CLERMONT – The Aurelia M. Cole Academy, Lake County’s second K-8 school, opens this fall at 150 Pitt Street, in Clermont.
The new, 163,000-square-foot school will replace Clermont Middle, which closed in 2021, and Clermont Elementary, which closed at the end of last school year. About 800 students are expected in pre-k and elementary grades plus 400 more in the middle school grades.
The Aurelia M. Cole Academy (ACA) is a performing arts focused school that will offer a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) curriculum. Computer skills will be taught at all grade levels and robotics offered as an elective for students in Grades 4 and 5. A culinary program will be available as well to help reinforce English Language Arts and math skills such as sequencing and fractions.
Additionally, a dance studio with floor-to-ceiling mirrors, ballet barres and special flooring will be home to dance classes that kindergarten and first-grade students will attend every 12 days as they rotate through courses outside of their basic core curriculum. Students will have the option of taking dance classes in lieu of P.E. beginning in the 2nd grade. Performances will be held in the school’s refurbished 400-seat auditorium.
The school also will offer a Cambridge curriculum, laying the groundwork for students to pursue the Cambridge AICE Diploma – international recognition of a rigorous, college-prep course of study – when they get to high school.
Aurelia M. Cole, for whom the new school is named, is considered by many to have been a local pioneer in Lake County education. She served as a dean of students at Clermont High School; assistant principal at Mount Dora High School, Cecil E. Gray Middle School and Clermont Middle School; and principal at East Ridge High School, where in 2004 she made history as the first African-American high school principal in Lake County after integration. She was later appointed Assistant Superintendent. Ms. Cole died in 2018.
“Aurelia Cole had high standards for students and staff, and genuinely cared about student achievement,” said Scott Voytko, principal of the new school. “We are proud to carry on her name and her priorities. Administrators, teachers and support staff at Aurelia M. Cole Academy are excited to welcome students and help them reach their goals and exceed expectations.”