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Jeffrey S. Solochek - Education Reporter

Education Reporter

I've been an education reporter for more than 25 years, in Illinois, Texas and Florida. Why stick with it? Because I see education as key to our community, whether it's about children learning, teachers and staff working, or residents seeking the best for their tax dollars. Our school systems are critical to our society, and I strive to tell you what's going on there. I've worked at the Tampa Bay Times since 2000, covering statewide education issues as well as the districts in Hernando, Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Think I've missed something? Send your ideas my way. I read all my emails.

  1. People attend a candlelight vigil for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018.
  2. Students are evacuated by police out of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, after a shooting on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.
  3. People attend a regular meeting of the Pinellas County school board on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, at the school district headquarters in Largo. Gov. Ron DeSantis says he will defend Floridians' right to speak at board meetings and fight any federal plans to curtail that right.
  4. Gov. Ron DeSantis, shown at an August roundtable discussion, held a news conference on Oct. 20, 2021, to reiterate his support for parents' right to speak at school board meetings.
  5. Pasco County School Board member Alison Crumbley would have been drawn out of her district under a plan proposed by the County Commission.   JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times
  6. Chamberlain Chiefs pitcher Lani Trent winds up a pitch during a high school softball game in 2019. The Hillsborough County School District has been reconsidering its approach to mascots that draw from Native American culture.  [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  7. Schools across Florida and the nation are struggling to find enough bus drivers to get students to school and home again in a timely fashion. Districts have looked to increased pay and changed schedules to address the problem.
  8. The Pasco County school district is considering changing all school start times in January 2022 to help cope with a bus driver shortage. [Jeffrey S. Solochek | Times]
  9. Florida health and education department officials continue to seek ways to ban schools from imposing mask mandates without opt-out provisions. Some schools are taking other steps to keep virus spread down, including the use of plastic shields.
  10. Fifth-grade science teacher Jessie Tripp, center, visits with students Synncere Kidd, left, and Trevaughn Hill, right, as the children transition between classes on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at Sandy Lane Elementary in Clearwater. Tripp's classroom, at right, lacks a door to separate the hall from the learning space.
  11. Florida K-12 Chancellor Jacob Oliva, shown speaking to the State Board of Education in 2019, says teachers' messaging that schools aren't safe is 'reckless.'
  12. Attorney General Merrick Garland has instructed federal officials to meet with local law enforcement across the nation to discuss strategies to deal with harassment and threats against school board members.    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
  13. Opponents, left, and supporters of a mask mandate, right, square off outside the Pinellas County school district headquarters before the school board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, in Largo.
  14. Oct. 13• The Education Gradebook
    Pasco County school superintendent Kurt Browning chats with School Board member Alison Crumbley at a board meeting in November 2020. A County Commission plan would draw Crumbley out of her member district.
  15. Commissioner Kathryn Starkey's second home will now be in her commission district.
  16. An unidentified, anti-mask protester was escorted out of a Hillsborough County School Board retreat in May.
  17. The entrance to Fivay High School, where the teacher of the year is facing a reprimand over accusations he submitted falsified records relating to 10 special education students.
  18. In this image from a YouTube video, the Wiregrass Ranch High School Band performs in May. Wiregrass Ranch and John Long Middle School make up one of four new pathways that students interested in orchestra can apply to through Pasco County's choice process.
  19. Activist Ben Frazier, left, is asks to leave after shouting chants of "Allow teachers to teach the truth" during a Board of Education meeting Thursday, where members banned critical race theory.
  20. Residents ask the Pinellas County School Board on Sept. 28 to delay approval of purchases they said might contain elements of "critical race theory." The board approved the items without comment.
  21. The Florida State Board of Education at a meeting June 10, 2021, in Jacksonville. The board met by telephone on Oct. 7 to discuss school district masking policies.
  22. St Petersburg High School students, Sydney Conroy, 17, left and Toby Lam, 17 both wear a masks as they walk to the school for the first day of classes for the new school season. "I'm unvaccinated and I want to be safe," said Conroy.
  23. Busses arrive at Sunlake High School during the first day of school for Pasco County Students on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in Land O’ Lakes.