Friday, January 19, 2018
Education

10 Pasco schools propose magnet-type programs

LAND O'LAKES — Ten Pasco County elementary schools have answered superintendent Heather Fiorentino's call to create academic themes that could draw new students to their doors.

Half of them sit along the bustling State Road 54 corridor, an area that generally has strong parent support and interest but also loses some students to nearby charter and private schools. Four of the schools propose a focus on science, math and technology, while another three want to emphasize the arts.

Among those arts centers, Longleaf Elementary School also states it would like to be a K-8 school.

One school would have a college-prep curriculum. Another would place students in Spanish-English dual language immersion. The final one would create a "global marketplace" theme revolving around a Florida-friendly garden at the school.

A community survey this spring revealed that about half of respondents were interested in magnet schools. The theme areas that generated the most interest were STEM and college prep.

Assistant superintendent David Scanga plans to present the schools' ideas to the School Board on Tuesday to get direction as to which, if any, the board might want to pursue. If the board wants to get any of them open in the fall, district spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli said, that would require initial startup money of about $10,000 to $20,000 each.

That amount would cover such costs as planning and staff development.

Board members said they welcome a conversation about establishing magnet-type options. The district currently has no magnet schools, although it does have specialty attractor programs including International Baccalaureate and career academies.

"I am glad for whatever motivation and reason they are finally willing to have a discussion on things I have been wanting to talk about for three or four years," board member Allen Altman said. "It will benefit our district."

Before jumping in, board members will need more details regarding funding, goals, time lines and other key matters, board chairwoman Joanne Hurley said.

"There will be many questions on the part of the board," Hurley said. "We'll need some hard answers before we go forward."

Vicki Garner, principal of Seven Springs Elementary School, looked forward to establishing a "school of innovation" if the board approves. She has proposed the dual language immersion program for Seven Springs.

The school has operated a small-scale version of the program for several years in one classroom per grade level for zoned students only. Efforts to expand snagged on budget concerns.

"When the conversation went to schools of innovation, we opened ours up as an example in hopes we could get even better," Garner said. "We figured this was an opportunity to reinvigorate the program."

The School Board will discuss the magnet concepts during a workshop at 3 p.m. Tuesday. The board also is scheduled to discuss the Penny for Pasco and the 2012-13 budget.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at [email protected], (813) 909-4614 or on Twitter @jeffsolochek. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook.

Comments
Hillsborough, Pasco schools warn parents about flu activity, dangers

Hillsborough, Pasco schools warn parents about flu activity, dangers

The Florida Department of Health is reporting a sharp increase in flu activity in the last several weeks, prompting area schools to send out letter warning parents about the virus. At least two districts, however, say that flu activity in their schoo...
Updated: 27 minutes ago

More than 400 apply to Pasco technical high school

School choice for 2018-19 is in full swing, and district officials said they’ve been pleased with the interest they’ve seen so far.The window for applying to the district’s magnet schools closed Jan. 12, except for applications for the new Wendell Kr...
Published: 01/18/18
Read the report on the fatal FSU frat party: ‘The most intoxicated’ they had ever been

Read the report on the fatal FSU frat party: ‘The most intoxicated’ they had ever been

"On Nov. 3, 2017, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to 1012 Buena Vista Drive … in reference to a death investigation."So begins a charging document in the case of Andrew Coffey, the 20-year-old Florida State University student who was foun...
Published: 01/18/18
In St. Petersburg, skeptics sneer at plan to concentrate USF power in Tampa

In St. Petersburg, skeptics sneer at plan to concentrate USF power in Tampa

In the state capitol on Wednesday, lawmakers breezed through the bullet points of a higher education bill. They skimmed past a hot-button proposal to consolidate the University of South Florida System into a single university without a peep of pushba...
Published: 01/18/18
Five things to know about teacher pay negotiations in Hillsborough

Five things to know about teacher pay negotiations in Hillsborough

TAMPA — They were hoping to receive between $15 million and $17 million in scheduled pay raises. But the Hillsborough County school district says it can’t afford to give its teachers anywhere near that much, while the teachers say they deserve nothin...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18
Young Pasco teacher faces cancer with support of students

Young Pasco teacher faces cancer with support of students

NEW PORT RICHEY — At age 28, things were really shaping up for Joel Santos-Gonzalez. Fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher, he had just completed his third year at Gulf Middle School."I always liked to talk to people on an intellectual ...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18
In Pinellas and beyond, deadlines for school choice are closing in

In Pinellas and beyond, deadlines for school choice are closing in

It’s decision time in Pinellas County and other local school districts as several school choice deadlines are upon us.For Pinellas families who want to apply for a magnet, fundamental or high school career program for the 2018-19 school year, the dea...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18
For FSU fraternity, a wild night turned tragic

For FSU fraternity, a wild night turned tragic

The night of initiation was the most that the brothers of Florida State University’s Pi Kappa Phi chapter said they had ever seen their pledge class drink.That was the plan, court records said: Pledges would arrive at the fraternity house Nov. 2 and ...
Published: 01/18/18
9 face hazing charges in death of Florida State fraternity pledge

9 face hazing charges in death of Florida State fraternity pledge

TALLAHASSEE — The death of a fraternity pledge from alcohol poisoning has led to hazing charges against nine Florida State University students.State attorney Jack Campbell filed charges on Wednesday in Leon County Court.All nine will be charged with ...
Published: 01/17/18
From the archive: USF St. Petersburg’s long journey to autonomy

From the archive: USF St. Petersburg’s long journey to autonomy

As the Florida Legislature considers undoing the current governance of the University of South Florida by folding the three branches of its system into one entity, here is a look at some Times coverage of the long-running struggle for independence at...
Published: 01/17/18