Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ambitious school plan aims to help kids graduate

The committee suggested turning Bayside High, an alternative school in Clearwater, into a year-round school with flexible hours and a beach summer camp for eighth-graders getting ready for high school.

CHERIE DIEZ | Times

The committee suggested turning Bayside High, an alternative school in Clearwater, into a year-round school with flexible hours and a beach summer camp for eighth-graders getting ready for high school.

Do you feel respected?

Do you connect with teachers?

Do you like coming to school?

Pinellas County School District leaders have used such basic questions to chart a course with one goal in mind:

Graduation.

In the past three years, the number of students leaving Pinellas high schools with a diploma has increased, but there's still room for improvement. A district committee tackled the issue and on Tuesday presented more than a dozen recommendations to the Pinellas School Board during a workshop.

"To me, this is thinking bold," said board member Mary Brown. "It's thinking about some of the things that are best for children, and I like it."

School employees and community members surveyed district workers, students, teachers and parents, and led focus groups with students from alternative schools and programs like Bayside High, Clearwater and Lealman Intermediate schools, and the PACE Center for Girls.

The results showed a demand for more individualized instruction, better communication, more vocational education and more support for older kids who are lagging behind.

Priorities are ambitious. Among the suggestions:

• Open two learning centers in the 2010-2011 school year to serve 360 11th- and 12th-graders who need flexible arrangements to recover credits and get work experience.

• Start high school programs at Pinellas Technical Education Centers.

• Put overage middle school students in new facilities, possibly the second floor at Lealman Intermediate School, the former site of Curtis Fundamental in Clearwater or a new, third location.

• Better utilize Bayside High, across from the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center on 49th Street in Clearwater. Bayside would operate year-round with longer, staggered days and flexible hours. It would appeal to more students by offering summer credit building and a Bayside Beach Camp for eighth-graders getting ready for high school.

Board members said they needed time to digest it all. Superintendent Julie Janssen hoped to have initial plans and costs ready by the board's April workshop.

"It's got to be a phased-in process," she said.

One of the biggest changes would be a simple one: Drop the name Dropout Prevention Services for something softer and more encouraging:

Graduation Pathways to Success.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at shayes@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8857.

BY THE NUMBERS

74.42 percent of Pinellas high school students who

graduated in 2008.

80.57 percent who graduated in 2009.

76.3 percent of Florida high school students who graduated in 2009.

48.5 percent of Pinellas middle/high school students surveyed who said they like coming to school.

57.3 percent who said they feel respected at school.

Ambitious school plan aims to help kids graduate 03/20/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 19, 2010 2:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.