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Pinellas school news: 'STEAM' festival on Saturday, school property tax on ballot, book donations needed

Published Apr. 20, 2016

FESTIVAL TO FOCUS ON 'STEAM' CAREERS

Students, youth groups, civic and church organizations are invited to a free event to boost knowledge of, and participation in STEAM, which refers to science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The "Self-eSTEAM Fest" will be held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at the St. Petersburg College Allstate Center, 3200 34th St. S, St. Petersburg. It is geared to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Interactive exhibits will feature Lego robotics, science experiments, music and dance demonstrations, and more — all intended to familiarize students with the topic of STEAM and introduce them to possibilities for STEAM careers. In addition to participating in the exhibits, students will have a chance to meet with STEAM professionals, plus enter in a chance to win a tablet computer and other prizes. Sponsors include the St. Petersburg College Center of Excellence, the City of St. Petersburg, Pinellas County Urban League Young Professionals, and The Links, Inc. Registration for the festival will begin at 9 a.m.

Special Pinellas school tax to be on ballot again

Pinellas County voters again will be asked to renew a special property tax used to bolster teacher salaries, provide up-to-date textbooks and classroom technology, and beef up arts, music and reading programs. The School Board has unanimously approved a resolution placing the tax — which is 50 cents on every $1,000 of assessed valuation — on the Nov. 8 ballot. Voters originally approved the tax in 2004 and renewed it in 2008 and 2012. According to the school district, referendum funds have been used for such things as new or expanded classroom libraries, additional supplies, increased training for teachers, updated computers and other technology such as iPads and Smart Boards. This school year, the money has been used to supplement teacher salaries by an average of $3,400 per teacher. For more information on how the money is spent, visit pcsb.org/referendum.

Individual honors

Students from Dunedin Highland Middle School and Forest Lakes Elementary School have been invited to compete next month in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in Iowa, joining more than 800 other teams. Dunedin will send an eighth-grade team, which took first place in its division, and a seventh-grade team, which took second place. The Forest Lakes team took first place in its region and second place at state. Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. … Belleair Elementary has received $50,000 from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children, which is administered by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The school will use the grant to improve reading proficiency and learning.

Encourage summer reading by donating books

As part of an effort to curb learning losses over the summer, the Pinellas school system is joining with community partners to put books in the hands of students, and is asking the public to help by donating books. Drop off dates and times for the "Fill the Bus" drive are: 8-10 a.m., Monday at the school district administration building, 301 Fourth St SW, Largo; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday at Tyrone Square Mall, 6901 22nd Ave N, St. Petersburg; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday at Largo Mall, 10500 Ulmerton Road, Largo; and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday at at Countryside Mall, 27001 U.S. 19 N, Clearwater. Donations also are being accepted at Barnes & Noble stores and online. To learn more about the campaign, find suggested books and how to donate, visit pcsb.org/summerreading or contact Kim Christy at christyk@pcsb.org.

Elementary school lunches

Monday: Max sticks, teriyaki chicken rice bowl with roll, chef salad, turkey and cheese hoagie, marinara cup, stir fry vegetables, veggie dippers.

Tuesday: School Favorite Day. Menu to be chosen by a group of students at each individual school.

Wednesday: Chicken nuggets, spaghetti and meatballs, farmer's salad, ham and cheese croissant, seasoned carrots, sliced cucumbers.

Thursday: Beef or pork tacos, Giorgio cheesy bread, chicken caesar salad, Italian sub, marinara cup, refried fiesta beans, mixed or tossed side salad.

Friday: Pizza, baja fish sticks with hushpuppies, veggie double dipper salad, school favorite sandwich, wax beans, veggie dippers.

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