Thursday, December 14, 2017


Colleen Wright

Colleen Wright

Colleen Wright covers Pinellas County Schools since joining the Times in 2015. Florida born and bred, she was raised in Miami and graduated from the University of Florida.

Lakewood High on lockout after report of weapon on campus

Lakewood High on lockout after report of weapon on campus

Lakewood High in St. Petersburg was placed on lockdown Monday morning following reports of a weapon on campus, but the threat was later downgraded and the school was placed in lockout status instead.
Published: 12/11/17
Residents in Pasco, Hillsborough and Polk counties took to social media Saturday to determine what caused a mysterious, reverberating boom that shook homes around 1:45 p.m.

A mysterious boom baffles Tampa Bay, and official sources shrug

Whatever it was, the boom shook walls and swayed chandeliers."It sounded like a plane had crashed," said Fred Krauer Jr., 43. The noise rattled every room in his home north of State Road 52 and west of Hicks Road. "I felt it in my feet...
Published: 12/09/17
A school district's bus schedule is the primary factor affecting school start times. A Pinellas County petition to make high school start times later has attracted 5,000 signitures, including three from announced candidates for School Board next year. [Times files]

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...
Published: 12/05/17
From right, first-graders Triniti Poole, 6, and Letzyah Rivera, 6, both of Tampa, meditate during a mindfulness exercise called

At 15 local schools, mornings that start with mindfulness help kids ‘de-escalate and reflect’

TAMPA — At the sound of a light rainfall, the boys and girls scamper from the checkered carpet and into their seats.A familiar, soothing voice comes over the classroom speaker. "Imagine, you are a boat on the water," the voice says.
Published: 12/01/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office deputies swarm East Lake High and East Lake Middle schools late Friday morning after a bomb threat was called in. Both schools were under lockdown and evacuated until around 1 p.m. when they were given the all-clear. [Courtesy of the Alexis family]

After evacuations and lockdowns for bomb threat, three Pinellas schools all clear

Two Pinellas County schools were evacuated and another was placed on lockdown after a bomb threat was called in Friday morning. East Lake High and East Lake Middle schools, which share the same campus off of East Lake Road South and Bryan Lane,...
Published: 12/01/17
Rita Osborn, a long-time music professor at St. Petersburg College, died on Nov. 12 at age 91. A memorial service is scheduled for Dec. 26. [Courtesy of Don Osborn]

Epilogue: Music professor Rita Osborn insisted that her students experience the arts live

The thousands of students who signed up for Rita Osborn’s music and humanities classes at St. Petersburg Junior College knew what they had to do to pass.They could study and memorize material for tests, but they wouldn’t earn more than a C if...
Updated one month ago
Volunteer Dawn Culpepper twirls Aurie Solomon, 6, of St. Petersburg, at the Pinellas Autism Project's camp during Thanksgiving week. The nonprofit group holds social events and camps during school breaks for high-functioning children with autism, a much-needed service in Pinellas County. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

When school is out, a Pinellas camp for autistic kids offers a much-needed service

ST. PETERSBURG — Matt Wiseman’s cellphone rings at least once a week, usually after 9 p.m., with a call from a desperate parent. The voice on the line is tired, defeated. Once again, their child was excluded from an after-school program or...
Updated one month ago
St. Petersburg High alumni on Tuesday announced a drive to complete a $2 million campaign to pay for new athletic facilities, including an artificial turf field, a rubberized track, home and visitor concession stands and other features. [Rendering courtesy of Bob Carter]

At St. Petersburg High, alums push to complete private funding for home field improvements

ST. PETERSBURG — The athletic facilities at St. Petersburg High are just like Bob Carter remembers from 50 years ago.He recalls it all fondly: The concession stands, ticket booths and bathrooms are still the same. The track is still outdated...
Updated one month ago

The comeback at North Shore Elementary is real as families rediscover their neighborhood school

ST. PETERSBURG — In his 13 years living in northeast St. Petersburg, Kenneth Strickland had heard rumors about the city’s public schools being subpar. So two years ago, with a real estate agent, he drove through the Westchase area in Hillsborough...
Updated one month ago
The entrance of High Point Elementary, 5921 150th Ave. N, where a student was burned Wednesday and taken to Tampa General Hospital. Officials said Thursday the student had a lighter at school. [Pinellas County Schools]

Student burned in High Point Elementary fire had a lighter

CLEARWATER — A High Point Elementary student who was airlifted with burn injuries...
Updated one month ago