My son attended the CAT program. While the students who attend this school are top notch. The teachers fail to provoke success in there students. The majority of the classes are taught directly from textbooks and there is no focus on helping the kids develop critical thinking skills. In addition there English programs are extremely underfunded and I feel as though my sons education as imbalanced. The CAT program is extremely rigorous. Almost overly so. The kids receive hours of "busy work" each night. As a parent I felt like an outsider no attempts were made to allow me to volunteer at the school. There is almost no school spirit with very few events held for the students. While the safety of the school has improved drastically in the past few years. I would still say there is room for improvement particularly in drug prevention and education.
My child graduated from the CAT program on June 2012. Clearly from the reviews the CAT program is top notch. Shoud your child be selected and choose to attend this program be prepared for a heavy work load and often a few hours of sleep. It can be overwhelming at times but not impossible. Though most of the graduates attend Florida colleges to take advantage of the in-state scholarships, your child will be well prepared and have opportunities to attend elite schools outside state. My son was accepted and will attend an Ivy League college this fall. The only knock on this program is the lack of preparation for the AP exam across ALL courses. Some AP courses are geared toward learning and not necessarily to prepare the student to achieve top scores on the exam. Yes, this is a bit shocking and unfortunate to say the least, but we learned from other prospective students while on campus tours their schools did exactly this. Though achieving top scores on the AP exams are a small part of application process, it is ever so important when competing for a few spots at elite schools when only the smallest fractions seperates each applicant. That's my two cents for whatever it is worth.
My son just graduated from this school. Initially after qualifying to attend the CAT program he only made it through his sophomore year (his own fault, started to coast on homework issues. They are strict). Due to zoning, his father is a Tierra Verde resident, he was able to remain in the regular part of this school. Having completed lots if honors courses he continued to take some advanced/honors as well as regular classes. We can truly say he experienced all aspects of the school. He also became a peer counselor, which means being involved without entire student body if needed. My son has many friends in and around the school neighborhood. We have always felt very comfortable in and around the school property. To have a truly in depth look and feel for the school, volunteer. This is the way to help the students and the faculty and to really obtain a true perspective. My son and I are off to his university orientation as I write this. I can honestly say this school made this possible with a child that was starting to drift. Did I mention the principle Mr Vicari..there aren't enough words to praise this man. He is truly a 'man of the people', you will admire him as we do.
It's true that the mojority of CAT students are seperated from traditional ones, but a few of traditional students are in a couple of CAT classes. CAT students are kept mainly in T-Wing (CAT Building) and A-Wing (the building adjacent to it). The only classes that are outside those two buildings are the foreign language classes.
I am a parent of 2 children at the school. I love the school, it provides many opportunities for anyone that wants it, not just CAT kids, there are many kids in the regular program that excel and have access to all honors and advanced placement courses. The principal and the administrative staff have done a wonderful job in the past few years cleaning up the school. There are a lot of misconceptions as far as this school goes. The school is safe and so is the neighborhood. Check out Lakewood Estates, Pinellas Point, plenty of parks, close to beaches, little traffic. The thing I love the most is the diversity of the school, it is probably the most diverse school in the county. It is nice to see kids from different races and different socio-economic backgrounds all together. It is amazing how much learning there is from each other. A+
I am a former student of Lakewood High School. And I do not appreciate the comment posted on Feb 29th. The mainstream school is 53% black. Therefore the poster must be incinuating that because there are alot of black people, there must be alot of violence. Which is not true. Mainstream LHS is a normal HS, with the typical amount of fighting any HS has. And no CAT is not 100% seperated from mainstream contrary to the poster's beliefs. We mingle all day long, and mainstream kids are allowed to take advanced classes as long as they arent electives. And you know who does the most of the smoking? The teachers! Off school grounds? Is this lady kidding? Lakewood is surrounded by one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in st pete, thats Lakewood Estates . White ppl think that everything in south side saint pete is crime and ghetto. givemeabreak
My daughter is half way thru her freshman year in the CAT Program. She spends 4 hours a day on a bus just so that she can attend CAT. She feels that it is worth the sacrifice and enjoys her days. The academics are outstanding as are the teachers. Since the school separates the CAT students from the main students, safety on campus hasnt been an issue but I am very careful to make sure she doesnt step off the school grounds. Off campus that's another story. Kids congregate in the Church lot after school and I have seen then smoke everything from ciggaretts, cigars to pot. I know the school cant control this situation but if you are thinking about allowing your student to attend Lakewood this is something I would discuss with your child.