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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. Land O'Lakes, Fivay principals offer thoughts on improved school grades

    Blog

    If Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart said it once, she said it a half dozen times for emphasis: Despite higher scores, 55 Florida high schools improved their state-issued grades in 2013-14.

    Two of those high schools, Fivay and Land O'Lakes, are in Pasco County. Fivay, which at one point hovered close to a state turnaround, improved from C to B. Land O'Lakes, usually the county's top performing school, bumped its B back to an A....

  2. Florida education news: School grades, attendance zones, tax votes and more

    Blog

    SCHOOL GRADES: Fewer Florida high schools earn A grades, but the state's graduation rate inches higher.

    ATTENDANCE ZONES: Some southeast Hillsborough families are upset about proposed school boundary changes to deal with growth....

  3. 100 Pasco teachers win grants for creative instruction ideas

    Blog

    Every year, teachers end up spending money from their own pockets to support their classroom projects. The Pasco Education Foundation seeks to cushion the impact by offering grants to educators who make compelling arguments for how their needs would benefit student learning.

    This year, the foundation has chosen 100 recipients for the awards. From the looks of the list, some schools are much more active in seeking the support than others....

  4. Pasco high schools see grade improvements as state ratings emerge

    Blog

    Florida's high school grades are due out soon. But already, some of the information is making its way to the public eye.

    Of Pasco's thirteen high schools, five earned A's, four received B's and four made C's. Two schools -- Land O'Lakes and Fivay -- had their grades rise one letter, while two -- Pasco and Gulf -- declined by one letter grade. The district also saw a jump in its graduation rate, from 75.9 percent a year ago to 79.4 percent in 2014. That's higher than the state rate of 76.1 percent....

  5. Fewer Florida high schools get A's, but graduation rates inch higher

    K12

    The number of Florida high schools earning an A in the last academic year fell by 25 percent as the state again changed its grading criteria.

    The state's graduation rate, meanwhile, inched up to 76.1 percent, an 11-year high, the Florida Department of Education reported Thursday. Pasco County had the Tampa Bay region's highest graduation rate, at 79.4 percent, while Pinellas County had the greatest rise, 4.3 percentage points....

  6. Florida education news: Testing, charter schools, English-language learners and more

    Blog

    TESTING: The Pasco School Board opts for a letter to lawmakers to express its concerns over state accountability issues. • Senate President Andy Gardiner includes a testing review among his legislative session priorities....

  7. With the arrival of 2015, Pasco schools set to get new principals

    K12

    Two Pasco schools will get new principals to start 2015.

    Jessica Clements will lead Lake Myrtle Elementary, taking over for Jason Petry, who recently was appointed principal of the district's new magnet school. Michele DiIorio, assistant principal at Chasco Elementary, will move to the top spot at that school.

    They are scheduled to begin on Jan. 5.

    Clements was a teacher and magnet school coordinator in Pinellas County from 2004 to 2011, after which she became the first principal of Lutz Prep, an A-rated Hillsborough County charter school. She transferred to Windsor Charter School in Pinellas County in 2012....

  8. Pasco Gulfside Elementary School to get a new principal

    Blog

    Last night we learned that Gulfside Elementary principal Chris Clayton had been removed from the school amid allegations of inappropriate interactions with a staff member.

    Today, district officials tell the Gradebook that Clayton will not return to Gulfside, regardless of the outcome of an investigation into his behavior (details of which haven't been made public)....

  9. Allegations of inappropriate behavior cost Pasco principal his post

    K12

    HOLIDAY — The principal of Gulfside Elementary School in Pasco County was abruptly removed from his position effective Wednesday and will not come back.

    Chris Clayton, Gulfside's leader since March 2003, was placed on paid administrative leave amid allegations of inappropriate interactions with a staff member, district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said. The nature of those interactions was not disclosed....

    Officials say Chris Clayton,  Gulfside Elementary’s leader since 2003, won’t be back in that capacity.
  10. Hillsborough schools leader Elia named a finalist for national superintendent of the year

    Blog

    Hillsborough schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia soon could add another honor to her long list. Florida's 2015 superintendent of the year has been named one of four finalists for the national superintendent award.

    The other finalists for the AASA recognition are Philip Lanoue of Clarke County, Ga.; Patrick Murphy of Arlington, Va.; and Patrice Pujol of Ascension Public Schools in Louisiana....

  11. Pasco School Board to send letter to lawmakers over testing concerns

    Blog

    LAND O'LAKES — The Pasco County School Board won't be sending a resolution to state leaders calling for a delay of the consequences associated with Florida's accountability testing.

    Board members decided Tuesday night to write a letter detailing their concerns, instead.

    "We do have the attention of our legislators now," said board member Alison Crumbley, who recently met with local lawmakers to talk about testing. "Maybe the resolution might not have the impact we are intending."...

  12. Pasco School Board opts for letter to state officials on testing concerns

    Testing

    LAND O'LAKES — The Pasco County School Board won't be sending a resolution to state leaders calling for a delay of the consequences associated with Florida's accountability testing.

    Board members decided Tuesday night to write a letter detailing their concerns, instead.

    "We do have the attention of our legislators now," said board member Alison Crumbley, who recently met with local lawmakers to talk about testing. "Maybe the resolution might not have the impact we are intending."...

    Steve Luikart says tests are too long for elementary students.
  13. Florida voucher program should pass constitutional muster, former Justice Cantero says

    Blog

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero has taken up the cause of students who receive corporate tax credit scholarships to attend private schools. 

    He contends that the lawsuit filed by the Florida Education Association and others against the program doesn't meet the same criteria that doomed "opportunity scholarships" in Bush v. Holmes....

  14. Florida education news: Jeb Bush, hiring freeze, computer failure and more

    Blog

    JEB BUSH: Florida's former governor says he's actively looking into a presidential run. His entrance into the race would bring K-12 education into the national debate, Education Week reports. But his policies and philosophies — especially Common Core — might hurt his chancesPolitico reports....

  15. Pasco Gulfside Elementary principal removed for investigation

    Blog

    Pasco Gulfside Elementary School principal Chris Clayton has been removed from his post, effective immediately, while the district investigates allegations of inappropriate interactions with a staff member.

    Clayton, principal of the Holiday school since March 2003, is on paid administrative leave, district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said. Assistant principal Lane Morris will serve as acting principal until the matter is resolved, Cobbe said....