Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Palm Harbor High's IB program could be safe, Janssen says

In response to outcry from Palm Harbor University High School parents, Pinellas County school superintendent Julie Janssen has retooled her proposal to phase out a highly touted magnet program at the school.

Speaking to the St. Petersburg Times editorial board Friday, Janssen said she's going to ask the school board to consider a new plan that would reduce the size of the International Baccalaureate program there while adding additional IB programs at Countryside and Largo high schools.

"I think that's a marvelous idea," said Bob Owen Jr., whose son is a junior in Palm Harbor's IB program. "It's a very positive direction."

Parents and students from the school have loudly protested Janssen's initial plan to move the now 580-student program from Palm Harbor to nearby Countryside High in Clearwater over four years.

Parents like Owen worried the plan would dismantle one of the district's most successful programs at a time when Pinellas could least afford it.

Janssen on Friday said that her new proposal could ultimately result in the addition of 500 IB seats throughout the county, more than are currently on the IB waiting list, she said.

Currently, the only high schools offering the rigourous academic curriculum are Palm Harbor and St. Petersburg High, each of which have about 580 kids.

The school chief said it's too early to say exactly how much smaller she would propose the new Palm Habor IB become, but she floated a range of 375 to 400 students.

"I think that's a fair compromise," Janssen said. "We just have to land on a number."

Toni Yeomans and daughter Jordan Yeomans, 16, a junior in the IB program, sounded relieved.

"I'm shocked right now," Jordan said. "To be able to keep it at Palm Harbor and be able to keep it all together and also expand the program . . . Wow."

Toni Yeomans has been one of the key organizers helping to get word out to parents at the school. She was at a faith conference in Tampa Friday when she got word. "You just made my whole day," she said. "It's good news. It shows things are going in the right direction."

Janssen said that though she is proposing a smaller IB enrollment at Palm Harbor, she hopes to stave off the possibility of losing many teachers as a result. Janssen is suggesting that teachers who are there now have the opportunity to teach pure IB classes as well as classes that are open to non-IB students who are not seeking an strict IB diploma but who qualify for what is called the IB "certificated" program.

Janssen said she plans to discuss the new idea with individual school board members. She also hopes to bring it to the entire board at their next workshop on Thursday, Oct. 28.

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at (727) 893-8707 or

Palm Harbor High's IB program could be safe, Janssen says 10/15/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 15, 2010 5:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility


    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia


    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]