1. Education

Pinellas education news: Choice programs, kindergarten signups, perfect test scores and more

Lakewood High School students William Kline, left, and Nathan Hamilton recently earned the highest possible composite score on the ACT, a 36, along with another Lakewood student who requested not to be named. All three students are in the school’s Center for Advanced Technologies. [Courtesy of Willie Smith, Spartan News Network]
Published Apr. 5

Some school choice programs still have openings for 2019-20

Pinellas County families looking for an option besides their zoned school still can apply for a seat in one of the district's choice programs. While most seats were taken during the choice lottery earlier this year, the school district says spots remain available at many magnet, fundamental and career programs for 2019-20. Geographic application area restrictions for several programs have been lifted, allowing students who live in other areas of the county to apply. After parents apply, schools with available seats will contact parents to invite students to attend. Parents can also contact program coordinators to find out the status of their late applications. For more information, visit or call the district's Student Assignment office at (727) 588-6210.

Pinellas urges families to sign up for kindergarten soon

Pinellas school officials are encouraging families to register children for kindergarten by May 29, before the end of the school year. Those with children currently attending a Voluntary Prekindergarten program in the school district will not need to register them as they will be automatically assigned to their zoned school. To register, visit For more information, visit or call the district's Student Assignment office at (727) 588-6210.

Schools, city host art and music festival Saturday

The University of South Florida St. Petersburg, the city of St. Petersburg and St. Petersburg College are collaborating to present the Good Vibes Only Art & Music Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Williams Park. The family friendly event is free and will feature a performance by CeCe Teneal & The Soul Komotion, plus food trucks, a rock climbing wall, an art bus, a silent disco and more. Williams Park is at Second Avenue N and Fourth Street in downtown St. Petersburg. For more information, contact Frank Jurkovic at or (727) 341-7974.

Honors and awards

Jacob Harrison, a junior in Largo High's International Baccalaureate program, earned a perfect score of score of 1600 on the SAT recently. Jacob is also the math team captain, vice president of the Science Olympiad team, is on the wrestling and swimming teams, and volunteers as a chemistry tutor. … At Lakewood High, Nathan Hamilton, William Kline and another student who wanted to remain unnamed recently earned the highest possible composite score on the ACT, a 36. Last year, only 2,760 of the more than 2 million graduates who took the ACT earned that score. All three of the Lakewood students are in the school's Center for Advanced Technologies. … Megan Nelson, a senior at Boca Ciega High, placed ninth overall at the National Air Rifle Championships in the JROTC's Army category. The competition featured more than 7,800 competitors. … Tarpon Springs High School's Jazz Ensemble is one of 15 finalists selected to compete in the 24th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. The festival is the nation's premier jazz education event and will be held May 9-11 in New York City. … Dixie Hollins High has earned the College Board's AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award, in recognition of efforts by the school and teacher Jacob Kolosey to close the gender gap in computer science.

Elementary school lunches

Monday: Breaded chicken sandwich, loaded beef and cheese nachos, fruit and yogurt plate, bologna and cheese sandwich, Santa Fe black beans, fresh veggie dippers.

Tuesday: Mandarin chicken lo mein bowl with egg roll, grilled cheese sandwich, Farmers' Salad or Apple-A-Day Salad, PBJ Jamwich Kit, tomato soup, romaine side salad.

Wednesday: Teriyaki beef dippers over rice or lo mein noodles, chicken nuggets with dip cup, yogurt and fruit parfait, ham and cheese croissant, sliced cucumbers, steamed broccoli florets.

Thursday: Breakfast for lunch, mini cheese calzones, chef salad, chicken caesar wrap, marinara cup, deli-roasted potatoes, side salad.

Friday: Pizza, cheesy or spicy fish filet sandwich, chicken caesar salad, turkey and cheese ciabatta sandwich, corn niblets, fresh veggie dippers.

For all lunch menus, visit the school district's Food and Nutrition site.


  1. In this image from a Pinellas County school district video, former School Board member Lee Benjamin motions to someone he knows while sitting with family members during at 2013 ceremony to name the Northeast High School gymnasium in his honor. Mr. Benjamin was the school's first basketball coach in 1954 and later became Northeast's principal in a long career with Pinellas schools that included 14 years on the School Board. He died Wednesday at age 92. Pinellas County Schools
    He was a teacher, coach and eventually the principal of Northeast High in St. Petersburg. Then he became a district administrator and later, a School Board member.
  2. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri chairs the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which is preparing its second round of recommendations for lawmakers.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  3. University of South Florida forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle pieces together a skull that might have been Amelia Earhart's. SANDRA C. ROA  |  University of South Florida
    DNA from a skull found in 1940 could prove whether the famous aviator has been found.
  4. A Hernando County Sheriff's deputy talks to students in the cafeteria of Brooksville Elementary School in 2018. Earlier this month, the school district put forward a proposal to move away from a contract with the Sheriff and establish its own police force. On Tuesday, it announced it would drop that idea.
    Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis spoke out this week against the proposal.
  5. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    The sides have not set a time to resume discussions on teacher pay.
  6. Vials of medical marijuana oil. [Monica Herndon | Tampa Bay Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. The Pasco County school district is considering adopting a policy for student medical marijuana use on district property. [Getty Images]
    The rule will not change the district’s current approach to the touchy topic.
  8. Shown in 2002, Carolyn Hill, then the principal of Kenly Elementary School in east Tampa, celebrated after 78 of her students improved their state scores and were treated to lunch at The Colonnade Restaurant. Hill, now deceased, might be honored Tuesday as the Hillsborough County School Board considers naming a school for her in the SouthShore area. STAFF  |  Tampa Bay Times
    School Board members will select a name on Tuesday
  9. Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, 55, is now in his 11th year leading the fourth largest school district in the nation. Miami Herald
    The charismatic leader of the nation’s fourth-largest school district has a complicated legacy. He almost took over the Pinellas County School District in 2008.
  10. Alachua County school superintendent Karen Clarke welcomes the crowd at a "listening session" Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 to discuss changes in the Florida's education standards. A similar session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at Jefferson High, 4401 W Cypress St. in Tampa. The Florida Channel
    A roundup of stories from around the state.