in their child's educational career. 

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What is clear from our experience, is that the teachers are already doing their best for our children.  What is needed is parental involvement.  Sadly, that is lacking for most students.  Like life, you get out of our school system what you put into it.  Rusty and Rebecca both sailed through with flying colors so obviously the kids can get a great education here if they apply themselves.

For those who won't or can't for some reason, there are many other options available to you here.

Picture(Click to view review of Apopka Schools)
Follow these links to find out more about all of Apopka's schools.

http://www.greatschools.org/florida/apopka/schools/



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http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Apopka-Florida/schools/

(Click here to view Apopka Schools review)