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Educational Expansion

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  • | 4:00 a.m. July 15, 2009
  • East County
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EAST COUNTY — This fall, East County parents will have several new educational opportunities both for pre-kindergarten children and students in middle school.

Imagine School at Lakewood Ranch is expanding by three grade levels, while Bradenton Christian School is offering a local voluntary pre-kindergarten program and a shuttle service to its west campus.

Imagine School at Lakewood Ranch
Although Imagine School at Lakewood Ranch opened its new permanent facility in January, plans for the new East County charter school still are growing.

When school starts in August, Imagine will have added a second building, more than doubling its student enrollment and building size.

The new facility will bring the school’s total square footage to 35,000 with 36 classrooms and will allow Imagine to add three grade levels — voluntary pre-kindergarten and sixth and seventh grades.

Imagine is known for its Project Child teaching method, in which children have multiple teachers, each teaching in his or her specialized subject area. Children stay with the same teachers for up to three years at a time.

“We are using a continuation of what we are doing educationally with Project Child (for all three new grade levels),” Principal Steve Sajewski said.

During the upcoming school year, enrollment, currently at 152 students in grades one through five, is projected to increase to more than 400. However, Sajewski hopes to reach 500 by the time classes start in August.

To accommodate the growth and the addition of middle school students, Imagine also will be expanding its elective courses to include physical education, music, an after-school chess program, a dance team for primary students and even intramural sports.

Sajewski said the school already has set up games for league play with some private schools and is working on setting up intramural games with public middle schools.

“We’re really trying to offer quite a bit that, in this market, is necessary and it’s beneficial for the students,” Sajewski said.

Imagine will be holding an informational open house from 5-6:30 p.m., July 23, at the school, 10535 Portal Crossings, Lakewood Ranch. The school’s annual family barbecue, open to prospective students, will be from 4-7 p.m., July 30.

For more information, call Imagine at 750-0900.

Bradenton Christian School
Looking to meet a need in the community and boost enrollment at its Bradenton campus, Bradenton Christian School will be opening a voluntary pre-kindergarten program at Christ Presbyterian Church on Upper Manatee River Road in August.

“We already have a pretty good pull from East County at the campus out west, but we felt there was more possibility for us by establishing a presence for us in East Manatee County, especially with the younger kids,” said Jannon Pierce, director of admissions and public relations.

Bradenton Christian’s free voluntary pre-kindergarten program is open to all 4-year-olds and will last three hours a day, five days a week.

“It’s the very same program we offer at the west campus,” Pierce said.

She said the program is a great way to prepare children for full days in the classroom by teaching them basic reading and other skills and helping them to develop socially and physically.

Additionally, the school will launch a shuttle between its Christ Presbyterian campus and its west Bradenton campus on Aug. 19 when classes start. East County parents will be able to drop their children off at the church at 7:30 a.m. to be taken directly to the west campus and returned later that day.

“For some families, especially when both parents work, it’s very difficult for them to incorporate travel time and transportation,” Pierce said. “This actually allows parents to drop them off at 7:30 a.m., and not have to worry about catching a bus earlier than that, even.”

School officials hope the carpooling system will help attract new students to Bradenton Christian.

For more information about the free voluntary program or Bradenton Christian, contact Pierce at 792-5454, Ext. 117.

Sea of Strengths Academy
Also opening this August will be the Sea of Strengths Academy, a special school dedicated to students with reading disabilities.

Tuition for the private school is $12,500 annually but can be reduced through a scholarship for children with special needs. The school is located at 7037 Professional Parkway in Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park.

For more information, contact 538-6822 or visit

Contact Pam McTeer at [email protected].


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