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Helping ‘exceptional’ kids, more Discovery Nights and other Pinellas education news

News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.

District invites input on serving ‘exceptional’ students

The Pinellas County school system is asking families and other community members to share ideas for improving service to disabled and gifted students through exceptional student education programs, known as ESE. The school district’s ESE Advisory Committee is holding meetings throughout the county this year to give more people a chance to participate. The next meeting will be from 6 to 7:30 pm on Wednesday at Gibbs High, 850 34th St. S in St. Petersburg. Registration is required to accommodate everyone interested in attending. For more information or to register, contact Tracy McMannus at (727) 588-6062.

20 choice programs host Discovery Nights

Bay Point Middle teacher Lisa Walton shows Charlie Stacks, then 9 years old, a project during a Discovery Night at the school in 2013. Bay Point's Center for the Advancement of the Sciences and Technology is one of 20 programs opening their doors to prospective students and parents over the next week.

Twenty choice programs in 12 schools will hold Discovery Nights over the next week as the Pinellas County school system invites families to explore options for 2020-21. 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. More Discovery Nights 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


Exploring Careers and Education in Leadership (ExCEL) - Largo High


Academy for Culinary Arts - Northeast High

Academy of Finance - Northeast High

Academy of Information Technology - Northeast High

Automotive Manufacturing Technology Center - Northeast High

Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education - Tarpon Springs High

Center for the Advancement of the Sciences and Technology - Bay Point Middle (5:30 p.m.)

Conservatory for the Arts (6:30 p.m.) - Sandy Lane Elementary

Jacobson Culinary Arts Academy - Tarpon Springs High

Leadership Conservatory for the Arts - Tarpon Springs High

Veterinary Science Academy - Tarpon Springs High


Academy of Engineering - Azalea Middle

Academy of Entertainment Arts - Dixie Hollins High

Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education - Dixie Hollins High

Center for Culinary Arts - Dixie Hollins High

Center for Education and Leadership - Seminole High

Madeira Beach Fundamental (K-8)


Clearwater Fundamental Middle

Montessori Academy - Gulfport Elementary

Pinellas County Center for the Arts (PCCA) - Gibbs High

School system names top support employees

Semifinalists in five categories are in the running to be named 2019-20 Support Employee of the Year for Pinellas County Schools. The group was selected from 135 nominees. The finalists and their categories are as follows. Classroom Support: Dave Bupp, Educational Alternative Services; Jeanette Rubin, Fairmount Park Elementary; and Nancy Correa-Torres, Sexton Elementary. Clerical: Charla Pinnow, Gus Starvos Institute; Dana Ziecheck, San Jose Elementary; and Marie Jantschek, Osceola Fundamental High. Food Service: Regina Dixon, Gibbs High; Stacey Kopita, Orange Grove Elementary; and Tamra Ingrassia, Belcher Elementary. Maintenance/Safety/Health/Transportation: Tina Rosato, Nina Harris ESE Center; Pamela Layliev, Leila Davis Elementary; and Bruce Green, John Hopkins Middle. Plant Operations: Jessie Scott, Richard L. Sanders School; Terry LaCotts, Westgate Elementary; and John Randolph, Anona Elementary. A winner in each category will be announced Nov. 20. An overall winner, to be announced Jan. 10, will be selected from the five category finalists.

Shakespeare on tap at Eckerd College

Over four days, Eckerd College will stage plays by William Shakespeare at Bininger Theater on campus. “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” is described as “an energetic, whimsical look at the works of The Bard.” Performances, directed by Eckerd theater professor Gavin Hawk, are set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, through Friday, Nov. 22, and at 2 p.m. Nov. 23. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for nonstudent Eckerd community members and free for students. The Eckerd campus is at 4200 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg.

Elementary school lunches

Monday: Chicken tender basket with crispy fries and roll, Max Cheese Sticks, fruit and yogurt plate, deli meat and cheese sandwich, marinara cup, green beans, fresh veggie dippers with yellow squash.

Tuesday: Teriyaki beef dippers with rice and chow mein noodles, grilled cheese, chicken caesar salad, Jamwich Kit, tomato soup, romaine side salad.

Wednesday: Chicken fajita bowl, pasta and meat sauce, yogurt and fruit parfait, ham and cheese croissant, spinach or collard greens, sliced cucumbers.

Thursday: Thanksgiving meal (turkey and all the fixings), corn dog or hot dog, Apple-A-Day Salad, chicken caesar wrap, sweet potatoes, mixed side salad, Gobbler Cookie with every full meal.

Friday: Pizza variety, fish nuggets with roll, chef salad, turkey and cheese hoagie or sandwich, green peas, fresh veggie dippers with yellow squash.