ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – If you’re interested in enrolling your child in an Orange County Public Schools magnet school, the application process is now open.
Families can visit the district website to apply between now and Feb. 15, 2022. That means students can apply for admission to schools that are not considered their home schools. Magnet programs are offered at all grade levels and range from the arts to the sciences.
Orange Center Elementary School is a STEM magnet that prides itself on an innovative approach to teaching. The principal, Dr. Fredrick Brooks, said if you think your child would benefit from a non-traditional curriculum, then Orange Center might be a good fit.
“The teacher becomes more the facilitator of the learning, versus being the model of what this learning process should look like,” Brooks said. “There’s a quicker release for students to explore, students to research, for students to engage in inquiry and problem-solving and innovation, and that becomes the product.”
Students as young as kindergarten learn to code. Whitney Yount is a STEM lab teacher.
“So the younger they start the more able they are to do it and do it very well and piece it together,” Yount said. “Seeing the kids being able to work hands-on and learn by doing is something that’s invaluable and I really cherish being able to be here.”
Classes offer a different focus for each quarter, but the common theme is that it is all project-based learning. Students are taught that there is more than one way to reach an answer, and not to fear failure.
“It’s problem-solving. And, as some of our students mentioned earlier, there is no wrong way of doing things. It’s exploration — and if the pandemic taught us anything, it should be that we need creative people, we need innovation in this world. And when we are faced with problems we need people who can think outside of the box and come up with solutions,” Brooks said.
Brooks said a great asset the school offers is its location, surrounded by wrap-around services like the Boys and Girls Club and an early-learning center. Features like the school learning garden help children to begin thinking about future careers.
“Especially students from minority backgrounds. We know there’s a shortage in STEM careers, so exposing students to opportunities and these real-world experiences not only gives the students something to look forward to, but it makes the day-to-day curriculum for them relevant. I think it’s very important that our students experience and make the connection to what they’re learning today to those careers that are available in the world and see that they too can do this and the earlier we expose our students to those opportunities the better,” he said.
If you’d like more information on how to enroll your child at Orange Center Elementary School, contact Teanna Mussachio. You can reach her at 407.317.3484 ext. 2022961.