Pinellas education news: pre-K signups, choice deadline, the lunar eclipse and more

News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
Prekindergarten students at James B. Sanderlin IB World School in St. Petersburg, show the peace sign during an assembly in 2012. Signups for Pinellas County pre-K programs for the 2019-20 school year begin Monday.
Prekindergarten students at James B. Sanderlin IB World School in St. Petersburg, show the peace sign during an assembly in 2012. Signups for Pinellas County pre-K programs for the 2019-20 school year begin Monday.
Published Jan. 18, 2019

Pinellas pre-K signups start Monday

The application period to get into prekindergarten programs operated by the Pinellas County school system starts Monday and continues through Feb. 1. The school district will hold six "LEAP into Pre-Kindergarten" events to help families prepare for and apply to Pre-K 3 and Voluntary Prekindergarten, or VPK, programs. Pre-K 3 is for children who will be 3 years old on or before Sept. 1. VPK is for children who will be 4 years old on or before that same date. The events will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. at the following locations: Jan. 23 at Campbell Park Elementary; Jan. 24 at Belleair Elementary; Jan. 28 at Pinellas Park Elementary; Jan. 29 at Tarpon Springs Elementary; Jan. 30 at Fairmount Park Elementary; and Jan. 31 at Eisenhower Elementary. Parents should bring a photo ID to start the application process. They will need to log back into the district's Student Reservation System Feb. 25 to March 8 to accept an invitation. For more information about Pre-K 3, visit or call (727) 588-6000, ext. 2184. For more information about VPK, visit or call (727) 588-6513.

Choice application deadline is here

Friday is the last day to apply for spot in a Pinellas County magnet, fundamental or career program for the 2019-20 school year. Families will need a User ID and password to log onto the Student Reservation System at An ID and password can be obtained at any school. After applying, the next step in the process is to accept an invitation. To accomplish that, families must log back into the Student Reservation System between Feb. 13-22. For a list of programs or to find more information, visit Families also can call or visit the school district's Student Assignment office at (727) 588-6210.

Honors and awards

Anthony "Tony" Langhorne, a transportation field operations supervisor, was named the Pinellas County Schools 2018-19 Support Employee of the Year. Langhorne will be the district's representative for the Florida School-Related Employee of the Year. He will also receive $300 from Achieva Credit Union, the event's sponsor. According to the school district, Langhorne looks for better ways to train staff and is active as a mentor. … For the first time in the school's history, St. Petersburg High School's International Baccalaureate Programme had a 100 percent graduation rate. Following November retake exams, every student in St. Petersburg's 2017-18 IB program graduated with their IB Diploma. Students who graduate with an IB diploma earn 30 college credits and the diploma recognizes students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge on a variety of subjects. St. Petersburg High is home to Florida's first IB program.

SPC invites public to view lunar eclipse

The Gibbs campus of St. Petersburg College will host a public telescope viewing of the lunar eclipse from 10 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Sunday, if weather permits. The event will take place outside the Natural Science building, on 69th Street at Fifth Avenue North. Parking is available. The eclipse will begin at 10:34 p.m., as the full moon enters the darkest part of the earth's shadow. Over the next hour, more of the moon will disappear, with totality beginning at 11:41 p.m. The moon will remain totally eclipsed until 12:33 a.m. when it begins to slowly emerge from the Earth's shadow. The eclipse ends at 1:50 am. It can be easily viewed with the naked eye, binoculars or a small telescope. The moon is expected to have a striking orange or red color at mid-eclipse, popularly known as a "blood moon."

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Pianist Kevin Kenner at SPC Music Center

St. Petersburg College will host a piano recital with Kevin Kenner at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Music Center at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, 6605 Fifth Ave. N. Kenner is recognized around the world as an exceptional interpreter of the music of Chopin and has been singled out by leading reviewers for his Chopin performances and recordings. Admission is $10 at the door and free for SPC faculty and students with an ID.

School Board takes its meetings on the road

The Pinellas School Board will hold two upcoming meetings at city halls in different parts of the county. The board will hold one meeting at 5 p.m. Jan. 29 at the City of Oldsmar's Council Chamber, 101 State St. W in Oldsmar, and another at 5 p.m. April 23 at Gulfport City Hall, 2401 53rd St. S in Gulfport. The board's agendas will be available on the school district website,, one week before each meeting.

Elementary school lunches

Monday: Schools closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Tuesday: Cheesy bread, corn dog, Farmers' Salad or Apple-A-Day Salad, PBJ Jamwich Kit, baked beans, marinara cup, romaine side salad.

Wednesday: Chicken drumstick with hush puppy, pasta with meatballs and sauce or ravioli and roll, yogurt and fruit parfait, ham and cheese croissant, steamed broccoli florets, sliced cucumbers.

Thursday: Beef Rib-B-Q sandwich, cheese stick and toasted ravioli boat, chef salad, chicken caesar wrap, marinara cup, sweet potato waffle fries, side salad.

Friday: Fish nuggets with roll, chicken caesar salad, turkey and cheese ciabatta sandwich, mashed potatoes, fresh veggie dippers.

(Editor's note: This story has been changed to reflect the correct date of the Pinellas County School Board's meeting at Gulfport City Hall.)