Monday, December 11, 2017
Education

More accountability is the goal of proposed magnet school changes in Hernando

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School District has long made it clear that attending one of its three magnet schools is a privilege for students.

Now the district is considering putting some muscle behind that.

Students who fail to maintain passing grades, good attendance, appropriate behavior or are chronically tardy could be removed from the magnets and sent back to their home schools, according to recommended changes to the district's magnet program procedures.

"It gives us a little bit more accountability, said Michael Maine, principal at Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics. "There's that accountability piece on those students and those parents."

The changes, put forward by superintendent Lori Romano for the 2014-15 lottery year, are slated for discussion during a School Board workshop Tuesday afternoon. The board will then need to vote on the procedures at a later meeting.

The policy really isn't new to the district.

Other students attending a school outside their zone — the International Baccalaureate program at Springstead High, a career academy or another thematic program, for example — already abide by the policy.

"We need to be more in alignment," Maine said.

Maine said penalties would be enforced only after the school had made extensive efforts to correct any issues. He said school officials would meet with parents and let them know exactly what was happening.

"The parents would be involved way ahead of the game so there would be no surprises," he said.

Under the current system, a student enrolled in a magnet program is at the school for the entire year, barring expulsion. Low grades, poor attendance and minor disciplinary issues do not result in a student's removal, said Ken Pritz, Hernando's assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.

The policy change "gives (principals) some leverage over those kids who are not motivated," he said.

There are a number of other recommendations being proposed for the district's magnet program procedures handbook.

Not included in them: any change to the percentage of students accepted by lottery and portfolio, typically a contentious issue.

The superintendent is recommending that Chocachatti Elementary School and Challenger stay at 70 percent lottery admissions and 30 percent portfolio. For students not living in the school's zone, admission at Nature Coast Technical High School would remain 100 percent by lottery.

Another significant change: Parents or guardians of applicants at Chocachatti and Challenger no longer would be required to attend an orientation meeting the year the application is made. The new procedure states that portfolio applicants are "strongly encouraged to attend an orientation meeting."

Maine said the change was made, in part, to make it easier for some students and their parents to apply to the schools.

"You're really putting a lot of pressure on families that may be working two or three jobs," he said.

Parents or guardians of Nature Coast students applying to the magnet program would be required to attend an orientation meeting. Pritz said that was left in place because the school has a number of different programs that students must select and enroll in.

Applicants to Challenger and Chocachatti would also be required to complete an online application, instead of a paper one. Nature Coast applicants would still complete a print version of the application, which would be provided at the orientation meeting in November.

Contact Danny Valentine at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Comments
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey has learned all the tricks to get her kids out of bed and off to school every morning. But this year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every school day with a knot in her stomac...
Published: 12/08/17

University of Central Florida Greeks won’t hold social events, serve alcohol for 6 weeks this spring

ORLANDO — University of Central Florida fraternities and sororities won’t host social activities or any events with drinking for at least the first six weeks of the spring semester, up from the two-week ban on alcohol that has been in place in the pa...
Published: 12/08/17
Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Disturbed by stories about the rape of teens by supervisory staff, a pandemic of sometimes savage force, brutal beatdowns ordered by youth care workers and policies that permit the hiring of violent offenders, Miami-Dade’s state attorney wants to kno...
Published: 12/07/17
Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Hillsborough County’s public school teachers are horn-honking, voice-raising, sign-waving, foot-stomping mad, and I can’t blame them. They are paying for a problem they didn’t create. About one-third of the workforce was expecting to receive a $4,000...
Published: 12/07/17
In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

SPRING HILL — On a small wooden dock at the Cross Bar Ranch, Cynthia Brinker gingerly pokes through the trappings in her fishing net, plucking out a tiny creature to examine close up. "What the heck is this?" the Weightman Middle School studen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

BROOKSVILLE — For just a year and a half, Steve Crognale has been the principal at the Endeavor and Discovery Academies. But now, he’s been named the Hernando School District Principal of the Year for 2018. Endeavor serves students, most of them hig...
Published: 12/06/17
Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

TAMPA — The second Hillsborough County School Board meeting in less than a month took place Tuesday against a backdrop of honking car horns, cheering teachers and audience members moving through the room in shifts.Dressed in blue union-issued T-shirt...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey is skilled at calming first-day-of-school jitters. But this school year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every weekday with a knot in her stomach.It’s been there ever since th...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17
Hillsborough school district names Teacher of the Year finalists

Hillsborough school district names Teacher of the Year finalists

Finalists were announced Tuesday for Hillsborough County Teacher of the year and other honors.Winners will be announced at a banquet on Jan. 16.The finalists for teacher of the year are: Jennifer Jackson, seventh grade science, Stewart Middle; Alexa ...
Published: 12/05/17
High school start times: Could they be a talking point in the 2018 Pinellas election?

High school start times: Could they be a talking point in the 2018 Pinellas election?

It’s been years since the Pinellas County School Board addressed high school start times.But if the issue isn’t resolved in the next few months, it could fall to voters as they decide on who should fill four out of seven School Board seats up grabs i...
Published: 12/05/17