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Gulf Middle is latest school in district's principal swap

Ray Bonti, an assistant principal at River Ridge Middle/High School, is set to be named principal of Gulf Middle School.

Bonti will become the eighth principal to switch schools since Superintendent John Long announced a series of changes in March. That is when Wendell Krinn announced his resignation from Ridgewood High.

Long announced Bonti's new job in a memo to the School Board, which is expected to approve the appointment at its meeting Tuesday.

Bonti, 42, has been an assistant principal at River Ridge since 1994. Before that, he was an assistant principal at Pasco High for a year. He has worked in Pasco County since 1988, when he was hired to teach social studies.

Bonti will replace Greg Wright at Gulf Middle. On Monday, Wright will start his new job as principal of Hudson High. Wright replaces Art O'Donnell, who is Ridgewood's new principal. Krinn moved to a district job.

At least one more move is expected shortly. An assistant principal position at Hudson High still is vacant.

The board also is expected to approve a $162,000-project with the University of South Florida in which professors will study the "continuous progress" teaching technique.

Pasco launched continuous-progress classes in 1990. The teaching technique erases the lines between elementary grades and puts children of different ages side by side in the same classrooms. Instead of being assigned new teachers every school year, students stay with a core group of instructors for two or three years.

Continuous progress has made standard, grade-level curriculums moot because teachers blend lessons from different subjects into all lessons. Students are encouraged to learn at their own pace.

The project with USF also would involve professors monitoring students and teachers at Cypress Creek Elementary School in Hillsborough County. Professors will observe and question teachers from Hillsborough and Pasco about their continuous progress techniques. The USF experts also will conduct retreats where teachers can meet to talk about the different ways they approach continuous progress.

At the end of the multiyear project, the USF professors will publish a report documenting the strengths and weaknesses of continuous progress.