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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hillsborough Superintendent asks for vigilance as students return to school



elia_800x663.jpgAt her annual back-to-school press conference Friday, Hillsborough Superintendent MaryEllen Elia called on students and staff to be vigilant in light of the past week’s arrest of a former Freedom High School student charged with threatening violence on campus.

“As a natural outcome to the scare," she said, "everyone is going to be heightened in their sensitivity about who’s on campus and what they’re doing there,” she said.

Elia also thanked the police, school security and Freedom’s principal for averting what could have been a tragedy.

“All of them help us as partners to keep our schools safe and secure,” she said.  “We are all responsible for our environment and we need to keep an eye open for the things that might be problems.”

 Elia spoke at Ferrell Girls Preparatory Academy, one of two single-gender magnet schools the district is opening this year. The other is Franklin Preparatory Boys Academy. Each will serve approximately 400 students.
img_0345_400x300_2.jpgElia congratulated the school district for a strong academic year; particularly four elementary schools that improved their grades and test scores substantially. Other accomplishments include implementation of the Gates-funded Empowering Effective Teachers program, and strict adherence to state guidelines on class size.

“We all believe that following the law is important,” Elia said. “We model that for our kids; we think that is an important thing.”

She said she is pleased to have avoided the teacher layoffs and furloughs that have hit other school districts, although there are no future guarantees given the nature of the economy.

On a lighter note, students can look forward to salad bars and smoothie huts in the cafeteria, and being dismissed one hour early for teacher planning every Monday, beginning Aug. 29.

[Last modified: Friday, August 19, 2011 6:47pm]


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