Thursday, April 19, 2018
Education

Pasco schools to keep valedictorians and salutatorians

LAND O'LAKES — Pasco County high schools will continue to have valedictorians and salutatorians, for now.

Superintendent Kurt Browning on Tuesday killed his controversial proposal to eliminate the graduation honors. He made the move after consulting with board members, select high school principals and key district advisers as late as Tuesday morning.

"He decided that for now he is going to leave it as is, and we are going to put together a high-level committee to look at valedictorians and salutatorians," district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said.

The committee also will look at related issues, such as grade-point calculations and school monitoring of student credits, with a goal of making a recommendation next summer.

Changes still could include deleting the top graduation recognitions, or other ideas might emerge, Cobbe said.

Board vice chairman Steve Luikart said the superintendent took the right path.

"I told him I can't back it until we hear back from parents and students. It affects both of them," Luikart said. "He said, 'Good, because I'm not going to do it.' He said it will be up for discussion next year. I was fine with that."

A majority on the board, including Luikart, Allen Altman and Alison Crumbley, had expressed strong reservations about Browning's proposal, putting its passage in doubt regardless. They had received emails and calls criticizing the idea, with few in support of it.

The negative comments grew louder after the board's first public hearing July 1 on the concept, which the board gave tentative approval. Fox and Friends interviewed a former Wesley Chapel High valedictorian, who blasted the move, generating a national influx of criticism.

The general sentiment was that the district would be sending the message that it's not important to strive to be the best in academics. Some suggested the district might as well give out participation trophies rather than diplomas.

In writing to his mentor superintendent, Browning stated that he remained convinced the change would be positive. He expected students to try harder, knowing that more of them would be noted at graduation with Latin honors based on set grade-point averages.

But he added that it might not be worth the effort, judging from the feedback, and said he might begin looking for a way to gracefully back away. His mentor, retired Seminole superintendent Bill Vogel, agreed this touchy issue might be one to drop.

Speculation in the district was that Browning would drop his proposal, although he did not indicate his intentions publicly until releasing his latest recommendation.

The board will consider the 2014-15 student progression plan without the changes on Tuesday.

Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at [email protected] or (813) 909-4614. Follow @jeffsolochek.

Comments

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teacher aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer p...
Updated: 8 hours ago
After Parkland, these students became activists. Will their movement last?

After Parkland, these students became activists. Will their movement last?

TAMPA — Sam Sharf’s parents thought he had the best position on the Plant High School football team. As back-up quarterback, he could impress the girls but rarely played enough to get hurt.Now a junior, Sharf is off the team so he can focus his energ...
Published: 04/18/18

Gannon University’s Ruskin growth includes $21 million addition

RUSKIN — Gannon University is experiencing some serious growing pains and as a result, SouthShore is going to see a big change in the landscape. When it opened its doors in 2015 as a satellite campus for its home school in Erie, Pa., Gannon occupied ...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Enrollment growth anticipated for Pasco County charter schools, with two more to open in the fall

Most of Pasco County’s more established charter schools expect to see their student population remain stable in 2018-19.Even so, enrollment in the county’s charter schools is expected to grow by about 1,100 children — or nearly 25 percent — in the fa...
Published: 04/17/18
Sunlake High sophomore wins summer scholarship to Ringling College of Art and Design

Sunlake High sophomore wins summer scholarship to Ringling College of Art and Design

LAND O’ LAKES — As a child, Taylor Young started doodling with crayons as a hobby. Now at age 16, this Sunlake High School sophomore has received a full scholarship, valued at $6,000, to attend the Ringling College of Art and Design Summer Pre-Colleg...
Published: 04/16/18
Manatee County high school student calls for ‘bracott’

Manatee County high school student calls for ‘bracott’

A Florida high school student who said she was told to cover up her nipples after not wearing a bra to school is planning a protest in response. Lizzy Martinez’ "bracott" will take place today at Braden River High in Manatee County, according to Twit...
Published: 04/16/18

School news for April 20

School Calendar• April 27: Progress reports• May 17-20: High school graduations.• May 25: Last day of school for students.Theatre/Art/MusicCenter for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey. (727) 774-7382.• J .W. Mitchell Hi...
Published: 04/16/18
Hernando district fires all teachers at Moton Elementary, regardless of rating

Hernando district fires all teachers at Moton Elementary, regardless of rating

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County School District leaders vowed last year in their turnaround plan for struggling Moton Elementary to remove all under-performing teachers if the school earned lower than a C grade from the state in 2018.But last week — mo...
Published: 04/14/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Romano: Florida should not make fairness a moving target

Romano: Florida should not make fairness a moving target

The program I want to tell you about makes perfect sense. In many ways, it is fair and compassionate. Practical and wise.It is also an excellent example of Tallahassee’s pick-and-choose style of justice.The Legislature was gung-ho on passing a bill t...
Published: 04/14/18
New Florida scholarship aims to boost third-grade readers

New Florida scholarship aims to boost third-grade readers

Third grader Gavin Kaechele’s mom, Laryssa, knew something was up when the 9-year-old used the word "invalidate" while preparing to take the Florida Standards Assessments last week."He said, ‘If I fidget in my chair, it could invalidate my test,’" La...
Published: 04/14/18