By Chelsea Albers and Signe Thomas, JMI Interns and Florida State University Students
National School Choice Week is a great opportunity to celebrate the diverse opportunities available to students in the Sunshine State including charter schools, virtual schools, private school, AP classes, dual-enrollment programs, International Baccalaureate (IB), early admission and collegiate high schools. These are not just hypothetical options for us–we have personally benefited from Florida’s excellent school-choice options, and these are our stories.Chelsea:
I attended the College Academy (CA) at Broward College and raved about this prestigious program in an earlier blog. As a high-school sophomore I was ready to make the two-year leap into college, and CA provided me with the opportunity to do so. As a high school junior, I became a full-time student at CA, and upon high school graduation, I earned my AA degree along with 99.4% of my graduating class. This is a public school program; therefore, I saved two years worth of high-school tuition (I attended a private school prior to CA) and two years of college tuition–an amount equaling about $18,000. Because of this two year advantage, I have taken the opportunity to add a double major in languages and still graduate earlier than other students my age.Signè:
I attended public elementary school in Michigan, then home schooled for a year while my family traveled, and then returned to public school in Florida for high school.  My high school was not the closest one near me, but rather nearly half an hour away from my home.  I was able to take honors classes and AP courses there as a full-time student, my sophomore year I added on Florida Virtual School courses, and my junior and senior years I attended Edison State College in the evenings to earn college credit that counted toward my high school GPA as well as college credits.  So I was able to graduate high school with a 5.66 weighted GPA and arrive at Florida State with over 30 credits. If I had stayed in public school in Michigan, I wouldn’t have had near the opportunities/choices that I had attending high school in Florida.Because of our experiences, we firmly believe that by introducing competition into the field of education, the most successful programs will thrive, and Florida’s students will be brighter.