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IDEA Schools building charter school next to Jacksonville University, plans to collaborate

Arlington will have more school choice come fall 2022 as IDEA Schools open one of two new charter schools in Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — A collaboration between a new charter school coming to Jacksonville and a local university announced publicly Thursday morning will bring more school options to the Arlington area.

Jacksonville University will soon be neighbors to one of two IDEA Charter Schools opening in Jacksonville in fall 2022. The land wasn’t originally for sale, but when IDEA Schools found the space, they approached JU. The land, 15 acres which was owned by the university, will house grades K-12. 

“As you know, Jacksonville University has been located in Arlington for quite a long time and it seemed like a real synergy to have their location next to a university so we can begin to talk to the community about what it means to be a lifelong learner," said Christine Sapienza, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at JU.

Her vision includes collaboration with JU education students getting hands-on experience at the charter school.

IDEA charter school's main focus is 100% college acceptance for their students. The students at this location will have direct access to a college campus.

Executive Director for IDEA Schools Jose De Leon says they chose Arlington as their second school location intentionally.

“We want to make sure that we are available and easy access to students that need choices. School options is not something that is available to all," De Leon said. “An excellent education should not be determined by a ZIP code. We definitely believe that coming to this area is going to open up doors that have not been available to families and students in the past.”

De Leon says IDEA schools have done this before with South Texas and LSU. He says about 15% of their graduating students end up going to the university that is attached their school. 

Location is key. Arlington gets an F rating for crime, according to areavibes.com. These leaders want to bring this neighborhood up.

“I think Arlington is on the move," Sapienza said. "I think that the community has been committed to improving Arlington. You see that happening in many different regions where one day they may hold a certain reputation, but now as you look at Arlington, you’re seeing build up of apartments. You’re seeing build up of retail. Our campus has been expanding. We just did an expansion further to the north.”

Groundbreaking is set for September, and applications for students open then as well. Next fall, they will welcome their first class at the school, starting with K-2 and 6 and eventually K-12.

The other location is set to open on Bassett Road in the Riverview neighborhood of Jacksonville.