Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Superintendent reports mixed success with new Pinellas summer program

Superintendent Mike Grego says the Summer Bridge program was a learning experience.


Superintendent Mike Grego says the Summer Bridge program was a learning experience.

LARGO — About half of Pinellas elementary school students improved their reading skills after attending a first-time summer program for struggling learners, while 47 percent stayed level or lost ground.

Superintendent Michael Grego said Thursday he will make next year's Summer Bridge curriculum more challenging and increase training for teachers so that all students rise as much as they can.

Overall, he said, students improved in math and science, according to tests given at the beginning and end of the program.

"I think we learned from this experience, because if we don't learn from the experience, shame on us," Grego said. "We need to consistently and constantly look at the what and how of the rigor of what we're teaching in the summer."

The six-week, $3.1 million summer program served more than 6,000 students at 27 elementary schools and 15 middle schools throughout Pinellas, seeking to combat the summer learning loss that typically hits poor and minority students the hardest.

Grego said most of the students who did not make learning gains at least retained their skill-set. "They didn't go up — but they didn't go down."

Based on their performance at Summer Bridge, 45 percent of third-graders who would have been held back a year based on their FCAT reading scores were promoted to the fourth grade. That's up 3 percent over last year, when students attended summer reading camps.

Grego said he wasn't expecting the third-grade promotion rate to jump at all, and was pleasantly surprised. He thought he would see results later down the line, after Summer Bridge had been in place for longer.

Literacy among middle school students also increased, although proficiency rates were not high. On questions of punctuation, for example, students got 49 percent of questions correct at the end of Summer Bridge, up from 40 percent at its start. When it came to capitalizing titles and the names of organizations, the percentage of correct answers jumped to 57 from 37 percent.

In the math classes, both elementary and middle school students saw gains. By summer's end, middle school students answered 52 percent of questions correctly, up from 40 percent. The elementary rate increased from 67 to 73 percent.

Science also was a bright spot at Summer Bridge, where 73 percent of students increased their final test scores, when compared with a test given at the start of the summer. About 15 percent of students saw their scores decrease, while 12 percent stayed the same.

Grego acknowledged that six weeks was a limited window to make significant changes. But he did not plan to extend the program next summer, saying that it takes time to hire and train teachers.

He plans to make the curriculum more challenging, so that students who master a level are easily able to move on to tougher concepts.

"I believe there are gifted and talented students in this summer program who haven't blossomed," Grego said. "And given six weeks, it's not the end-all. It's the beginning for some of them."

Contact Lisa Gartner at You can also follow her on Twitter (@lisagartner).

Superintendent reports mixed success with new Pinellas summer program 09/19/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 20, 2013 12:14am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bullpen melts down as Rays lose to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jacob Faria allowed his first two big-league home runs and was touched for a career-high three runs Saturday by the Orioles. Other than that, the rookie making his fourth major-league start did okay against the Baltimore bats.

    The bullpen, not so much.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Baltimore Orioles scored four runs during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) SPD118
  2. Lightning shifts search for defense to free agency

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — As much as he tried, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left the weekend's draft without acquiring another top-four defenseman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  3. Half of Florida lawmakers fail or nearly fail review of support for public records

    State Roundup

    WEST PALM BEACH — Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.

    State Senator Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton (left) and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran ranked on opposite sides of the spectrum in an analysis of support for open records. Galvano scored a B-minus and Corcoran scored a D-plus.
[Times file photo]
  4. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  5. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]