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Pinecrest Academy, Inc. announces new school in Central Florida

Pinecrest Academy, Inc. is pleased to announce its expansion in Lake County Central Florida.  Pinecrest Four Corners, a charter school serving grades Kindergarten through 8, will be located at 1100 S US Highway 27, Clermont, FL 34714 in a brand new, state-of-the-art facility. 

Pinecrest Four Corners will be staffed with highly-qualified, state certified teachers. Cutting-edge learning tools will be used in all classrooms.  The elementary school will provide before and after care and will have strong parent-teacher partnerships.  The middle school will offer a college preparatory curriculum in technology-rich classrooms.  In order to ensure we are creating well-rounded students, the school will also have an array of clubs and sports for students to participate in.

We are currently accepting interest forms online from students who will be entering K-8th grade for the 2019-2020 school year.  Interested families should visit to apply. For more information, you can email

Pinecrest Academy, Inc. is a high performing charter school network that operates 13 schools in Florida and 4 schools in Nevada. With nearly two decades of successful implementation of high quality academic programs, the organization thrives to raise student achievement. Pinecrest schools have consistently proven their ability to teach ALL students as is evidenced by data showing that Pinecrest schools are narrowing the achievement gap for disadvantaged student populations.

For more information visit .

Pinecrest Academy Four Corners will be supported by Academica. Academica is one of the nation’s longest-serving and most successful charter school service and support organizations working with over 180 successful charter schools across the US.


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  • Posted by: Luis Beyra
  • Posted On: Mar 20, 2019
  • Category: News, School News

Cornerstone Charter Academy took home 2 Honorable Mentions and 2 Awards of Merit at the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival!!

“We are pleased to announce that CCA took home 2 Honorable Mentions and 2 Awards of Merit at the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival!!  Cornerstone Charter Upper Academy was competing against thousands of student art pieces from more than 50 different K-12 schools across Central Florida! We are incredibly proud of these talented students and of all those who participated. Thank you to everyone who made it out to the event!

Honorable Mentions:

Norah Crotty, acrylic paint, 7th grade
Lyla Schuppner, oil paint and collage, 12th grade

Awards of Merit:

Izabellah Chan, linocut printmaking, 11th grade
Jonell Hernandez, photomontage, 12th grade

Come see these award winning art pieces and hundreds more on display next week at the CCA Art Show on March 28! It’s going to be a fun event you won’t want to miss!”

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Cornerstone Charter Academy Receives National Recognition - Named a distinguished school for STEM and career learning program

Cornerstone Charter Academy Receives National Recognition – Named a distinguished school for STEM and career learning program


For Immediate Release                                                           
February 28, 2019   

Media Contact:
Dr. Renee Pancoast
Principal    407-608-7171
Cornerstone Charter Academy Receives National Recognition                                            for Commitment to Empowering Students

Named a distinguished school for STEM and career learning program

Belle Isle, FL –Cornerstone Charter Academy announced today that it has been recognized as a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished School for providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through PLTW GatewayTM. It is one of just 148 middle schools across the U.S. to receive this honor. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that serves millions of PreK-12 students and teachers in schools across the U.S.

The PLTW Distinguished School recognition honors schools committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. To be eligible for the designation, CCA had to meet the following criteria during the 2017-18 school year:

  • Offer at least one PLTW Gateway unit at each grade level;
  • Have at least 50 percent of the student body participating;
  • Have 25 percent of students advancing to high school participate in two or more units during their middle school tenure.

Through PLTW programs, students develop STEM knowledge as well as in-demand, transportable skills that they will use both in school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they take. PLTW Gateway empowers students to lead their own discovery and uncover a range of paths and possibilities they can look forward to in high school and beyond.

“It is a great honor to recognize Cornerstone Charter Academy for their commitment to students,” said Vince Bertram, President and CEO of PLTW. “They are a model for what school should look like, and they should be very proud of ensuring students have the knowledge and skills to be career ready and successful on any career path they choose.”

CCA is part of a community of PreK-12 schools, colleges and universities, and corporate and philanthropic partners across the country united around a passion for providing students with inspiring, engaging, and empowering learning opportunities. For more information about PLTW’s recognition program, visit

For more information on Cornerstone Charter Academy’s PLTW Gateway program or to set up a school visit, contact Ms. LuCinda Coder at:

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. Approximately 11,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit


Cornerstone Charter Academy Receives National Recognition  - Named a distinguished school for STEM and career learning program

Cornerstone Charter Academy Receives National Recognition – Named a distinguished school for STEM and career learning program


Cornerstone Charter Academy Receives National Recognition  - Named a distinguished school for STEM and career learning program

Cornerstone Charter Academy Receives National Recognition – Named a distinguished school for STEM and career learning program



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  • Posted by: Luis Beyra
  • Posted On: Jan 30, 2019
  • Category: News, School News

Students build a stronger community, make friends through bi-weekly club activities

What Would You Do with Thirty Minutes?

Boynton Beach, FL – December 2018 –  What if you had thirty minutes on a Friday afternoon scheduled into your work day to spend time doing something that you love? Ben Gamla Palm Beach Charter School in Palm Beach has done exactly that — incorporating a bi-weekly club titled “Hugim,” Hebrew for clubs, into the school schedule.

The purpose of these bi-weekly clubs is to build a stronger community among their already tight-knit school of 245 students, while creating bonds with new friends of different ages and grade levels, all coming together with the same personal interests at heart. Students created a list of their top three choices for club assignments, and with a variety of physical, mental, and educational choices, some students found it hard to choose only three! Some options from the list of over twenty clubs included yoga, chess, creating comic books, painting, and field hockey. According to Principal, Elanit Weizman, “This is an excellent opportunity for students to express their personal interests, show off their talents, or master a new skill, while building personal relationships with children in other grades, teachers or school staff they may not know with the same passions or interests as them.”

Ben Gamla, a Palm Beach County Public Charter School, is located in Boynton Beach and has been a vital part of the education community for the past eight years. Ben Gamla is a community of learners that honors individual student’s needs, varied modalities of instruction, and nurtures character traits that help develop good citizenship. We serve families who come from all over Palm Beach County to have their children educated in an environment rich in S.T.E.A.M. activities. Ben Gamla Charter School provides a safe environment for innovative instructional practices that continuously lights the path toward maximum student achievement and personal growth. As the first English- Hebrew language Charter School in the United States, and the only one in Palm Beach County, Ben Gamla Charter integrates Hebrew instruction giving our students a useful tool in our global society.

MEDIA is invited to take part in the bi-weekly Hugim. The following dates are when they are currently scheduled to take place: December 7, December 15, January 18, February 1, February 15, March 1, March 15, April 5, April 26, May 10 and May 17.

For more information, please contact: Brianna Schraft,

Original Article at:


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Mater Lakes makes school history at John Lyzott

Mater Lakes makes school history at John Lyzott

Mater Lakes made school history on Saturday, winning the first-ever IBT title in school history, topping the John Lyzott Memorial IBT at McArthur.

The Bears, ranked sixth in the Orlando Sentinel’s latest Class 1A team rankings, finished with five individual champions, outscoring Coral Park and South Broward by 52 points.

Week 2 tournament results from across Florida »

“We are pumped,” Mater Lakes coach Brandon Neifeld said via email. “We started this program six years ago from scratch and the team is looking very good and coming into form.”

“We have six seniors in the lineup, all capable of reaching the podium at states.”

Winning titles on Saturday were Danny Martinez (106), Nick Luna (120), Omar Amengol (132), David Alvarez (220), and Ethan Vargas (285). Nestor Nunez (16) also reached the finals as the Bears won with a team effort with 10 wrestlers making the podium.

“It feels great to see the kids achieving success not only individually but as a team because we really developed a family type of bond together at Mater Lakes,” Neifeld said. ‘”We have very limited facilities at our school but it doesn’t stop us from training and competing with the best teams.”

limited facilities at our school but it doesn’t stop us from training and competing with the best teams.”

Check out the latest Class 3A individual rankings »

Coral Park and South Broward finished in a tie for second place. Steven Villalobos (152) won an individual title for Coral Park with Justin Maynard (160) taking home top honors for South Broward.

Michael Sarron (126) and Alex Chitty (138) both won titles for fourth-place Coral Springs Charter

Results — Rankings based on Orlando Sentinel rankings

Team scores: 1. Mater Lakes 230; 2. South Broward, Coral Park 178; 4. Coral Springs Charter 167.5; 5. Cypress Bay 156; 6. Goleman 143; 7. Taravella 118; 8. Ft. Lauderdale, Nova 92; 10. Deerfield Beach 64.5; 11. McArthur 53.5; 12. Everglades, Miramar 47; 14. Monarch 46.5; 15. Douglas, Western 45; 17. Calvary Christian 25.

Finals: 106: #4-1A Danny Martinez (Mater Lakes) p. Alex Couto (Coral Park) 3:57

113: #19-3A Justin Huertas (Taravella) p. #18-3A Nico Cava (Monarch) 5:23

120: #2-1A Nick Luna (Mater Lakes) maj. dec. #7-2A Anthony Montanez (South Broward) 15-5

126: #8-1A Michael Sarron (Coral Springs Charter) p. Frank Indiero (Goleman) 1:09

132: #5-1A Omar Armengol (Mater Lakes) maj. dec. #20-3A Eddie Punzalan (Cypress Bay) 18-4

138: #10-1A Alex Chitty (Coral Springs Charter) maj. dec. Marlo Garcia (South Broward) 9-0

145: #8-3A Steven Erched (Douglas) dec. #7-1A Terrell Taylor (Coral Springs Charter) 12-9

152: #3-3A Steven Villalobos (Coral Park) p. #12-2A Raul Chavarry (Goleman) 3:08

160: #3-2A Justin Maynard (South Broward) dec. #3-1A Nestor Nunez (Mater Lakes) 6-3

170: Emerson Derose (Miramar) dec. #10-1A Tyler Vargas (Coral Springs Charter) 10-8

182: #15-3A Christian Deluna (Cypress Bay) dec. Coby Newton (Taravella) 6-3

195: #12-3A Caio De Almeida (Cypress Bay) p. Jesus Rodriguez (McArthur) 5:22

220: #10-1A David Alvarez (Mater Lakes) dec. #12-3A Julian D’orazio (Fort Lauderdale) 7-0

285: #13-1A Ethan Vargas (Mater Lakes) dec. Kareem Crawford (South Broward) 5-4

Check out the latest Class 1A individual rankings »

Mater Lakes makes school history at John Lyzott

Mater Lakes makes school history at John Lyzott

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  • Posted by: Luis Beyra
  • Posted On: Dec 10, 2018
  • Category: News, School News

SPORTS, LEADERSHIP, ARTS & MANAGEMENT OSCEOLA is the newest member of the Slam Family

SPORTS, LEADERSHIP, ARTS & MANAGEMENT OSCEOLA – A TUITION-FREE PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL SERVING STUDENTS IN GRADES 6th-8th is the newest member of the Sports, Leadership, Arts & Management family of high performing charter schools. The brand-new facility is located at 611 Heritage Park Way, Kissimmee, FL 34744.  With plans to add high school grades in years to come, the vision of Sports, Leadership, Arts & Management Osceola is to produce college bound and career-oriented graduates. With career academies designed to provide unique educational experiences, with internship opportunities for high school students in areas such as Sports Management, Medicine, Multimedia and Graphic Design, Broadcasting Communications, and more.

“My goal is to develop a high-energy, college-preparatory academy that transforms classrooms into vibrant learning environments that build expert problem solvers,” Principal Monique Machado said. “Couple this energy with learning academies designed to provide job shadow opportunities and professional internships and the results are confident, driven high school graduates that are prepared for the challenges of both college and career.”

“Our goal is to engage students and promote high achievement for all students,” Ms. Machado added.

2019-2020 applications are currently being accepted for students entering 6th grade through 9th grade at  or by calling 407-569-7637.

Sports, Leadership, Arts & Management Academy provides students with unique access to career mentors, athletes as role models, and executive internships through educational partnerships with local and national sports franchises. By fostering these and other long-term relationships, students at Sports, Leadership, Arts & Management Academy benefit from real world learning experiences within all facets of the sports industry.

Additionally, the school will benefit from partnerships with local and national sports organizations such as the Florida Fire Frogs, Osceola Heritage Park, Orlando Sea Wolves, NBA, MLB and NASCAR through its affiliation with the National SLAM! Foundation, which also provides support.

For more information about the SLAM! network please visit

The quality of the educational programs and system effectiveness over the past decade demonstrate SLAM! Foundation’s commitment to ongoing improvement efforts and academic progress.   

Charter Schools are…

  • Tuition-free public schools
  • Accountable for academic results
  • Required to employ highly qualified state-certified teachers
  • Required to participate in state standardized exam (FSA)
  • Required to meet Annual Yearly Progress, under the No Child Left Behind Act

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  • Posted by: Luis Beyra
  • Posted On: Oct 29, 2018
  • Category: News, School News
Image for Article

New $12M charter school to open in vacant Four Corners supermarket on U.S. 27

Article by Laura Kinsler

A Jacksonville-based charter school developer has secured county approvals to open a K-8 charter school in a former Winn Dixie supermarket on U.S. 27 in south Lake County.

Taylor Smith, president of Project Finance & Development Inc., said the new Pinecrest Academy in Four Corners would serve up to 1,050 students from all four counties. The school site is about a half mile north of Cagan Crossings and one mile north of the U.S. 192 intersection.

from the county. Lake County Schools awarded a charter beginning in Fall 2019.

The new Pinecrest Academy in Four Corners would renovate and repurpose the 49,000-square-foot supermarket, outlined in red, while another 15,316 would be reserved for future expansion.

Severns and Smith said that the project involves the complete conversion of the closed 49,000-square-foot Winn Dixie store into a new state-of-the-art charter school, as well as the redevelopment of a portion of the parking lot to provide parent drop-off and pick-up areas, recreational fields and playground areas. The school would feature the latest educational technology for students as well as high-tech security and safety features, they said.

The Four Corners school represents the second Pinecrest Academy charter school in Lake County, with the other A-rated Pinecrest K-8 School
in Minneola.

Florida Engineering Group provided civil work. The school is being designed by Miami-based Civica Architecture Group and will be built in two phases, with the second phase involving a 15,000-square-foot expansion of the existing facility.

Pinecrest officials are also working with Lake County School officials to avoid duplication of services between the charter school and a planned K-8 public school to serve the growing Four Corners area. The school district has a 35- acre site nearby and is designing a traditional campus to open as early as August 2021.

The development team has been active in charter school development in Central Florida. Smith’s PF&D Inc. provided the financial backing for a new

Mater Academy in St. Cloud, and Severns represented BridgePrep Academy on the land acquisition and permitting for its new Poinciana charter school.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Full article at

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  • Posted by: Luis Beyra
  • Posted On: Apr 26, 2018
  • Category: News, School News
Photo Apr 20, 9 37 53 AM

The Zimriyah at Ben Gamla Charter School

Israeli culture & entertainment was on full display on Friday, April 20, 2018 at the Ben Gamla Charter School located on 8600 Jog Road in Boynton Beach.  The K-5th tuition free charter school, which provides a Hebrew language program, celebrated Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) Zimriyah.

What is a Zimriyah…?

The Zimriyah is an Israeli Song & Dance Performance that the Ben Gamla students put on each year celebrating Israel’s Independence Day.  The event took place at the Temple Torat Emet Social Hall from 8:30am – 10am.



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Mater Lakes Academy’s Principal is Named Top Principal by Florida TaxWatch

Miami, FL, Monday, April 23, 2018 – Principal, Rene F. Rovirosa of Mater Lakes Academy was named one of the top nine principals in the State of Florida, by Florida TaxWatch, and one of the top three in the high school division in August.  On Thursday, April 19th, Florida Tax Watch held their Principal Leadership Award dinner, and amongst the three nominees in the high school category he was awarded the top principal.

Florida TaxWatch is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute.  According to their website, “Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses.”

Florida TaxWatch established their Principal Leadership Awards Program in 2014.  The criteria used to name the top 3 principals per grade division (elementary, middle, and high school) is not done through a nomination basis, but it is data driven.  Florida TaxWatch basis their criteria on data received from the Florida Department of Education, using assessment scores, their learning gains, and the percentage of students that are ELL, SPED, and economically disadvantaged and their progress.  Mater Lakes Academy has 4% learning gain in English and Language Arts and a 14% learning gain in Mathematics.  Mater Lakes Academy exceeded both the state and district percentage of proficiency at 71%.

“I am honored, there are no other words to describe it, but just that I am honored,” said Principal Rene F. Rovirosa.  “I truly feel that they key to a better community is quality education, and that is what we are providing because this award is not just mine but all of Mater Lakes.”  Earlier in the school year, Mr. Rovirosa was also awarded the 2017 Charter School Champion Leader Award by the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools.

Mater Lakes Academy is a Miami-Dade County Public Charter School, with students enrolled in 6th – 12th grade.  Mater Lakes Academy has been open since the 2006-2007 academic school year, and is currently in its 12th year under the direction of Principal Rene F. Rovirosa, and is an A school for both the middle school and the high school.  For more information, visit the school’s website at


Mrs. Alice Martinez
Mater Lakes Academy
Phone:  (305) 698-8000
Fax:  (305) 698-1800



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  • Posted by: Luis Beyra
  • Posted On: Apr 11, 2018
  • Category: News, School News
Key West Academy

Key West Collegiate Academy In The News!

Local charter school launches new security program

See something, say something.” It’s the latest catchphrase to come from school shooting tragedies such as the one that killed 17 people on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida. A new program being launched Tuesday at Key West Collegiate Academy charter high school will enable students to actually do something.

Students will be briefed on the implementation of School Text Tips, a simple and anonymous text message hotline that allows students to immediately report weapons, bullying, drugs, harassment, cyber bullying, suspicious behavior and troubled students to school faculty.

“For years, the schools have been able to send out mass communications to students and parents, but I wanted to be able to reverse that direction and enable students to easily feed information to the school faculty and administration because they’re the ones who really know what’s happening. They’re our eyes, ears and boots on the ground,” said Shawn Verne, a Sugarloaf entrepreneur and father who started designing School Text Tips six years ago after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. “So many other programs require users to register a username, create an account, fill out a series of drop down menus and then receive a verification email. That’s just too cumbersome. With School Text Tips, all they do is program a contact number into their phone and send a text to that contact whenever they have something to report.”

Students need not label the contact entry as “School Text Tips,” he said. “They can label it ‘Aunt Sally’ or anything else, as long as it’s something they’ll remember.” Verne tested the program at a school on Marco Island more than a year ago, and within a few months had heard from school officials that School Text Tips had prevented a suicide and identified a student who was cutting herself. “This saves lives immediately,” Verne said. “And in a time when all parents are asking what schools are doing to keep their kids safe, here’s a step forward with no footdragging or red tape.” Verne offered School Text Tips to Superintendent Mark Porter for Monroe County’s schools once before the Parkland shooting and again since, but the district has not taken any action on the offer, Verne said. “So I approached the principal of the Collegiate Academy, and his only question was, ‘How soon can we implement it?’ I offered it for free to the school district, but the superintendent said he had to give the new school safety director time to get his feet wet, and I haven’t heard back from anyone, which is frustrating because this saves lives and I have kids at Key West High School and Sugarloaf School.” When asked about School Text Tips on Friday, Porter told The Citizen, “We are evaluating all available products and do plan to make a selection in the near future. We are aware of Shawn’s product and do certainly appreciate the fact that he is a member of our community.”

In the meantime, Key West Collegiate Academy will host an assembly Tuesday afternoon, where students will receive a complete briefing, their school’s individual phone number and program it into their phones. “The students appreciate the ability to actually do something to keep themselves safe,” Verne said, adding that the text tip system actively analyzes tips 24 hours a day, seven days a week using artificial intelligence algorithms to look for emergency “key words” such as bomb, kill, shoot, blow up, suicide, etc. Each tip is read and analyzed in realtime for nature and content and is appropriately dispatched to predesignated school officials. The system also tracks tipsters who send in misleading or inappropriate tips from which a report can be filed indicating number of incidences and other pertinent data.

The school then reserves the right to decide whether the tipster should be contacted and confronted accordingly, thus reducing the chance of hoaxes. In an age of abundant caution, but amid funding shortages, school districts lament the lack of mental health counselors and school resource officials, so extra help to identify troubled students is being welcomed. “Let’s face it, the kids always know what’s going on more so than any teacher or counselor,” Verne said. “This lets us take advantage of everything they see and creates a watchdog community where bullies and troublemakers are deterred from doing harm since anyone who’s looking down at their phone could be texting a tip.” The Monroe County School Board meets Tuesday in Marathon, where a closed session is scheduled to discuss school safety.

Key West Citizen
Original Article :

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