Challenging, customized education for Florida students

Guest post by Michael Kooi, executive director of Florida’s Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice

One of the priorities of the Department is to provide a challenging, yet customized education for Florida’s students and families. To deliver this type of education system for our individual students, the Department is able to showcase a variety of school choice options offered statewide.

Florida’s public schools offer a wide variety of curriculum options. Some of these aim to strengthen the availability, accessibility, and equity of educational options for parents including Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment and Advanced International Certification of Education, just to name a few.

While many gifted students may enroll in these options, I want to stress that any qualified student can take advantage of these options. These school choice options have demanding, personalized curriculum. I have heard many stories about students who struggled in traditional classes but excelled when they entered a more challenging program that focused on their needs and strengths.

These programs not only offer challenging school work, but also provide excellent support structures and tutoring. Many are actually a part of our traditional schools, so students don’t even need to change their school of choice to take full advantage of these opportunities.

Florida has numerous education options for students and later this month, families will have a chance to see many of them during a one-on-one setting, at the Florida School Choice Expo  “Carousel of Choice” on Nov. 16. If you can’t make the event, you can also find information at

How did you decide what kind of school to send your child to? Do you think any of the options listed above might be a good complement to your child’s current education?


2 thoughts on “Challenging, customized education for Florida students

  1. After moving to be close to what I thought was the best elementary school (public) for my daugther, I was thoroughly disappointed when my child was put in a class with 36 other children. And to my surprise no one was concerned that there were 36 new to the school never left your mom for more than an hour children in a classroom. So I then knew that the public school system had failed my child and re-enrolled her back into private school.

    • Thank you for the comment. At the beginning of every school year, schools face the challenge of having the correct number of teachers for the students who enroll in each school. Estimating staff needs for the population that shows up can be quite tricky because of the way students enroll. Parents may move zones over the summer, or some people may move from states where school doesn’t start until after Labor Day. There are many other issues that create situations where historical staffing data doesn’t support current year reality. However, within two to three weeks after school starts, most districts have transferred teachers from low enrollment sites, added teachers to classes creating co-teacher situations, and have hired additional teachers for those core class subjects. It is very probable that most classes within districts are either at the constitutional requirements or within one to two students of those requirements.

      Compliance with the requirements will be measured and reported to the DOE by the end of November or early December. You should check back with your district to review those compliance measures when they are reported by the Department of Education.

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