Mostly Cloudy94° FULL FORECASTMostly Cloudy94° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page
Instagram

Jeffrey S. Solochek, Times Staff Writer

Jeffrey S. Solochek

Jeffrey S. Solochek writes about schools and education for the Tampa Bay Times. Solochek has covered the school districts in Hernando, Hillsborough and Pasco counties since joining the Times in 2000. He also oversees The Gradebook education blog.

Phone: (813) 909-4614

Email: jsolochek@tampabay.com

Blog: The Gradebook

Twitter: @JeffSolochek

link
  1. Ten Florida school districts seek state incentive for student uniforms

    Blog

    The Florida Legislature's lure of $10 per student in exchange for mandatory K-8 uniforms attracted 10 school districts and one lab school by the Sept. 1 deadline.

    Most of the applicants already had such dress codes in place. Several other districts, including all those in the Tampa area, indicated that they would not seek the funding, which was capped at $10 million, because they did not have enough time to discuss the concept with parents and adopt a policy if enough support existed....

  2. Are you a 'relator'? Some Pasco district officials share their strengths on their emails

    Blog

    Several Pasco County school district leaders lately have taken to including five words in their email signatures.

    Teaching and learning director Steve Williams, for instance, puts "Responsibility | Deliberative | Strategic | Learner | Relator." Federal programs senior supervisor Tammy Rabon's are "Strategic • Achiever • Individualization • Developer • Learner."

    So what gives?...

  3. Florida education news: Charter schools, testing, gifted programs and more

    Blog

    CHARTER SCHOOLS: A Pasco charter school runs into contract snags when trying to schedule parent-teacher conferences. * Teachers from a closed Escambia charter school are still waiting for their final paychecks, the Pensacola News-Journal reports....

  4. Use caution in reading Florida test validity study, author says

    Blog

    Florida's testing validity study, released Tuesday, seemed to have something for everybody within its 186 pages.

    "Independent review confirms Florida Standards Assessment is valid," the Department of Education declared, saying the results would be used for school grades and teacher evaluations....

  5. Classical Preparatory Academy may have to align schedule with school district's

    K12

    Classical Preparatory Academy, the charter school founded by powerful state Rep. Richard Corcoran's wife, Anne, has run afoul of the Pasco County School District with its plans to cancel three class days to hold parent-teacher conferences.

    The idea, written into the school's 2015-16 calendar and distributed to parents, violates Classical Prep's contract with the School Board, district officials told Anne Corcoran in a letter sent late Friday....

  6. Did Jeb's foundation get an early peek at the Florida testing validity study?

    Blog

    Amid the flurry of reactions to Florida's testing validity study came a press release from Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future.

    While most reporters focused on the message, some activists in the testing reform world zeroed in on the date of the statement: Aug. 31. That's a day before the report became public....

  7. Florida education news: Student voices, validity study, cell phones and more

    Blog

    FAILURE FACTORIES: Children attending five persistently failing Pinellas elementary schools tell their stories.

    VALIDITY STUDY: An independent review of Florida Standards Assessments finds problems with the testing and suggests limiting use of the results. More coverage from the Orlando Sentinel, Miami HeraldState Impact Florida, Associated Press, Panama City News Herald, Politico Florida, Ledger, Herald Tribune, Tallahassee Democrat...

  8. New principal named for Pasco River Ridge High School

    Blog

    The Pasco County School Board rounded out its principal ranks on Tuesday, with the appointment of Toni Zetzsche as leader of River Ridge High School.

    River Ridge unexpectedly needed a new principal after the abrupt resignation of Maria Swanson, who ran the school since 2009, amid allegations of an inappropriate relationship with an assistant principal....

  9. Study finds flaws in Florida's computerized testing, but state will use the results anyway

    Testing

    A $600,000 study of Florida's new computerized tests found problems in "just about every aspect" of their rollout last spring. It found "suspect" scores and concluded the testing fell short of the "normal rigor and standardization." What's more, the study was unable to pinpoint where the troubles occurred.

    All in all, though, Alpine Testing Solutions suggested the Florida Standards Assessments did what they were intended to do — measure student performance on state standards — and said the state still could use the results to grade schools and evaluate teachers....

    Paul R. Smith Middle School language arts teacher Mari Ebert works with sixth grade students on preparing for the Florida Standards Assessments. [BRENDAN FITTERER  | Times]
  10. Florida testing validity study results due this morning

    Blog

    After a short delay, Florida's long awaited testing validity study results are due out Tuesday morning....

  11. Florida education news: Testing, dual enrollment, Confederate flags and more

    Blog

    TESTING: The Florida Board of Education chairwoman says Seminole County's proposal to use national instead of state tests won't work, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Meanwhile, Lake school district officials say they like the idea, the Sentinel reports. * State lawmakers repeat calls for damages and more if Florida's tests are deemed invalid, Politico Florida reports....

  12. Pasco charter school gets warning from district over calendars, contract

    Blog

    Classical Preparatory Academy, the charter school founded by powerful state Rep. Richard Corcoran's wife, Anne, has run afoul of the Pasco County school district with its plans to cancel three class days to hold parent-teacher conferences.

    The idea, written into the school's 2015-16 calendar and distributed to parents, violates Classical Prep's contract with the School Board, district officials told Anne Corcoran in a letter sent late Friday....

  13. Pasco schools put off in effort to secure graduation site

    Blog

    Since at least 2006, most Pasco County high schools have used the USF Sun Dome for their graduation ceremonies. So district purchasing director Nicole Westmoreland didn't expect any problems securing the location for four days of commencements this coming June.

    When Westmoreland delivered a signed contract and deposit last week, though, she got a big surprise: Hillsborough County schools, which haven't used the Dome in four or five years, had right of first refusal....

    2014 Wiregrass Ranch High graduation at the Sun Dome
  14. Teachers note improvement at Pasco's Zephyrhills High School

    Blog

    When Zephyrhills High School had problems, teachers there were among the first to let superintendent Kurt Browning know it.

    Now that things have calmed down, with a new principal at the helm, the school's teacher union building representative figured Browning should hear that, too. So on the first day of classes, just after students headed home, Cat Burgess fired off a note to the superintendent....

  15. Florida education news: Failing, rezoning, expanding and more

    Blog

    FAILING FORWARD: A Pasco elementary magnet school teaches kids that failure can breed success.

    SCHOOL BOUNDARIES: Hernando families will get a say as the district redraws attendance zones....