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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


Blog: The Gradebook

Twitter: @JeffSolochek

  1. Pasco school district, Sheriff's Office launch new social media site for parents


    This week's flooding drove home the point: There's no single point for Pasco County parents to get information about emergencies affecting their public schools.

    School district and Sheriff's Office leaders want to fill that hole.

    They've joined forces to launch a Facebook page dedicated to informing parents and others in the community about school safety issues, with plans for Twitter and Instagram feeds to follow....

  2. Florida Board of Education member likes teacher incentives, suggests research needed


    Since we first wrote about Florida's new Best and Brightest Scholarship bonus, questions and criticisms have multiplied over why the Legislature would create a reward based on teachers' own SAT and ACT scores.

    Most recently, speculation has grown that the idea emerged to support Teach For America teachers. One blogger pointed a finger at Florida Board of Education member Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, who once headed TFA's Miami operation....

  3. Florida education news: Safety, healthy lunches, Spanish lessons and more


    SAFETY: Deputies will have an increased presence in Walton school zones this year, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

    NUTRITION: Miami-Dade schools add healthier options to school lunches, State Impact Florida reports....

  4. National charter school group focuses on Florida with new operator database


    The National Association of Charter School Authorizers is working with the state of Florida to ensure that school districts and other organizations charged with approving charter schools have plenty of background information on the applicants.

    NACSA announced Monday the launch of a charter operator tracker, still in development, that provides information about charter management groups and the schools they have operated, currently or in the past. The site, available to authorizers throughout the state, includes links to performance and financial reports among other data for review....

  5. Florida testing validity study should be done on time, contractor says


    Alpine Testing Solutions, the firm conducting Florida's testing validity study, reports that its work should be completed by the Sept. 1 deadline that lawmakers set.

    The group has received much of the documentation it requested, and conducted several interviews in gathering information to help reach findings. One area where Alpine has requested more specifics is that of test administration -- perhaps the area of greatest concern after a spring filled with computer testing problems....

  6. Continued rains, flooding affect Pasco school programs


    Flooding in western Pasco County has prompted the school district to relocate children in the PLACE summer programs at four elementary schools.

    Children who normally attend Fox Hollow and Chasco elementary PLACE will be taken to Chasco Middle, those who go to Marlowe Elementary PLACE will be bused to Deer Park Elementary, and children at Anclote and Richey elementary schools will move to Cotee River Elementary. Gulf High School is also operating on a skeleton crew....

  7. Florida education news: Bonuses, sales tax, vouchers and more


    BONUSES: Collier officials weigh in on Florida's Best and Brightest teacher incentive, the Naples Daily News reports. More from the Tallahassee Democrat....

  8. Florida education news: Homelessness, short-shorts, capital projects and more


    HOMELESSNESS: Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton schools have more homeless students than many in the communities realize, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. 

    HISTORIC: The Seminole school district shuts down one of its oldest schools, My News 13 reports....

  9. Florida education news: School zones, STEM lessons, home schooling and more


    REZONING: Hernando officials seek parent feedback on proposed attendance zone changes aimed at filling under-capacity schools.

    STEM: Moffit Cancer Center and the Hillsborough Education Foundation partner to offer students more access to STEM career options....

  10. Schools still can get digital classroom funding, Florida education commissioner says


    Education commissioner Pam Stewart has repeated the Governor's Office contention that her department may release $60 million in classroom technology funding despite the governor's veto of a study lawmakers had attached to the money.

    The governor's staff argued the veto simply deleted the connection between the analysis and the money. Stewart took the same position:...

  11. 'We came for medals!' Team USA from Pasco wins Special Olympics soccer bronze


    The Land O'Lakes High School unified soccer team, representing the USA, defeated China 2-1 on Friday to claim the bronze medal at the World Special Olympics in Los Angeles. Needless to say, the players were excited.

    Andy Dunn, the district's videographer, was there.

  12. Pasco teachers, district closer to deal on evaluations


    Pasco school district officials an evaluation system in which fewer teachers attain a "highly effective" rating. United School Employees of Pasco leaders aim to keep that score open to as many teachers as possible.

    They expect to land somewhere in between.

    Early in the week, the union took a step toward the district's position, acknowledging a teacher should have at least one "innovating" mark on an evaluation to be considered "highly effective." On Thursday, district negotiators edged slightly closer to the union view, cutting their proposal for the percentage of "innovating" elements to 40 percent (down from 60 percent) in 2015-16, and 50 percent the following year....

  13. Is there time for Florida teachers to retake the ACT and get a $10K bonus?


    Florida's Best and Brightest teacher scholarship program continues to get attention -- much of it negative -- as teachers and organizations review all the ins and outs of how the bonus will work....

  14. Florida education news: Speech therapy, summer enrichment, athletic trainers and more


    THERAPISTS NEEDED: The Pasco school district struggles to hire and retain qualified speech language pathologists.

    BACK TO SCHOOL: Need info on the start of school in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando? Check out our back to school section....

  15. Hernando schools to get new public face


    The Hernando County school district has plucked its new communications and public information director from neighboring Citrus County schools.

    Karen Jordan, a program specialist for the Citrus district, is set to take over the public speaking function for Hernando the week after next. She replaces Eric Williams, who was promoted to deputy superintendent.

    Williams moved to his new post earlier this summer. Patrick Keough has filled in as spokesman but is expected to hand back that role after Jordan's arrival....