Choice application deadline approaches AME, Manatee schools

Pandemic protocols have prompted the Manatee County School District to adjust the school choice enrollment process.

The school choice fair usually held in December at the Bradenton Area Convention Center was canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Past fairs gave families opportunities to speak with school staff and allowed opportunities to schedule school tours for interested parents.

Still, school choice enrollment continues.

Families considering sending students to a district school out of their neighborhood for the 2021-22 academic year have through Friday, Jan. 15, to apply for enrollment.

Anna Maria Elementary has attracted some prospective families, according to principal Jackie Featherston.

Parents interested in the island school can make appointments with the school office for a phone conference or in-person meeting with staff by Jan. 15 to be considered, Featherston wrote Dec. 17, 2020, in an email to The Islander.

So what makes AME so special?

Featherston said the smaller school allows for lower student-teacher ratios and the island environment allows for estuary studies and sea turtle education. Also, a dolphin listening station on the school bayfront is in the works through a partnership with MOTE Marine Laboratory.

She also said staff could boast about the school’s gardens, visits to nearby art galleries and bird identification lessons.

Eight or nine students annually apply through school choice to attend AME.

And once a student is granted school choice admission, they do not have to reapply for subsequent years, Featherston said.

The decision regarding acceptance is up to the district’s office of student assignment.

Featherston said of the 202 students attending AME, 36 are school choice.

Anna Maria Elementary is at 4700 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

For more info, call AME at 941-708-5525.

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