Palm Beach Relocation Guide

SPR-SUM 2016

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40 P A L M B E A C H R E L O C A T I O N G U I D E – S P R I N G | S U M M E R 2 0 1 6 E D U C A T I O N I N P A L M B E A C H focus, athletic program or denominational preference a parent could want. The average private school tuition in Palm Beach County is $8,480 for elementary schools and $12,233 for high schools. Accep- tance rates average 87 percent. Minority enrollment averages 23 percent, and the average student:teacher ratio is 10:1. Half the private schools in the county have a religious affiliation. Among the most notable of these schools are Pine Crest School in Boca Raton, ranked second in the nation by the Washington Post in 2012, Saint Andrew's School, also in Boca Raton, which offers both day and boarding options, and The Weiss School in Palm Beach Gardens, which specializes in gifted education from Pre-K through 8 th grade. CHARTER SCHOOL OPTIONS Charter schools in Florida must be non-profit organizations and be sponsored by a school district, which oversees the schools along with the state. The Florida Department of Education provides an annual analysis and comparison of the overall performance of charter school students to traditional public school students. The comparison is based on the statewide assessment program and infor- mation reported by the charter school to the school district. The Palm Beach County School District currently sponsors 50 charter schools at locations across the entire county. While some schools offer a general curriculum similar to that of the public schools, many offer unique specialty or career education options not available elsewhere, such as the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy which specializes in Maritime, Science and Tech- nology programs; the Palm Beach School for Autism in Lantana serving children from preschool through 12 th grade who are on the autism spectrum; and the Toissaint L'Over- ture High School for Arts and Social Justice in Delray Beach, which offers an emphasis on ESOL education for newcomer students from the Caribbean and other countries. A directory of Palm Beach County's charter schools is available at www.palmbeach- schools.org/charter/CharterDirectory.asp. PREPARING FOR POSTSEC- ONDARY EDUCATION Florida administers a Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT) to 11 th grade high school students, virtual school students, and homeschooled students to assess their academic skills, college readiness and course placement. Achieve- ment of a qualifying score on the test, or successful completion of a remedia- tion course, is required for high school graduation. The SAT and ACT tests are generally accepted or required by Florida's state univer- sities and colleges. Several private colleges and community colleges in the state permit the substitution of alternative tests such as the COMPASS, WAIS or others. In 2014, the average SAT math, reading, and writing scores were 461, 461, and 446, respectively. The average ACT composite score for students in the District was 19.2. HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES Palm Beach County offers tremendous post- secondary education, from a wide array of private career and technical colleges to one of the fastest growing universities in the United States, Florida Atlantic University (FAU), located in Boca Raton. The university enrolls over 30,000 students in over 180 undergrad- uate and graduate degree programs, and is recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as an exceptional public research university. The faculty includes over 1,000 accomplished scholars and researchers, selected for their excellence in teaching and mentoring. FAU offers distinguished programs including the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship in the College of Business, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, and the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center. FAU's Lifelong Learning Society has more than 20,000 patrons enrolled, and is one of Florida's K-12 Standards and Testing Florida's controversial Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) system is being retired and a new testing program, the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA), is being introduced from the 2014-2015 through 2017-2018 school years. This test is conducted by all public schools and char ter schools, is in transition to an online format, and focuses on problem solving and critical thinking versus the FCAT system of multiple choice questions. High schoolers must pass the exam to graduate. During the transition period, some portions of the text may use the previous FCAT format as development of the FSA is completed. The FSA, like the FCAT before it, will also provide a method for the state Depart- ment of Education to evaluate the effectiveness of schools and teachers. Detailed information about the testing system is available to parents at the Florida Department of Education website, www.foe.org. Florida does not require private schools to administer the FSA, however, private schools that have enrolled at least one Florida Tax Credit Schol- arship student or one enrolled Personal Learning Scholarship Account student must administer one of 15 nationally norm - referenced tests identifed by the Department of Education, or may apply to the Florida Department of Education to administer

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