New LSSC partnership expands STEM education opportunities in Lake County

Creating focused pathways toward earning industry credentials and college credit

The District Board of Trustees of Lake-Sumter State College approved a ground lease agreement with Pinecrest Lakes Academy as the first step in a new partnership to expand the STEM education pipeline from K-12 to college degrees in Lake County.

“We are pleased to enter into this partnership with Pinecrest Lakes Academy to expand the availability of a STEM focused education within Lake County,” said Dr. Stan Sidor, President of Lake-Sumter State College. “Pinecrest Lakes has a successful history of providing innovative and rigorous education by fostering family and community support systems to serve underrepresented and underserved communities. Together, we will create pathways for secondary students to work toward credentials and college credit that will accelerate their degree completion and improve the health and wealth of our local economy.”

As the partnership continues to develop, Pinecrest Lakes plans to open Pinecrest Lakes Academy Middle/High School, a tuition-free public charter school, on LSSC’s South Lake Campus in Clermont.

“The ultimate goal of this collaboration is to put students on the path toward success by connecting them with higher education and building a pipeline for students to receive a STEM-focused education and enter the workforce prepared,” said Carlos Alvarez, Pinecrest Board Chair.

Pinecrest Lakes students will earn college credit through dual enrollment while they are also pursuing their middle and high school courses. These students will graduate high school prepared for college and a career, with vital communications and critical thinking skills as well as real-world experiences that LSSC will provide through the partnership.

“This partnership will create more college and career-focused educational pathways and opportunities for our students, families, and the community,” said Christina Alcalde, Principal of Pinecrest Lakes Academy. “I can’t imagine a better partnership as we work to expand our high school programs.”

“LSSC remains focused on our mission of preparing students for today’s evolving workforce,” says Sidor. “As the economy adapts, innovates, and begins its recovery amid the global pandemic, we will continue to seek ways to support our communities and prepares students of all ages for workforce opportunities.”