Pinellas is launching its second new summer program in as many years, targeting hundreds more students atop the thousands already enrolled in summer learning.
Dubbed "Algebra Boot Camp," the six-week summer program will enroll incoming freshmen at each of Pinellas' 17 high schools who are signed up to take Algebra 1 in the fall.
Last year, only 34 percent of ninth-graders passed the algebra end-of-course exam — significantly below the state average of 52 percent. Under state law, students can't graduate without passing Algebra 1....
Pinellas received so much interest in its newest elementary schools that officials have decided to create an additional kindergarten class at Gulf Beaches Elementary.
Both Gulf Beaches in St. Pete Beach and Kings Highway Elementary in Clearwater are reopening this fall as countywide tech magnets.
After last month's initial application period, both schools had wait lists for kindergarten. Bill Lawrence, director of student assignment, said it's typical for new schools to see the greatest number of applications at entry grades like kindergarten, sixth grade and ninth grade....
Everyone is bleary-eyed at the Passover table, if they're in the right spirit, the adults from red wine, the children from staying up past bedtime. The point of the holiday, for the Jewish people, is to relax. They celebrate the exodus of their people from slavery in ancient Egypt by singing songs and slouching — it's encouraged — in pillow-backed chairs.
That's not the case this year, say local parents. On days when their children are supposed to be home celebrating, area districts have scheduled the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test....
Charles Rutledge, who sued to desegregate Pinellas schools, died last month.
Rutledge and five other African-American families sued the Pinellas School Board in the federal case Leon W. Bradley Jr. vs. the Board of Public Instruction of Pinellas County.
Rutledge was 89 when he passed away on March. 21 after an illness. He was the last surviving plaintiff.
Andy Meacham, who writes obituaries for the Times, talked with Enrique Escarraz III, the lawyer who took over the case after James B. Sanderlin became a judge....
At Tuesday's school board workshop, Pinellas director of operations Michael Bessette is scheduled to present an updated agreement with area police precincts on student misconduct.
The goal of the plan, which has evolved over the last few months, is to cut down on the number of student arrests at schools by establishing what an arrestable offense is and what lesser options are available for disciplining students....
Pinellas has packed its Tuesday workshop agenda to the brim, so if you're invested in any issue from extended learning and algebra to the school system budget and student discipline, consider showing your face.
In the meantime, a quick thing caught the Gradebook's eye in documents about summer training: All teachers at Gulf Beaches and Kings Highway elementaries will receive special training over the summer....
Pinellas school board members approved the hire of an Orange County administrator this week to lead the district'c career, technical and adult education department.
David Barnes, the current executive director of CTAE, is retiring. Of the 38 applications Pinellas received, Superintendent Mike Grego recommended they hire William Hunt. He starts Monday.
The job isn't a far stretch for Hunt, who is the senior director of career and technical education for Orange County. He has also served as the director of career and tech education in Osceola, though his roots are local: In the 1990s, Hunt was lead automative instructor at Erwin Technical Center in Hillsborough....
Pinellas school officials are interviewing candidates to lead two new elementary schools, and expect to choose their top pick for each school next week.
Ten people applied to be the principal at Kings Highway Elementary, along with eight applicants to lead Gulf Beaches Elementary, new technology magnet schools drawing students countywide....
Catherine Fievet, a teacher at Lynch Elementary School in St. Petersburg, was slated to be fired today.
In a memo to school board members, Superintendent Mike Grego said Fievet was tardy so often that, as of March 3, she had only been on-time 22 days this school year.
She also used her cell phone at least five times during class, and surfed websites like Facebook, Pinterest and the Huffing Post, also during class....
Updated 3:20 p.m.
Robin Wikle recently mentioned to Gradebook that she and her husband bought property in Citrus County. Pinellas's neighbor to the north, Citrus elects its superintendents - and the next election is in 2016. Is Wikle going to run?
"I can't say yes and I can't say no," Wikle said after today's school board meeting. Read: It's a possibility....
Exactly how Florida got here, to 2014, is difficult to say. This is the year when its schools are supposed to finish their transition to a new system of teacher evaluations, yet politicians don't understand them and educators say they don't work.
The value-added model, or VAM, for rating a Florida teacher's contribution to a student's learning has confused everyone from House Speaker Will Weatherford to the Hillsborough Teacher of the Year, who received a negative VAM score along with his title....
Pinellas County will be cutting ESE teaching aide positions. This is something we know.
"The total number of ESE associates will be going down," district spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra wrote in an email on March 21.
Since then, Gradebook has been pressing to know how many positions will be cut, as well as where and why. ESE aides support teachers and work directly with students with special needs....
College is funny. Geoffrey Fella, a skinny senior with a handlebar mustache, knows it. He lives it. Says all he has to do is point to it. There is no other time in students' lives when they'll have this much structure. There is no other time when they will all live together. Swipe a card and there's food for them. Walk into the classes prepared for them.
"People are taking care of us like we're babies," says Fella. "All we have to do is make sure we wake up at the right time, and don't destroy ourselves, and that's not even happening. People go crazy all the time."...
LARGO — After a decade of not opening any schools, Pinellas County wants to launch a third new school this year, superintendent Mike Grego announced Tuesday.
The plan came about after Gulf Coast Academy, an alternative charter high school in Largo with about 350 students, decided to close its doors.
Gulf Coast and another charter, Imagine Middle School in St. Petersburg, are calling it quits this summer amid chronically low performance, district officials said at a School Board workshop....
Three Pinellas charter schools and one would-be charter have been singled out for a discussion at the Pinellas School Board workshop on Tuesday.
Dot Clark, the Pinellas administrator who oversees charter school applications, "will provide a status report of select charter schools in the district." They are: Imagine Middle, Gulfcoast, Pinellas Academy of Math and Science and University Prep....