Learning Gate Community School is an environmental charter school that was established in 1983 as “a preschool where kids get dirty.” In the year 2000, Learning Gate applied for a charter and opened its doors as the first environmentally-focused charter school in the State of Florida. The current campus is approximately 27 acres of natural woodland trails, a beautiful student run organic garden, a historical log cabin and award winning green classrooms. The school has now expanded to house 7th & 8th grade students in Lutz at a second location.
One of the highlights of the school is the organic garden that was started in 2006 and employed the Seed to Soup program. The garden has been integrated into the daily curriculum for Kindergarten through 6th Grade.
Learning Gate has received many awards and recognitions, and has participated in many community programs, partnering with other entities and companies who share the common goal of preserving and improving our environment.
In 2008, Learning Gate was featured in the January Issue of Southern Living Magazine, in an article titled “Open Air Classrooms.” In 2009, the school was featured on local channels 8 and 10 for the Ed Begley Green Book Presentation at the USF Green Conference.
In 2010, Learning Gate was the first public school in the nation to achieve LEED for Schools Platinum status from the U.S. Green Building Council by building LEED Platinum Green Classrooms. The project encompasses three structures connected by a covered walkway with spaces including four restrooms and ten classrooms. This green building project was supported by a generous Lowe’s Charitable Foundation grant of $250,000.
Learning Gate received national recognition in 2012 when it was named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. This is a federal recognition program that recognizes schools that “save energy, reduce costs, feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces, protect health, foster wellness, and offer environmental education to boost academic achievement and community engagement.”
Learning Gate Community School has been an “A” rated school for every year but one since 2002. An “A” status is only awarded to a school if they show improvement from the previous year. This school has a history of doing just that – building upon success and achievement year after year. And the intention for this school is to continue down the same path on which it started so many years ago.