New SW Ocala Charter School to Open in 2022

A planned new K-8 public charter school, the Ina A. Colen Academy, has received approval from the Marion County School Board for its plan to open in August 2022.

The academy will be located in the new Calesa Township family community planned by On Top of the World (OTOW) developer Ken Colen, which will be located just northeast of the large OTOW retirement community.

Named after Colen’s mother, a social studies teacher the Colen Family Charitable Trust said “loved education and cared deeply about her students,” the school was founded to honor her memory and will focus on project-based learning with an emphasis on social emotional learning. To reflect Ina Colen’s love of owls, the school’s logo includes an owl and the motto “owls with an iron spirit.”

The facility will be located within the 1,500-acre development planned for up to 5,000 new homes and will be accessible by the community’s pedestrian trail and tunnel system. Calesa Township will also be home to Ocala’s new aquatic center.

Circle Square Foundation Executive Director Rebecca Rogers said the academy will include larger-than-standard classrooms; gymnasium; cafetorium; media center; and music, art and lab facilities.

The academy will follow a phased build-out approach for student enrollment, Rogers said, opening in August 2022 with an estimated 214 students in kindergarten through sixth grade and adding seventh and eighth grades in 2023 and 2024.

For more information, visit www.iacafl.org.

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