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


    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....

  2. Pasco teacher gets reprimand over testing


    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....

  3. MaryEllen Elia snares top New York education post


    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....

  4. Pasco school district taxable value rises


    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....

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


    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....

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


    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....

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


    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....

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


    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.
  9. Florida education news: Valedictorians, charter schools, science lessons and more


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

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


    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....

  11. Florida education commissioner takes heat over tweet


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

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


    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....

  13. Zephyrhills High principal announces his retirement


    Zephyrhills High School needs a new principal for the next academic year.

    Andy Frelick, who lately has come under fire from teachers and some parents, has announced his retirement after 30 years with the Pasco school district. He let his teachers and staff know the news via email on Wednesday:...

  14. State to vendors: AIR will help Florida test validity review


    The panel assigned to pick a firm that will review Florida's testing validity promised to answer any vendor questions in the week leading to the selection.

    It appears that just one firm, Alpine Testing Solutions of Orem, Utah, submitted a query by the May 19 deadline. It asked logistical questions, such as whether Memorial Day would affect submission deadlines. But it also inquired about just how much help Florida's testing provider American Institutes for Research would support the review process....

  15. Florida education news: Commissioner evaluation, student spending, lunch room trays and more


    TOP MARKS: Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart gets a strong evaluation from the Board of Education, with slight mention of recent testing woes. • The board also debated how much school technology is needed in Florida schools, and for what purposes, WFSU reports....