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Back To School: What's New In Sarasota Schools?

Some students might have a new principal while other schools will see construction this year.

This update corrects the timeline and estimates for the Sarasota High renovation.

A new school year means new faces, new classes and in some places, new classrooms. 

Today is the first day of school in Sarasota, and here's a round-up from Sarasota County Schools with what's new this year. 

Principals

Several principals have been transferred or promoted. Here's who's in charge of your child's school:

  • Christopher Renouf at Ashton Elementary; 
  • Eric Jackson at ;
  • Harriet Moore at ; 
  • Former assistant principal Edwina Oliver will be the new program director at the .
  • Assistant Director Trent Terry will be the administrator responsible for Suncoast Polytechnical High School.

New Classrooms/Buildings

• Booker High's multi-year reconstruciton continues this year. Last school year saw the

This year,  a new classroom building is scheduled to open in January and a new administration building and ball fields are on track for completion in summer 2013. The improved campus will include five new buildings in all and major renovations to five others and aims to consolidate the 38 buildings on campus.

• Sarasota County Technical Institute is in the . The buildings in this phase will house adult education classes and service labs for programs such as automotive engineering. This is the final phase of construction, which will give the 63-acre campus five new buildings from the project.

• s west campus renovation will begin this year with work on the historic Building 4, designed by architect Paul Rudolph and completed in 1960. The , and was included in the school board's tentative budget on July 24, which is expected to be finalized in September. The design the public chose costs $30.5 million, which is $2 million above a revised estimate compiled by architechts. That difference was made up in cost savings from other projects, according to Sarasota County Schools.

• Booker and Sarasota Middle schools will see renovations this year as well

 

Classroom Instruction

• More students will use digital textbooks for middle school math, science and social studies.

It's an expansion of a pilot program used last school year where students will be able to access a web-based interactive electronic book at school and at home. These digital textbooks include video clips, up-to-date information and even presidential election campaign activities.

• The Gulf Coast Community Foundation is funding middle and high school Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives. 

Each district middle school is opening the first phase of TechActive science and math Classrooms of Tomorrow (COT) that provide touch-screen computers, digital microscopes and cameras and other powerful technologies to help students learn through investigation and discovery.

The foundation is also funding graphing calculators for middle and high school classrooms and professional development opportunities for teachers, who can work together to develop lessons enhancing math and science learning.

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