Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Live coverage:

Want more? View the full stream

Live blog: 300,000 students start school today in Hillsborough, Pinellas

More than 300,000 students and upwards of 22,000 teachers will come together today as the Tampa Bay area's two largest school districts — Hillsborough and Pinellas counties — begin the 2017-18 academic year.

The totals do not include thousands of school district employees who work outside the classroom.

Motorists should feel the difference today, with nearly 1,500 school buses taking to area roads for their morning and afternoon routes.

LIVE BLOG: Complete coverage, and share your photos

BACK TO SCHOOL 2017: A Times special report

READ THE GRADEBOOK: The talk of Florida education

Some highlights: Nine new charter schools and one new district school will open today in Hillsborough, where officials will continue to wrestle this year with finances as they try to balance limited funds against fast growth in the southeast portion of the county. On a lighter note, students at Potter Elementary in Tampa will celebrate the start of school with a festive "clap-in" event.

In Pinellas, Gibbs High in St. Petersburg celebrates its 90th school year starting today while kindergarten students and their parents are just starting their journeys. Many Pinellas elementary schools will host "BooHoo breakfasts" to help kindergarten parents cope with the separation.

The Tampa Bay Times invites teachers, students and parents to share their first-day experiences on Twitter at #tbtbacktoschool.

As the year progresses, districts will look to improve their graduation rates, one of the ultimate measures of success for any school system. Pinellas' rate sits at 80.1 percent, which was up nearly 2 percentage points from the previous year, and Hillsborough's rate rose 3 percentage points to 79.1.

"Not every single student comes in making the right choice," Hillsborough school superintendent Jeff Eakins said in his back-to-school news conference Monday. "Sometimes we have to help them get there."

The school year begins Monday in Pasco and Hernando counties.

Photo illustration. [Getty Images]

Photo illustration. [Getty Images]

Live blog: 300,000 students start school today in Hillsborough, Pinellas 08/10/17 [Last modified: Thursday, August 10, 2017 8:46am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The eclipse will be okay in Tampa Bay. It will be really good other places.


    Here's what Tampa Bay residents making special vacations into the path of Monday's solar eclipse could experience.

    Twin Falls High School science teachers Ashley Moretti, left, and Candace Wright, right, use their eclipse shades to look at the sun as they pose for a portrait at Twin Falls High School in Twin Falls, Idaho. The district bought 11,000 pairs of solar glasses, enough for every student and staff member to view the solar eclipse Aug. 21

(Pat Sutphin/The Times-News via AP)
  2. Brandon family's pit bulls save small children from poisonous coppertail and get bitten instead

    Public Safety

    Two young children are safe after a Brandon family's two pit bulls saved them from a venomous copperhead.

    Slayer is recovering after being bitten and injected by a poisonous copperhead on Sunday in Brandon. Slayer and another pit bull, Paco, were protecting the family's two small children, who were playing in the yard when the snake appeared. [Photo from Video]
  3. Steven Souza's two passions collide in charity fantasy football event

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Steven Souza knows a thing or two about football.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston gets a hug from right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) after throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 23, 2017.
  4. Housing starts fall in July

    Real Estate

    WASHINGTON — The Commerce Department said Wednesday that housing starts fell 4.8 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.16 million. Groundbreakings for multi-family buildings such as apartments slumped 17.1 percent, while single-family house construction slipped 0.5 percent.

    On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported on U.S. home construction in July. 
[AP file photo]
  5. Florida man has some of Princess Di's wedding cake, plus 13,000 other royal items (w/photos)

    Human Interest

    John Hoatson recalls the day it all began with perfect clarity.

    John Hoatson poses with a photo taken in 2006 when he met Sarah "Fergie"; Ferguson, the Duchess of York, for tea at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in California.