Friday, July 20, 2018
Education

Hillsborough gives top award to teacher who likes to check in with students, parents

TAMPA — Parents who get phone calls from Maria Torres-Crosby are often nervous at first.

Then they realize Torres-Crosby, a sixth-grade English teacher at Memorial Middle School, is just checking in.

"I want students and parents to know that I recognize the extraordinary things that their students are doing," Torres-Crosby wrote in an essay on the way to being chosen as Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year.

Torres-Crosby, who received the good news Tuesday evening, listed her many national and state certifications, the teacher training sessions she attends and leads, the assemblies she organizes at school and the work she has done to fine-tune her skills.

She also described her classroom, decorated with pictures of her family and pets, and the quarterly newsletter she sends out to make sure parents stay engaged.

"My goal has always been to provide our students with the best education I can offer," she wrote. "It is my belief that every student has the ability to learn and the right to be taught."

Torres-Crosby, 47, has been with the school district since 1996.

"Words cannot express my gratitude," she told those gathered for the annual awards ceremony at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

"Teaching is a gift and I believe I've been blessed to recognize this gift all these years," she said. "I really feel that I don't deserve this because I get paid to do something that I love."She joined Jefferson High School welding teacher Pedro Castrejon and Franklin Boys Preparatory Academy secretary Terranique Ragins in taking top honors at a ceremony.

Castrejon, 31, was named Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year. A former Jefferson welding student himself, Castrejon combines vocational instruction with life coaching by helping his students learn how to dress, order from a restaurant menu and fill out citizenship paperwork.

Ragins, 42, earned enthusiastic reviews as Instructional Support Employee of the Year for her work as the principal's secretary at Franklin.

In addition to her core duties, she was instrumental in organizing a bus mentor program in partnership with the bus drivers, to cut down on behavior problems on the way to school and make sure students are prepared when they arrive.

 
Comments
In the few weeks before school starts, experts offer tips on getting ready mentally and physically

In the few weeks before school starts, experts offer tips on getting ready mentally and physically

By the second week of August, public schools will be back in session across the Tampa Bay area. That may seem far off, but sleep experts say now is when parents need to start easing the kids (and themselves) into those early wakeup routines. The foll...
Published: 07/20/18
The genius: At age 11, he’s graduating from St. Petersburg College — then it’s on to astrophysics.

The genius: At age 11, he’s graduating from St. Petersburg College — then it’s on to astrophysics.

PALM HARBOR — Just over two years ago, William Maillis stepped onto a bright red chair behind a lectern, tweaked the angle of his microphone and recited a Bible verse in Greek before deconstructing a quote from French philosopher René Descartes.That’...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hernando County leaders may help School Board pay for campus security

Hernando County leaders may help School Board pay for campus security

BROOKSVILLE — With an Oct. 1 deadline looming for the Hernando County School Board to find a way to pay for school security once its agreement with the County Commission expires, leaders from both governments will consider extending the partnership.B...
Published: 07/19/18
State to keep close watch on five ‘turnaround’ schools in Hillsborough, Pinellas

State to keep close watch on five ‘turnaround’ schools in Hillsborough, Pinellas

State education officials on Wednesday approved plans in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties to improve struggling schools — but with some conditions.The Pinellas district will have to keep a close watch on Fairmount Park Elementary principal Kristy M...
Published: 07/18/18
Pinellas School Board: First of three big candidate forums on Tuesday

Pinellas School Board: First of three big candidate forums on Tuesday

Candidates for the Pinellas County School Board will appear Tuesday at the first of three forums sponsored by the Pinellas Education Foundation, St. Petersburg College, the Pinellas County Council PTA and the League of Women Voters. The event will be...
Published: 07/18/18
Hernando County teachers union endorses candidates for School Board

Hernando County teachers union endorses candidates for School Board

The Hernando Classroom Teachers Association, the union for the county’s instructional staff, has announced its recommendations for School Board candidates ahead of next month’s election.The group made its decisions via a private forum, where about fi...
Published: 07/18/18
Fired Hernando school superintendent Lori Romano finds a job in the county next door — Pasco

Fired Hernando school superintendent Lori Romano finds a job in the county next door — Pasco

Lori Romano, fired from the Hernando County superintendent post for "ineffective leadership" a month ago, has snagged a job in the neighboring Pasco County school district.She won’t be nearly as high up the administrative ladder in her new role.Subje...
Published: 07/17/18
Artist, advocate, Marine: New Pasco school security director compelled to serve

Artist, advocate, Marine: New Pasco school security director compelled to serve

LAND O’ LAKES — Chris Stowe has a storied past as an explosives technician in the U.S. Marine Corps.The retired master gunnery sergeant has mementos of his service — a field knife mounted to the lid of an explosives box, for instance — hanging promin...
Published: 07/17/18
Members new and old appointed to Pasco-Hernando State College boards

Members new and old appointed to Pasco-Hernando State College boards

Three trustees for Pasco-Hernando State College have been reappointed to their posts by Gov. Rick Scott, and a new member joined the college’s Foundation Board of Directors.The reappointments to the Board of Trustees are Alvaro Hernandez, Lee Maggard...
Published: 07/17/18
Hillsborough training school resource officers during active shooter exercise

Hillsborough training school resource officers during active shooter exercise

DOVER — With the start of classes nearly three weeks away, Hillsborough County school resource officers are receiving extensive active shooter training Tuesday morning to prepare them in the event of another school tragedy.Members of the Hillsborough...
Published: 07/17/18