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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. Apr. 16• The Education Gradebook
    Ms. Euda Toural-Romero, a Spanish teacher, leads her students in a lesson using a digital board, at Excelsior Prep Charter School on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 in Tampa.
  2. Student Zachary Ashcroft wears a Mickey Mouse mask at Hillsborough High on the first day of the 2020-21 school year for Hillsborough County.
  3. Richard Corcoran, Education Commissioner of Florida,  during a roundtable discussion at Winthrop College Prep Academy,  12802 U.S. Hwy. 301, on Aug. 10, 2020 in Riverview.
  4. Apr. 14• The Education Gradebook
    A group of parents has been pressuring the Pinellas County School Board to end its mask mandate for several months.
  5. Students in the Pinellas County school district have been required to wear masks on campus since in-person classes resumed in fall 2020. The district has no plan to end the mask mandate at this point, superintendent Mike Grego said Tuesday.
  6. Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Addison Davis discussed potential budget cuts with the School Board at a recent workshop.
  7. Florida high school seniors will be allowed to graduate in spring 2021 without meeting their state testing requirements, as long as they have earned sufficient credits and an adequate grade-point average to otherwise qualify.
  8. This spring's state test results won't be held against students when it comes to third-grade promotion, high school graduation, Bright Futures scholarship eligibility and other critical issues, Florida officials announced Friday.
  9. Opponents of a measure to alter Florida's Bright Futures scholarship program spoke to the Senate Education Appropriations subcommittee from a remote site on March 23, 2021. An altered version of the bill passed the full Senate on April 8.
  10. Protestors chant and stand outside of the University Auditorium prior to the speech of Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle at the University of Florida on October 10, 2019.
  11. Students make their way off campus after the final bell rings on the first day of school at Boca Ciega High School, 924 58th St S, on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020 in Gulfport.
  12. Apr. 6• The Education Gradebook
    The entrance to Union Park Charter Academy in Pasco County. The school opened in 2018.
  13. At Gulf High School in New Port Richey, students walk to school before the start of classes in August.
  14. Apr. 6• The Education Gradebook
    Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine shots are dispensed to people in vehicles on Monday, April 5, 2021, at Saint Leo University, which is serving as the host for the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution for East Pasco County. The Pasco County commission lifted its mask order on Monday, while the school district announced it would keep its mandate in place.
  15. Florida students begin their state writing and reading tests this week. Worries remain among some about in-person testing.
  16. Workers on Friday tend to the historic entrance to St. Petersburg High, which is undergoing renovations and is home to one of three International Baccalaureate programs in Pinellas County. Some of the school's IB seniors are pushing for this year's IB exams to be canceled due to safety reasons and learning barriers caused by the pandemic.
  17. Florida Standards Assessments begin Monday. Some parents of students still attending remotely don't want to send their children back to campus for the in-person tests.
  18. Florida students begin taking their state assessments on April 5. They are available in-person only.
  19. Sarah Painter, a fifth-grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary School and 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year for Pinellas County Schools, center, is introduced by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, during a press conference on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at Palm Harbor University High School. DeSantis announced his proposal to give $1000 bonuses to school principals and teachers in Florida.
  20. The Florida Department of Education will not cancel spring standardized testing in 2021. It remains undecided how the results will be used. Senators offered their input on Tuesday.
  21. Mar. 30• The Education Gradebook
    Pasco County school superintendent Kurt Browning posted a video message to parents letting them know his district will end live remote classes in fall 2021.
  22. Before the pandemic, teachers rallied in Tallahassee for better pay and financial support of public education. Some are still waiting to see their salaries boosted to the minimum level that Gov. Ron DeSantis called for.
  23. House Higher Education Appropriations chairman Rep. Rene Plasencia has proposed eliminating the $600 Bright Futures textbook stipend as part of his budget for 2021-22. The move would save the state about $37 million.