1. Education

Pinellas education news: Last-minute help with choice applications, new education license tags and more

News and notes from Pinellas County K-12 schools and colleges.
An image of Florida’s “Support Education” specialty license tag, which recently was redesigned and is available now. When a Florida resident purchases or renews one of the tags, $20 of the fee goes to support schools, teachers and students in the county where the tag is registered. The Pinellas Education Foundation is encouraging residents to get one.
Published Jan. 11

'Assistance nights' help families with choice process

The Pinellas County school system is hosting several "assistance nights" in the coming days to help families navigate the application process for magnet, fundamental and career programs. The application period began on Jan. 9 and ends Jan. 18. The assistance nights are scheduled for 7-8 p.m. Monday at Union Academy Family Center, 401 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Tarpon Springs; 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Gibbs High, 850 34th St. S, St. Petersburg; and 4:30-7:30 p.m. in the Student Assignment office at school district headquarters, 301 Fourth St. SW, Largo. The office also can assist families during its regular business hours, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call Student Assignment at (727) 588-6210 or visit

New design, same old purpose for education license tags

The Pinellas Education Foundation is encouraging county residents to help out by acquiring a "Support Education" specialty license plate from the state. Local education foundations in Florida receive $20 every time a resident purchases or renews the tag, which has a new beach-themed design. The money helps support schools, teachers and students in the county where each tag is registered. Since its introduction in 1994, Florida's education specialty tag has raised more than $13 million for the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations and local education foundation members throughout the state. Local education foundations invest in classroom innovation, sponsor recognition programs like teacher of the year, help pay for school supplies for students in need, and sponsor scholarships, among other activities. To purchase a specialty plate, visit a local tag office or call (727) 562-3262.

Kindergarten registration starts Monday

Families planning to send a child to kindergarten in a Pinellas County public school for 2019-20 can register starting Monday. To kick off registration, the district's "Ready, Set…Kindergarten" program will hold events at a number of elementary schools on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. In addition to registering their students, families can explore classrooms, meet teachers and find out how to get their children ready for kindergarten. Visit for a schedule of events. For more information, call the Student Assignment office at (727) 588-6210.

Signups still open for SPC spring classes

Registration is open for the spring semester at St. Petersburg College. The regular term begins Jan. 14, the Spring Weekend term begins Jan. 18 and the Spring Express term begins Feb. 11. The deadline to enroll in face-to-face and blended classes is before the start of the last class meeting of the first week of classes. For example, if the class meets at 9 a.m. Monday and Wednesday, the deadline to register is Wednesday by 8:59 a.m. For more information on classes, tuition, financial aid and the registration process, visit SPC's registration page.

Exhibit highlights work of student journalists

Students from Melrose Elementary, John Hopkins Middle and Lakewood High schools will present the "Through Our Eyes: Midtown and Beyond," a photo and multimedia exhibit held Jan. 11-28 at The Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S in St. Petersburg. An opening celebration from 5-8 p.m. today will feature student-led tours. Two additional events are scheduled at the same location — a Poetry Slam from 5-8 p.m. Saturday and A Taste of Midtown and Beyond from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, featuring cuisine from local restaurants and food vendors. Also, the exhibit will be part of the Second Saturday Artwalk from 5-9 p.m. Saturday in St. Petersburg. "Through Our Eyes" features work from students in the school district's Journeys in Journalism program.

Elementary school lunches

Monday: Hamburger or cheeseburger, chicken and broccoli penne alfredo with bread stick, fruit and yogurt plate, bologna and cheese sandwich, sliced carrots, fresh veggie dippers.

Tuesday: School Favorites Day — Students choose the hot entrees and veggies. Entrée salad: Farmers or Apple-a-Day salad. Sandwich: Jamwich Kit. Romaine side salad.

Wednesday: Chicken tender basket with crinkle oven fries, macaroni and cheese, yogurt and fruit parfait, ham and cheese croissant, sliced cucumbers, spinach or collard greens.

Thursday: Beef or pork tacos, Max Cheese Sticks, chef salad, chicken caesar wrap, marinara cup, refried fiesta beans, side salad.

Friday: Pizza, teriyaki chicken bowl, chicken caesar salad, turkey and cheese ciabatta sandwich, green beans, fresh veggie dippers.

To find other lunch menus, visit the school district's food and nutrition web page.


  1. Adjunct faculty at St. Petersburg College voted to unionize Tuesday, joining thousands of other adjuncts across Florida who are fighting for better working conditions and pay. [Times]
    The employees are the seventh group in Florida to join Service Employees International Union in recent yeas as it pushes for investment in the state’s higher education institutions.
  2. A pauper's cemetery was established at the northeast corner of property now occupied by King High School in Tampa, location of the school gymnasium (tall building at top left) and the main parking lot. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Conflicting versions emerge of where Ridgewood Cemetery was located. One thing is certain: It was ignored or forgotten.
  3. The University of South Florida ranked ahead of UCF, FIU and FAU in the U.S. News & World Report's Global University Rankings. [USF handout]
    The University of Florida finished 105th, while USF came in at 310. Harvard led the world.
  4. Workers begin construction in 2010 on what would become Winding Waters K-8. That was the last new public school built in Hernando County, which faces capacity strains as officials ask for impact fee increases to keep up with growth. HERNANDO TODAY PHOTO BY HAYLEY M  |  Hernando Today
    The district first would add classrooms at three existing schools, but could need four new schools by 2039.
  5. Rep. Bruce Antone, D-Orlando, says the Legislative Black Caucus will prioritize both public education and school choice during the 2020 Florida session. The caucus held a news conference on Oct. 22, 2019. The Florida Channel
    The caucus announced its 2020 goals for justice, housing and other key issues, as well, with members saying they will stick together to pursue them.
  6. Pre-season baseball practice at Wesley Chapel High School. Lawmakers want to ensure student-athletes remain safe in the Florida heat as they participate in high school sports. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    PreK-12 Innovation chairman Rep. Ralph Massullo expects legislation requiring some ‘simple things.’
  7. First-year Cox Elementary School teacher Kevin Knibbs, 33, of Dade City, answers questions about the components of time: hours, minutes, seconds, to his third-grade class on Monday, September 30, 2019, at the school in Date City. From left are students Angel Young, 8, Arlene Luna, 8, and Jahkia Gray, 8. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  8. Special Olympics athlete Lucas Yingling, 7, is cheered on by Pasco-Hernando State College basketball player Hayden Greene during a conditioning clinic held at Wendell Krinn Technical High in New Port Richey. Michele Miller
    Team members help Special Olympians hone their skills.
  9. First-year Cox Elementary School teacher Kevin Knibbs, 33, of Dade City, walks with students Angel Young, 8, left, and Kaivion Williams, 9, right, while en route to his third-grade class on Sept. 30 at the school in Date City. Knibbs decided to become an educator after working as a school custodian. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Kevin Knibbs never thought about working with students — until he started interacting with them.
  10. Bayonet Point Middle School teacher Cynthia Thompson wants to become Pasco County schools superintendent. Courtesy of Cynthia Thompson
    Cynthia Thompson is a graduation enhancement instructor at Bayonet Point Middle School.