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Tampa school briefs


Dropout rates improve locally and statewide

The Hillsborough County School District improved its four-year graduation rate to 80 percent last school year, leading all Tampa Bay area school districts as well as other school districts around Florida.

It also posted the lowest annual high school dropout rate in the area with 1.8 percent.

Pinellas County improved its graduation rate to 74.4 percent with a dropout rate of 2.1 percent, while Pasco County improved its graduation rate to 79.5 percent with a dropout rate of 2.1 percent, according to data recently released by the Florida Department of Education.

Overall, the state improved its four-year graduation rate to 75.4 percent with an annual high school dropout rate of 2.5 percent.

Hillsborough county

School choice forums scheduled till Jan. 29

Hillsborough Choice Options Information meetings will be held until Jan. 29. Meetings offer families the opportunity to apply to a magnet school or career and technical education program. The events are available for students entering kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, locations and times, call the Choice Information Line at 272-4692.


Psychologist to speak on adolescent mind

Psychologist James Dragna, a nationally recognized speaker on adolescent development, will present What Were You Thinking? A Parent Guide For Understanding and Influencing an Adolescent Mind from noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Tampa Preparatory School, 727 W Cass St., Lecture Hall 2015.

Dragna will discuss factors that influence behaviors, emotions and thoughts of adolescents, and will suggest strategies for parents to guide their kids toward effective personal, social and academic decisionmaking. The event is open to all Tampa Prep parents, as well as their friends whose children attend other schools. To RSVP, send an e-mail to


PTA hosts orientation for kindergarten

Are worried about your child's first day of school? The Kindergarten Orientation program and information session hosted by the Dale Mabry Elementary PTA invites parents of children entering kindergarten in August 2009 to attend. The program includes presentations by the school's principal, PTA president and teachers with a question-and-answer session, as well as a student fashion show, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in the media center at the school, 4201 Estrella St. For more information or to RSVP call 872-5364.

Tampa school briefs 11/27/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 10:18am]
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    A Tampa man intentionally drove his pick-up truck into two parked vehicles before smashing through the locked gate of the Islamic Society of Tampa Mosque, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Shaun H. Urwiler, 42, was arrested July 16 for intentionally driving his pick-up truck into two parked vehicles before smashing through the locked gate of the Islamic Society of Tampa Mosque, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
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    The USF men's basketball team is set to get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse in non-conference play next season.

  3. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum


    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  4. Florida's school grades improve as educators get the hang of a new system


    Following a trend, Florida's school grades showed strong gains in the third year after the state changed its grading formula and the standardized tests that students take every year.

    After finding out earlier Wednesday that her school went from a low C to an A,  Bear Creek Elementary principal Willette Houston celebrates with her students in the YMCA After School program at the school in St. Petersburg. Houston is giving a high five to rising fifth grader Jonaven Viera. Rising 4th grader Jonathan Cafaro is in foreground with his back to camera. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
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    TAMPA — A woman sexually battered an 11-year-old Brandon boy, got pregnant and raised the baby for three years before a tip led to her arrest, Hillsborough County sheriff's officials said.

    Marissa Mowry, now 25,  had sex as many as 20 times in 2014 with a boy who was 11 when he impregnated her, Hillsborough County detectives allege. [Photo courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office]