Frequently Asked Questions

General

If I submitted an application for the current school year, is that application valid for the coming year?


No, you will need to submit a new application form. However, any supporting documentation that was submitted will still be valid. If you have additional or updated data, please include that with your student's new application.




How is the number of openings determined?


Siblings of currently enrolled Focus Academy students and children of Focus Academy employees or board members do not participate in the lottery. Spots are held for these students.

In January of each year, parents are sent a Letter of Intent to return. This information allows us to determine the number of available replacement seats that need to be filled in addition to any new incoming 9th grade students.




I applied early in the application window for Open Enrollment. Does that make a difference?


It does not matter when you applied as long as you met the application deadline. The only time that would make a difference is if the number of applications do not exceed the number of openings, in which case it would be on a first-come, first-serve basis, providing that your student meets the eligibility requirements as stated in the school’s charter.




Can my child attend Focus Academy if he or she attends an out-of-county public school?


If your child is selected and your child attends an out of county school, he or she must have permission to attend a school outside the county. We will guide you through the process upon acceptance into the school. The funding allocated to the child by the state of Florida travels with him/her from school district to school district and must be accounted for using this approval process.




What if I decline a seat at Focus Academy and then change my mind?


Unfortunately, if you decline, the next student is contacted and offered the seat. We will be more than happy to add your student’s name to the end of the waiting list.​




Does Focus Academy accept the McKay or Gardiner Scholarship? What is your tuition?


Focus Academy is a public charter school, so it is free to attend.




Do you provide speech therapy?


If your student's Individual Education Plan (IEP) has services designated such as Speech/Language Therapy, or Occupational Therapy, they will be provided at Focus Academy. We have therapists that come to the school to provide services.




Do you provide transportation?


We do not have transportation for students. However, many of our students qualify for the HART Plus door-to-door bus service through Hillsborough County. Focus Academy also participates in the TBARTA School Pool service, which pairs families that are interested in carpooling.





Lottery

​If necessary, how does the lottery work?


Applications received on or before the deadline of January 10, 2020, by 4 p.m. are eligible for the lottery. If necessary, the lottery drawing will take place on February 4, 2020, in the Multipurpose Room at Focus Academy at 6:30 p.m. The lottery is open to the public, where names will be drawn and announced. Dates are set each year by Focus Academy administration in preparation for the coming enrollment season.




If my student's name is chosen am I guaranteed a spot?


Focus Academy’s policy, requires the IEP team to interview all prospective students and families to ensure that the student meets the eligibility requirements as stated in our charter. The interview process can take 1-2 hours. Due to this lengthy process, all applicants may not have had the opportunity to interview with us before the lottery. In situations such as this, if your student is chosen an interview will be scheduled to determine his/her eligibility as well as class openings. If your student meets school requirements, you will be contacted within 7 days of the interview. His/Her lottery placement is secured during this process.




How will I be notified if my student is being offered a spot at Focus Academy?


After a lottery, in addition to placing a phone call, the Admissions staff will send you an email to let you know if your child was selected for a seat (providing interview took place), selected for an interview (placement pending) or placed on a waiting list. You will have five days to respond to the offer.

If your child was placed on the waiting list, within 24 hours your email notification will include what number he/she is on that list. It is important you check your junk/spam folder for emails regarding the lottery. A message with the same information will be sent via telephone.




Can I attend the lottery?


If necessary, the lottery is held in public and will be held at Focus Academy’s Multipurpose Room in the main building on April 4, 2019 at 4 p.m. You are not required to attend the lottery. Attending the lottery has absolutely no impact on whether your child is selected or placed on the waiting list. You will be notified by email within 48 hours if your child is selected or they are placed on the waiting list. Dates of the lottery are determined every year in conjunction with the Open Enrollment process.




What if I change my mind about having my child enter the lottery?


Please contact the Administration Office (813.443.5558) to notify us of your decision.




If my child is selected, what is the next step?


After the lottery, you will have five full working days in which to accept or decline the seat once it is offered. The number of days in which to accept or decline the seat may be changed from five days to two days once we get closer to the start of school.

IF THERE IS NO RESPONSE TO THE SEAT OFFER, THE SEAT IS FORFEITED AND THE NEXT STUDENT ON THE WAITING LIST SHALL BE CONTACTED. Your student’s name will be moved to the end of the waiting list.

All families who accept will receive the following:
• Welcome email from Focus Academy Admissions • A letter of acknowledgment of acceptance. You will be required to sign and return this document within 5-10 days (depending on how close to the start of school) • Registration Form, also to be completed and returned. Additional forms will be required for registration. If acceptance is for the following school year, these forms will be sent in late June/early July to complete the admissions process.




How am I notified if there is an opening?


Once a parent declines a seat or a seat offer expires, Focus Academy Admissions will send an email to notify the parent/guardian of the next child on the waiting list. The school counselor may contact you to review your child’s course needs to ensure we have course availability. Once offered a seat, you will have five days to respond.

IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT YOU NOTIFY FOCUS ACADEMY OF ANY CHANGES IN EMAIL, TELEPHONE NUMBERS OR CONTACT INFORMATION. Please contact the Administration Office (813.443.5558 or admissions@focusacademytampa.org) immediately with changes.





Wait List

I have two children in the same grade (or two in different grades on the waiting list). What happens if, after the initial lottery run, one child is offered a seat and the other one is further down on the list and there is not an opening at that time for his/her sibling?


If you accept the seat for the one, the second will be moved to the top of the waiting list and will be offered the next available spot. We cannot create a space for the second child.

(NOTE: Your child’s placement at the top of the waiting list depends on how many other siblings were also moved based on the order of the selection.)




What happens if my child is placed on the waiting list and we live in a different county?


If your child is placed on the waiting list, it is strongly recommended that you follow the same procedure as if your child was selected to attend Focus Academy. Most of the movement on the waiting list occurs during the summer months. Out of county assignment requests are approved at monthly school board meetings so it is a good idea to get a head start just in case you are contacted for an opening.




Am I notified each time my child moves up on the waiting list?


You will receive periodic updates to movement on the waiting list from Focus Academy Administration.