Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

4Achievements praised, suggestions offered at forum on Tampa's Middleton High future

TAMPA — The Middleton High School community meeting started more like a pep rally than a discussion about strategies for improving the East Tampa school.

Hillsborough Superintendant MaryEllen Elia touted the school's number of Advanced Placement classes (18), its cosmetology course, its award-winning robotics team and its dramatic drop in referrals. She repeatedly blamed the media for any perceptions that Middleton is a bad school.

"We've been putting an emphasis on Middleton," she said. "And I apologize that you didn't already know that."

About 150 parents, students, alumni and local residents attended the meeting in Middleton's cafeteria on Saturday. They hoped to spark ideas for sharp improvement at Middleton, which is entering a key year. For the second year in a row, D-rated Middleton fell into the "Intervene" category under the state's accountability system. Without notable progress, the school could face a state-mandated reorganization or closure.

Middleton, a formerly segregated school, produced generations of black leaders in East Tampa before being closed in 1971 under a court desegregation order. Alumni pushed to reopen the school seven years ago.

Since then, it has struggled to lift itself off the bottom rung of a state watch list based on test scores. But Elia pointed out that Middleton, although it received its sixth straight D grade, has never received an F. Seven other public high schools in the county also received D grades last year.

The school is in a state of transition because Elia recently reassigned its principal of two years, Carl Green, to Brandon High School. His replacement hasn't been chosen yet, but several at the meeting said Saturday they see his departure as a fresh start.

Students, their parents and grandparents, and community leaders took the microphone with suggestions during public comment that lasted almost two hours. They said Middleton's students need to learn values, that their parents need to get involved and that the school should be more safe and welcoming.

Former Middleton student Nicolas Rivera explained his frustration with his AP biology class. He said he didn't learn much and the teacher didn't motivate students.

"Something needs to be changed," he said. Nicholas, a rising 11th-grader, transferred to the new Steinbrenner High School in Lutz because of his frustrations with Middleton.

Calvin Simmons, president of Middleton's alumni association, presented a list of 10 specific recommendations he hopes the School Board will implement.

It includes selecting a group of parents and alumni to help choose the new principal, forming an advisory committee that will meet each month and adding more vocational courses.

And although he wants to see a lot of change, he said he also appreciated learning about the school's achievements.

"It will make the students feel better about attending this school," he said. "That might motivate them to go from a 'D' to a 'C'."

Times staff writers Tom Marshall and Ron Matus contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 661-2443.

4Achievements praised, suggestions offered at forum on Tampa's Middleton High future 07/18/09 [Last modified: Saturday, July 18, 2009 11:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win


    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  5. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle