As the whirlwind of back-to-school shopping and summer homework closes out and kids have made their way back into sparkly classrooms, it’s a great time to take stock of the wonderful schools in our area. One of the highest rated schools in the state and country serves over 2,000 of Sarasota County’s intellectually gifted students. Pine View School, located in Osprey, is poised to have another stellar year as school has resumed for students ranging from 2nd grade up to 12th grade. I recently had the opportunity to discuss some of the highlights and upcoming events with Pine View’s principal, Dr. Stephen Covert.
Dr. Covert, could you give us some highlights from last school year at Pine View?
That’s a big topic! Pine View had an incredible year in ’15-’16; we were once again nationally ranked in the top ten schools in the United States (we were ranked #7), and the #1 school in the State of Florida. We are incredibly proud of our students and their level of volunteerism in our community. Students took our mission statement and our commitment to social responsibility to heart, and truly made a difference through volunteering at hospitals, clinics, The Big Cat Habitat, Habitat for Humanity, SPARCC, MOTE, Ringling Museum, and many other agencies and non-profits.
There’s a lot of construction around campus. What else is new?
This summer we renovated and constructed in many areas around campus, Jodi. We began renovation and construction on the new, single-point-of-entry to campus in what was the administration building (Building #6). While that is happening, we have relocated administration, the Clinic, and guidance into the Red Bui8lding (Building #1). Around Winter Break, we will move back into building #1 and 3rd grade will move back into Red. This summer also saw many new sidewalks built on campus, a newly renovated Media Center, Gym, and new renovations to building #11 (Purple).
What new academic initiatives can we expect this year?
This year, we are offering a new AP course- AP Capstone Seminar. It is the first in a two-course sequence to be offered which would lead to a student being able to earn an AP Capstone Diploma, as well as learn and master the skills necessary to conduct research in a particular area of study at the college level. We are also offering a new engineering program of studies, in addition to robotics, called Project Lead the Way. This is a sequence of courses leading to industry certification in engineering at Pine View.
Pine View receives excellent ratings, what are the expectations for this year?
Our ACT scores were just released as a school, and our averages (mean score) continue to trend upward. This is significant as it is a national measure of college readiness and allows our students, in addition to their advanced and accelerated Pine View classes, to gain entry into the most selective and prestigious colleges and universities in the world. Even more important, our students continue to make a difference in the world as we continue to dedicate ourselves to social responsibility.
How about some personal tidbits, like your favorite places around town to eat, favorite beach, and favorite book?
I enjoy Buffalo Wild Wings, Mad Moe’s, and SubZero ice cream. Siesta Key is recognized as one of the best beaches in the world, and is always a favorite. Dan Brown is one of my favorite authors, and Inferno, The Lost Symbol, Angels & Demons, and Digital Fortress are all great books. My favorite book of all-time is Dumas’, The Count of Monte Cristo.
Anything else you’d like to share with the community about Pine View?
We have two great administrators joining us, Brian Dorn and Alison Rini, in addition to ten new teachers. It is many fewer than in previous years, but a truly wonderful group of new Pine View faculty members! Some of the mobile learning cottages on campus are re-situated and re-numbered so please be sure to look at the maps and see where your classes are located (odd numbered mobile learning cottages are north and even numbers are south).
Thank you, Dr. Covert, for your time and we wish you, the staff and students of Pine View and all the area schools a successful and fun year!