Thursday, May 24, 2018


Thomas C. Tobin

Thomas C. Tobin

Tom Tobin is Assistant Metro Editor / Education, Health & Medicine at the Tampa Bay Times. He has worked at the Times since 1988, serving much of that time as a government reporter. He also has reported on the Church of Scientology periodically since 1996. As the Times' state reporter, he covered the 2000 presidential recount in Florida and wrote about subsequent efforts to retool the state's election machinery. From 2003 to 2009, he covered education, focusing on school board issues, school finance, the achievement gap and desegregation. Born in St. Louis, Mo., he lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Kathleen, and their three children.


Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Before they could get away, we asked the top graduates at Pinellas County’s private schools to write a Twitter-length paragraph about what’s on their mind. We suggested they reflect on the past or the future, or talk about the people who helped...
Published: 05/18/18
Meet the top public high school grads in Pinellas County for 2018

Meet the top public high school grads in Pinellas County for 2018

After four years of classes, tests and extracurriculars, we gave the top graduates at Pinellas County’s public high schools one more assignment: Write a Twitter-length paragraph about what you’re thinking as graduation day approaches. It...
Published: 05/10/18
Updated: 05/11/18
Students from Plant High School in Tampa celebrate during commencement ceremonies at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Plant was one of several public high schools  that finished well in this year's 'U.S. News & World Report' rankings. [Times (2013)]

Tampa Bay area high schools finish strong in this year’s ‘U.S. News & World Report’ rankings

Ten of the Tampa Bay area’s 62 traditional public high schools are among the 100 best in Florida this year, according to annual rankings released this...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/10/18
The entrance of Midtown Academy, 1701 10th St S, St. Petersburg. The school will see big changes in the 2018-19 school year, when it starts two magnet programs -- one focusing on cultural arts and the other a full-time gifted program. [THOMAS C. TOBIN   |   Times]

Parents are buzzing about Pinellas’ newest magnet school

ST. PETERSBURG — If the crowds that showed up for two open houses last week are any indication, the Pinellas County school district may have hit on a recipe that could finally turn around one of its most struggling schools.The two events drew...
Updated one month ago
Jessica Black, a fourth-grade teacher at Bear Creek Elementary is one of 10 finalists for the 2017-18 Outstanding Educator of the Year award in Pinellas County.

Top 10: Meet the finalists to become Pinellas County’s teacher of the year

Every year, the Pinellas County school district’s Outstanding Educator recognition program gives us a telling glimpse inside classrooms all over county. Among the 10 finalists are a "warm demander" who finds ways to push her elementary school...
Updated: 4 months ago
While far from a perfect measure, graduation rates can be a final score of sorts for high schools. Florida released its 2016-17 graduation rates last week. [Times files]

A closer look at graduation rates. How did your school do?

Updated: 4 months ago
College tuition has increased an average 7 percent annually since 1990 and shows no sign of slowing down.

Will Florida bring back full tuition breaks for college? State senators weigh in today

A bill that would permanently expand state financial aid for tens of thousands of Florida college students faces a key vote today in the state Senate.The "Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018," also known as
Updated: 4 months ago
Sixth-grade students use their laptops and tablets during a science class at Tyrone Middle School in St. Petersburg. The school's Center for Innovation and Digital Learning is one of about 70 choice programs offered by the Pinellas County school system. The choice application period for the 2018-19 school year runs from Jan. 10-19. [SCOTT KEELER    |  TIMES]

Planning to apply for a Pinellas school ‘choice’ program? The time has come

If history is any guide, more than 20,000 applications from some 11,000 students will flow into the Pinellas County school system’s computers over the next two weeks as families seek access to choice programs.Those numbers have been fairly...
Updated: 5 months ago
Trying to get into a Pinellas County magnet program, fundamental school or career academy can be a game of chance, depending on how popular the program is. The application period for the 2018-19 school year runs from Jan. 10-19. After that, a computer lottery system sorts out who gets into the programs that have more applicants than available seats. [Times files]

How to navigate the Pinellas school choice lottery

Use this spreadsheet or the tables below to help decide which five programs to list in order of preference...
Updated: 5 months ago
Overall, Florida moved up four spots in the annual America's Health Rankings report. But it still ranks near the bottom on many health measures. []

How is Florida’s health? Not so great, report says

Florida slightly improved its national standing this year, rising from 36th to 32nd overall in the annual America’s Health Rankings report. But the takeaway for the nation’s third-largest state is that it has a long way to go in many important health...
Updated: 5 months ago