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Pinellas education news: Discovery Nights, gadgets for needy kids and more

News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
Students make their way to new classrooms on March 18, 2019 at Melrose Elementary, which received $26 million in improvements recently. The school is home to the Center for Communications, Journalism & Multimedia Studies, which will welcome families for a Discovery Night at 6 p.m. Tuesday. [Times (2019)]
Students make their way to new classrooms on March 18, 2019 at Melrose Elementary, which received $26 million in improvements recently. The school is home to the Center for Communications, Journalism & Multimedia Studies, which will welcome families for a Discovery Night at 6 p.m. Tuesday. [Times (2019)]
Published Nov. 7, 2019
Updated Nov. 11, 2019

Ten schools to host Discovery Nights

The Pinellas County school system continues its schedule of Discovery Nights over the next week, offering families a chance to get a close-up look at choice programs. Most of the events start at 6 p.m., unless otherwise noted, and typically last one to two hours. Applications will be accepted online Jan. 8–17. Discovery Nights for more programs are scheduled into mid-December. For a full list and more information about school choice options, visit or call the school district’s Student Assignment office at (727) 588–6210. Also consult the Times’ annual School Search guide at


Center for Gifted Studies and Literacy Innovation - Elisa Nelson Elementary (5:30 p.m.)


Center for Communications, Journalism & Multimedia Studies - Melrose Elementary

IB Primary Years Programme - Mildred Helms Elementary IB World School

Richard O. Jacobson Technical High (all programs)


Center for Advancement of the Sciences and Technology - Bay Point Elementary

Center for Gifted Studies - Morgan Fitzgerald Middle

Criminal Justice Academy - Pinellas Park High


Center for Digital Learning and STEAM - Kings Highway Elementary

Center for the Arts and International Studies - Perkins Elementary

Center for Wellness and Medical Professions - Palm Harbor University High

International Baccalaureate program - Palm Harbor University High

SPC drive seeks laptops and more for kids who need technology

St. Petersburg College is collaborating with eSmart Recycling this month to collect gadgets for local children who don’t have access to technology. The program is seeking donations of old laptops, computers, tablets, keyboards, printers, stereos, fax machines and more, regardless of their condition. For a complete list of acceptable items, visit Contributors who would like to receive a Certificate of Data Destruction from eSmart Recycling should write their email address on a sticker and place it on the donated item. Donations will be accepted at two locations: The SPC Seminole Campus, UP 192, at 9200 113th St. N, from Nov. 4-22 (9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m.-noon Friday), and the SPC Bay Pines STEM Center, 4723 Bay Pines Terrace, from Nov. 20-22 (8 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday). Anyone with question about personal data destruction may call (813) 501-7768. For additional information, call Chad Mairn at (727) 394-6917 or Erica Moulton at (727) 344-8043.

Eckerd College exhibit highlights plastic waste

Eckerd College will host a one-evening exhibition of art created from single-use plastic waste from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday in Wrenn Hall at the James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences. All submissions to the “Used Once, Lasts Forever” art competition will be on display. Contest winners in a variety of categories, including People’s Choice, will be announced during the event. This community-wide event aims to increase awareness of the environmental impacts of abundant and unnecessary single-use plastic consumption while offering a creative way to repurpose discarded items. Sponsored by the Reduce Single-Use Project and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program.

Honors and awards

From left: Jonathan Ogle, the Pinellas school district's visual arts specialist; Todd Still, the youth education director at Dunedin Fine Art Center; and five students who won awards: Greta Welfring, Athena Axley, Anna Shell, Olivia Szymanska and Molly Moraniec. At right is Krista Schilling, an art teacher representing the Pinellas Art Education Association. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Schools]

The Dunedin Fine Art Center will display artwork by 72 students through Dec. 13 as part of its Creative Start exhibit. Awards went to five of the students: Greta Welfring, a kindergarten student at Safety Harbor Elementary; Anna Shell, a first-grader at Perkins Elementary; Molly Moraniec, a second-grader at Northwest Elementary; Athena Axley, a third-grader at Southern Oak Elementary; and Olivia Szymanska, a fifth-grader at Ozona Elementary. ...

Amber Robinson [Courtesy of Pinellas County Schools]

Amber Robinson, a teacher at Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Elementary, was named the 2019 Outstanding Elementary School Educator by the Florida Association of Science Teachers. Her contributions include developing STEM integrated curriculum that uses engineering as the link among the science, mathematics, and language arts components. ... Laura Spence, a STEM supervisor with the Pinellas County school system, was chosen to showcase the district’s STEM programs to an international contingent of women STEM leaders visiting the district as part of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The group visited the district earlier this month.

Elementary school lunches

Monday: Cheeseburger or hamburger, cheese sticks and toasted ravioli boat, fruit and yogurt plate, deli meat and cheese sandwich, marinara cup, Tater Tots, fresh veggie dippers with yellow squash.

Tuesday: Beef or pork tacos, cheese pizza crunchers, chicken caesar salad, Jamwich Kit, refried Beans, romaine side salad.

Wednesday: Mandarin Orange Chicken Bowl, macaroni and cheese, yogurt and fruit parfait, ham and cheese croissant, steamed broccoli, sliced cucumbers.

Thursday: Student Choice Menu - students choose the hot entrees and vegetable options. Entrée salad: Apple-a-Day Salad. Sandwich: chicken caesar wrap. Mixed side salad.

Friday: Pizza variety, chicken and waffle, chef salad, turkey and cheese hoagie or sandwich, mixed vegetables, fresh veggie dippers with yellow squash.


  1. The Pinellas County school system is offering driver education camps to hundreds of students like this one over the summer. The program will be held over two sessions at nine high school campuses across the county.
  2. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis (center) and School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) sign Davis' contract with the Hillsborough County School District after it was unanimously approved by the school board on February 18, 2020.
  3. The attendance zones for Northwest, Gulf Highlands and Fox Hollow elementary schools would shift under a proposed rezoning that also includes the closing of Hudson Elementary.
  4. Incoming Hillsborough School Superintendent Addison Davis (center), School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) and the other board members pose as Davis signs his contract with the district on Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved the contract beforehand.
  5. Jarvis Delon West was arrested on child neglect charges after he didn't report an employee at AMI Kids who slammed a boy to the ground, according to police.
  6. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)
  7. Prekindergarten students at James B. Sanderlin IB World School in St. Petersburg, show the peace sign during an assembly in 2012. New state data show children in prekindergarten are better prepared for kindergarten than those who don't attend.
  8. Leon County fifth-grader Ingrid Hanley asks the Senate Education Committee not to adopt legislation that would get tougher on D-rated schools, during a Feb. 17, 2020, session.
  9. Nadia King, 6, is smiles for a photo. The special-needs student was taken from school Feb. 4 and placed in a mental health facility under Florida's Baker Act, and now her mother and a team of attorneys are asking why.
  10. The Voluntary Prekindergarten room is one feature of the new Bardmoor Branch of the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg. The location also includes a child-care center and Preschool Academy.
  11. Robert Nathaniel Bacon, 54, left, was arrested on a felony charge of operating a drug house in addition to a charge of methamphetamine possession.
Martin Skelly, 41, was arrested on multiple drug charges, including possessing and selling methamphetamine and heroin with 1,000 feet of a school.
  12. FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooter opened fire on the campus. School districts continue to improve their security plans in the aftermath. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)