What is a charter school?
A charter school is a public school that operates according to the terms of a charter, or contract, that has been approved by the School Board of Alachua County. The charter school is bound by its charter contract to be held accountable for meeting its academic or vocational performance-based objectives specified in the charter.
What is the difference between a charter school and a traditional public school?
A traditional public school is organized according to federal laws, State Board of Education rules, and local board of education policies. A charter school is organized according to federal laws and the terms of the charter contract. A charter school also has a private school concept in that it is run and operated by a private non-profit entity and has liberty to offer any curriculum as long as it meets Florida Sunshine State Standards.
How is a charter school funded?
A Charter school is funded like a public school. A charter school is included in the allotment of funds to the local school system in which the charter school is located. The charter school is to be treated no less favorably than any other public schools in the district with respect to funding for instructional and administrative programs.
Who will operate the school?
Our school's founding and advisory boards include University of Florida professors and educators, four from the College of Education. We are continually inviting more professionals to join our advisory board to achieve one of our missions to connect educational research with practice; an important aspect of education that is widely missing in our schools today.
Who can attend Sweetwater Branch Academy?
Charter schools are public schools of choice. Any student who lives in Alachua County and submits a timely application may attend Sweetwater Branch Academy. It may not have admission criteria.
What about transportation?
Transportation will be provided by the School Board of Alachua County similar to a traditional public school. School bus transportation will be provided free to all students who live in the Howard Bishop Middle zone (see map).
What is special about your curriculum?
We will offer CMP, CPM and FAST curriculums which were identified as exemplary curricula by the U.S. Department of Education and have not been offered by any other school within Alachua County (see website for details).
Will art and music classes be offered?
Yes, Sweetwater Branch Academy will have an art room and a music room in addition to computer labs and science labs. We will offer art and music classes as well as art and music related student activities and clubs such as art club, music club, graphic design and animation club just to name a few
Are you going to provide any extracurricular activities?
Yes. For a middle school learning should always be accompanied with exploration. Therefore, Sweetwater Branch Academy will strive to provide as many opportunities as possible for the students to gain extra experiences. Field trips, sports activities, arts, and chorus groups are a few of the many possibilities we will provide. Check out the Clubs and Activities section of our website for more information.
Your exemplary math, science and reading curricula sound amazing. How much do you charge for tuition? Is this a school for the gifted?
This is a tuition free public charter school and is not a school only for gifted and talented students. We accept all levels of students. Research studies indicate our exemplary programs in math, science and reading can serve all levels of students and enable them to excel academically. We will have extra-curricular activities, academic teams and after school programs for all of our students including high achievers and the ones who need more help and support to excel. All of these programs will be provided free of charge to our students.
How about family involvement?
Sweetwater Branch Academy recognizes that educational success can only be realized when harmonious student-teacher-parent relationships are established. We promote and encourage this teamwork with PVO (Parent Volunteer Organization) to enable students to reach their highest potential intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically. We encourage home visits to bridge the ever growing gap between schools and homes.