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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

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  1. 29 Bay-area students receive National Merit Scholarships

    Blog

    The National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced its first round of college-sponsored scholarships to graduating seniors on Wednesday. About 2,200 students received the awards nationwide.

    Among them were 29 students from Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. They are:

    Eric Briggs, East Lake HS
    Jacquelyn Nagy, Gulf HS
    Lisa Goldworthy, Sunlake HS
    Emily Suvannasankha, Land O'Lakes HS
    Wendy Smith, Steinbrenner HS
    Katherine Jones, Hillsborough HS
    Taylor Cavaliere, East Lake HS
    Ariel Perry-Mills, Palm Harbor University HS
    Daniel Rosato, East Lake HS
    Sara Scharf, Palm Harbor University HS
    Jeremy Stephen, East Lake HS
    Michael Pothoven, home school, Plant City
    David Beck, home school, Riverview
    Ryan Schipfer, Robinson HS
    Trenton Sweigart, St. Petersburg HS
    Katherina Fucci, Shorecrest Preparatory School
    Rachel Panico, Lakewood HS Center for Advanced Technologies
    Rahul Borra, Carrollwood Day School
    Alexander Harris, Middleton HS
    Eric Luo, King HS
    Christina Maldonado, Hillsborough HS
    Jenna McKinney, Plant HS
    Kathy Nguyen, Robinson HS
    John Qin, King HS
    Daniel Suen, King HS
    Lily Tang, Wharton HS
    Joseph Gallagher, Bloomingdale HS
    Christopher Springfield, Durant HS
    Olivia Sunna, Wiregrass Ranch HS...

  2. Florida gets one bid to review its testing validity

    Blog

    The panel asked to choose a firm to review the validity of Florida's new testing system doesn't appear to have much work to do when it meets Friday.

    Only one group has submitted a bid to do the work....

  3. Some Pasco schools shuffle principals

    Blog

    Principal changes are afoot for some Pasco County schools as the district prepares for its administrative reappointments.

    Katie Lail, who has led Pasco Elementary in Dade City since 2011, will retire after 27 years with the district. Her staff learned Wednesday morning that Nena Green, the school's well-liked assistant principal, has been recommended to take over the top job.

    Green, who joined the district from out-of-state in 2012, will come to the School Board for approval on June 16....

  4. Florida education news: MaryEllen Elia, UF online, high school for sale and more

    Blog

    NEXT STOP, NEW YORK: Ousted Hillsborough superintendent MaryEllen Elia lands on her feet as New York State's next education commissioner. More from Newsday, Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Buffalo News....

  5. Pasco teacher gets reprimand over testing

    Blog

    A Pasco County math teacher who faced an investigation over concerns that she encouraged students to opt out of a state end-of-course exam has received a formal reprimand for her action.

    Meredith Jewell, a district teacher since 2005, has told the district she plans to submit a rebuttal to some of the specific accusations against her. Mitchell High School principal Jim Michaels wrote in his reprimand that Jewell deviated from set procedures for administering tests, in that she discussed the possibility of opting out of the exams with students and made them believe she supported that decision....

  6. MaryEllen Elia snares top New York education post

    Blog

    UPDATE: The New York Board of Regents unanimously voted to install MaryEllen Elia as their next state education chancellor just before 4 p.m. She is to begin on July 6.

    ORIGINAL POST: MaryEllen Elia, recently let go as Hillsborough County schools superintendent, wasn't out of the business for long....

  7. Pasco school district taxable value rises

    Blog

    A second consecutive $1 billion increase in local property values will bolster the Pasco County school district's bottom line for the coming fiscal year.

    Property appraiser Mike Wells informed district officials that their estimated taxable value for fiscal 2016 is $23.46 billion, up from $22.41 billion a year ago. The higher values should contribute to a stronger budget picture for the district as leaders seek to expand programs and improve salaries....

  8. Florida education news: Testing, Spanish lessons, magnet schools and more

    Blog

    TESTING: The Palm Beach School Board will ask Gov. Rick Scott to halt the negative consequences associated with state testing, the Palm Beach Post reports.

    HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: Proposals to overhaul high school sports oversight won't return in Florida's special legislative session, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports....

  9. Florida education news: High-poverty schools, online learning, sand skinks and more

    Blog

    TOUGHER TIMES: Hillsborough and Pinellas teachers find it more difficult to teach at high-poverty schools.

    ONLINE LEARNING: Florida Virtual School offers students desired flexibility, the Panama City News Herald reports....

  10. Florida education news: Testing, superintendents, reading and more

    Blog

    TESTING: Students and teachers react to the Florida Department of Education's decision not to count math end-of-course exams.

    SUPERINTENDENTS: The Brevard School Board agrees to consider non-traditional candidates for its next superintendent, Florida Today reports. • Manatee deputy superintendent Diana Greene ponders her options as her School Board seeks a new leader, the Bradenton Herald reports....

  11. They studied, they took the test, and the state said never mind

    Testing

    TAMPA — Spencer Coleman felt confident after taking Florida's geometry end-of-course exam this spring.

    The test would count for 30 percent of his semester mark, and he was sure he did well enough to boost his "average" course grade.

    Imagine his dismay, then, after learning Thursday that despite a year spent working to pass this test, his score would be thrown out.

    Why? Nagging concerns that the tests might not be valid. ...

    “I don’t want to put more stress on top of what I already have,” said Sunlake High freshman Connor Jones.
  12. Florida education news: Valedictorians, charter schools, science lessons and more

    Blog

    TOP OF THEIR CLASS: Pinellas County high schools name valedictorians and salutatorians. • Some Brevard high schools change their policies regarding valedictorians, Florida Today reports....

  13. Pasco school officials call for full education funding in 2015-16

    Blog

    While Florida Board of Education members urge lawmakers to meet the governor's call for historic per-student funding, superintendents have a slightly different message.

    They want lawmakers, who head into a budget special session June 1, to fully fund the growing number of students entering the school system....

  14. Florida education commissioner takes heat over tweet

    Blog

    The Florida Department of Education posted to Twitter on Thursday what officials hoped would be an inspirational, supportive message from commissioner Pam Stewart....

  15. Florida education news: Community school, flunk fees, class times and more

    Blog

    COMMUNITY SCHOOL: Hillsborough's Sulphur Springs Elementary prepares for conversion to a K-8 community school to better serve neighborhood children.

    MOVING ON: Joe Sabin retires as principal of Jesuit High after 44 years at the school. • Twins Jake and Jon Wahl graduate Bishop McLaughlin High as their class salutatorian and valedictorian....