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Charter school's planned magnet sets off alarm bells with Orange County offic



Ohanian Comment; All the talk about "magnet" seems to obfuscate the real question that should be raised: At what age is it appropriate to steer kids to a career, particularly a career they are unlikely to understand? How many 14-year-olds are interested in sports marketing, event management, facility management? The program turns out to be just one elective a day.

You can read the PR statement from Central Florida Leadership Academy below this blog item. Somehow, the proposed classes in Ethics, Leadership, Team Sports, Social Media and Marketing don't seem to cover fundamental skills and savvy for such a career. But then,the University of Central Florida has a whole Undergraduate School of Sports Business. Graduates with this Minor go on to earn a Master's in Sport Business Management, which is a two year program. Then they can look for a job in Sport Management (The ones I looked at required "ability to provide extreme customer service") and read articles in the Journal of Sport Management.


by Lauren Roth

Central Florida Leadership Academy's announcement last week that they plan to open a sports business "magnet" program has alarmed Orange County school district officials.

The district contends that charter schools such as CFLA cannot open magnet programs, and said that any change in focus must be approved by the School Board.

However, officials at the three-year-old charter school said they thought their new classes already had district approval. "I think we have inadvertently not talked to some of the people we should have talked to," said charter board chairman Jody Litchford. She said the school won't use the word "magnet" in advertising, although it still appears on the school's web site.

The district sent the school a letter on Monday, asking for details about their program and mentioning that, as a school with a districtwide zone, the definition of a magnet does not apply to them. The letter said that the school should cease referring to "magnet programs."

Orange board member Joie Cadle expressed surprise at the school's announced plans to offer the sports magnet next year, in addition to an existing digital technology "magnet."

"I'm not sure when we approved that charter we told them that they could become a magnet program," she said at a board meeting last week.

Central Florida Leadership Academy plans to move ahead with what school officials said would be elective high school classes focused on sports. Litchford said that nothing in the plans changes the school's official focus on college prep.

What the program is called, Litchford said, "I think it's a semantic issue." The program, which she also calls "a focus area," includes a set of topical elective courses during one period per day. In the digital technology area, the school offered a course on making apps this year.

Mark Dillon, president of the FC Orlando soccer club, runs a soccer program for elite athletes afterschool at the Orlando charter school. He said the school draws talented local soccer players and that sports-related courses will make it even more attractive at the high school level. The school has about 150 students, and plans to have about 175 next year."A lot of kids we attract are interested in sports or the business of sports," he said.

In 2010, the City of Orlando paid more than $200,000 to break a lease with a nonprofit driving school to turn over a building near downtown to the school rent-free for three years. Litchford is the deputy City Attorney. Among the four other board members are her husband, Hal Litchford, and Kathy Russell, a staffer in Mayor Buddy Dyer's office.#

CFLA Adds Program Targeting Future Sports Leaders

March 31, 2013

by jodylitchford

In a move geared toward expanding its curriculum and creating exciting educational opportunities to keep students engaged and on course to graduate and enter college, CFLA has partnered with the nationally acclaimed Undergraduate Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida to create Central Florida's first high school Sports Business program. Titled "The Sports Leadership Academy", this program will offer an elective focus area and will be available to incoming 9th and 10th grade students who have an interest in careers in the business and management of sports. Classes in Ethics, Leadership, Team Sports, Social Media and Marketing will be offered as electives to students in the program.

Leadership Academy President Jody Litchford explained, "the business of sports is a big part of the US economy and offers a multitude of potential career opportunities. The Sports Academy gives us an opportunity to combine our core college prep academic and character development curriculum with an exciting vocational pathway." Located near downtown Orlando, Central Florida Leadership Academy offers family based character education, emphasizing leadership development. The Sports Leadership Academy will be offered in addition to CFLA's more traditional college preparatory academic pathways.

The UCF Undergraduate School of Sports Business will assist CFLA in developing a curriculum consisting of sports business, law and marketing, and will provide a number of instructors to teach these classes. Scott Bukstein, faculty member within the UCF Sport Business Management Program, said "we are very excited to be in partnership with the Central Florida Leadership Academy and to play a role in developing the sports business leaders of tomorrow from among Orange County youth".

The program commences with Sports Business, and may expand to include Sport Medicine and Sport Science in the 2014/2015 academic year. Central Florida Leadership Academy is also the site of a development program for elite soccer players in partnership with European professional clubs.

— Lauren Roth
Orlando Sentinel School Zone blog

2013-04-07

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/blogs/school-zone/os-blog-charter-schools-planned-magnet-sets-off-alarm-bells-with-orange-county-officials-201

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