CORAL SPRINGS, FL – For many parents, it’s one of the most coveted educational opportunities in the city: getting accepted into Coral Springs Charter School.
Lindsey Wahlbrink knows this well.
The Coral Springs educator and mother of two wants her daughters to attend the A-rated school known for its high student achievement, low-class sizes, a supportive administration, Cambridge curriculum, and travel abroad opportunities.
And yet, Wahlbrink realizes the chances of her oldest, fifth-grade daughter, Courtney, going there isn’t so high.
Coral Springs Charter School has a waiting list of 2,500 students for its middle and high school, Principal Gary Springer said.
Right now, though, the school has an open enrollment period through Feb. 14, offering parents a chance to apply through a lottery.
No matter the odds, Wahlbrink said, “I have decided to seriously consider the school as an educational option for my kids.”
Like Wahlbrink, most parents apply for the incoming sixth-grade class, which accepts 250 to 260 students. In general, once students are accepted, most stay in the school through their 12th-grade graduation.
“We’re humbled by parents wanting to be here,” Springer said. “We’re able to personalize our education here and make it all about families. That’s our sweet spot – we have relationships that go beyond academics, and we know the interest of our kids, and we put them on the correct pathways to success.”
The school is charted by the City of Coral Springs and managed by Charter Schools USA. As a result, preferences to the school are given to children of school employees and city employees, as well as active military personnel and city residents.
Part of the school’s success is the relatively small student body, which totals 1,700 students, Springer said. There are 800 students in the middle school compared to roughly 2,400 in other public middle schools. And the high school has 900 students compared to 3,000 at other nearby high schools.
This allows teachers and administrators, Springer said, to better manage the goals of each student, preparing him or her for a track that is best suited after graduation: two-year college, four-year college, the military, or a career.
“We only have 210 graduates each year – so it’s not that difficult to manage,” Springer said. “We can stay on top of them. You’re not a number here. It’s hard to get lost.”
That’s appealing to parents like Wahlbrink.
Her daughters are now at Park Springs Elementary in Coral Springs. They are zoned for Coral Springs Middle School.
“I have done some research on Coral Springs Middle School and am very impressed with the program and offerings as well,” she said.
Still, she applied to Coral Springs Charter School “to keep our options open.”
Wherever her daughters end up for middle school, she’ll be happy.
“We are very fortunate to be able to attend either Coral Springs Charter School or Coral Springs Middle School,” she said.