NewsPasco County


Pasco County opening 'one of a kind' school

Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation
Posted at 4:45 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 08:39:08-04

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — While many schools focus on sending students to college and beyond, the Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation helps students with their path to college, or right into a high-paying job with a unique curriculum.

“Every single one of these programs, they went and visited multiple sites and put together the pieces so that we could design here in Pasco County the best diesel program, the best auto program, the best biomedical program,” said principal Dee Dee Johnson.

When Kirkland opens in the fall, Johnson said students at this Wesley Chapel school will have the chance to get certified in one of ten programs. They can then continue to college with a budding resume or head straight into the workforce.

“So like welding. I’ve learned that underwater welding makes a lot of money. So you go and work at the Port of Tampa and our students are probably going to leave making more money than I do; which is awesome for them. And what a great experience to say that they put the work in. They put four hard years in to learn that trade and those skills,” said Johnson.

The district said the $70 million campus will be state of the art with bays for automotive repair, a biomedical lab, and a collaborative layout where construction students can team with those learning electrical. There will also be partnerships with professionals in various fields of study.

“I think overall; it’s just going to strengthen our community and really truly we can say that we’ve prepared students for a college career and life,” said Johnson.

Kirkland Ranch opens in the fall, beginning with 9th and 10th grades., The next application period opens on April 11th.