As summer draws to a close, I am optimistic about the journey ahead for Pinellas County Schools. It promises to be an exciting school year for our district as we strive to meet the needs of students and respond to the changing landscape of the 21st century.
This spring our district was awarded a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Next Generation Systems Initiative grant to expand personalized learning opportunities for students. Personalized learning tailors what, when, how and where students learn to each student’s individual needs and interests.
The district is working on a plan to create a model school focused on personalized learning for 2015-16. Several schools are also creating plans to have personalized learning programs at their schools the same school year: Clearwater, Northeast, Pinellas Park and Seminole High, in cooperation with Career Academies of Seminole.
As we enter the new school year, we are proud of our efforts to close the student achievement gap. Over the summer, we continued extended learning opportunities for students grades K-12 with Summer Bridge and Algebra 1 boot camp for ninth graders. We are seeing positive trends in graduation rates among our minority students. Among African-American students’ graduation rates have increased by nearly 10 percent since 2011. We have also been recognized by The College Board as a Gold Status District for the overall enrollment and pass rate of minority students in Advanced Placement courses.
As we approach the 2014-15 school year, the Pinellas Educuation Foundation has provided a list of to-do items each parent, teacher and community member should consider. Our children become successful adults when we work together and provide them with opportunities for growth and achievement. Information on the items listed below can be found on the Pinellas Education Foundation’s website at www.pinellaseducation.org.
Once you realize your little one is no longer a toddler, it’s time for yet another milestone - kindergarten.
There are many ways you can help your child prepare for this big step. Rather than focusing only on ABCs and numbers, concentrate more on cooperation, playing well with others and following directions. All of these skills could help your child get ahead.
Here are three ways to prepare your child for this important transition.
Remember when a modern classroom meant blackboards, overhead projectors and number two pencils? Fast-forward 40 years - yesterday’s classroom of the future is now today’s classroom.
In a typical Pinellas County Schools classroom, blackboards have been replaced with SMART Boards, interactive touch-sensitive white boards that can be used to collaborate and communicate with students. Libraries are now called multimedia centers and traditional textbooks are supplemented with tablets and eReaders.
With more than 150 schools including magnets, career academies, adult education centers and a virtual school, Pinellas County Schools offers families more than 60 parental choice programs to serve students.
Families have a wealth of choices suited to individual student’s interests, talents and abilities, from neighborhood and magnet schools to leadership programs and gifted studies. In fact, the district saw a substantial uptick in student applications to its choice programs over the last two years. This school year, PCS will implement even more options.
As an admittedly nerdy child, I always couldn’t wait for back-to-school time. I’d eagerly await the letter in elementary and middle school that announced who I would have for teachers the following year and then would call all my friends to see if we’d be in the same classes.
A new school year meant new school supplies with crisp, blank notebooks just waiting to be filled with new knowledge and the occasional doodle. It meant new teachers, new challenges, new friends and reuniting with old friends.
Since 1962, Pinellas Technical Education Centers has provided students with a first-rate career and technical education with an emphasis on postsecondary education. PTEC offers more than 40 exciting career areas and about 60 programs that range from cosmetology to air conditioning, refrigeration to heating technology.
PTEC also offers continuing education courses and commercial training services through its Industry Services Department. Approximately 12,000 students per year attend PTEC for full-time career and apprenticeship programs, continuing education courses or commercial training classes for industries.
Immunizations Before registering for school entry, your child must have a recent school physical within the past year and a completed and certified Florida Certificate of Immunization appropriate for your child’s grade level.
All Pinellas County Health Department Centers provide free immunizations. For immunization information, contact your physician or the Pinellas County Health Department.
- Clearwater Center, 310 N. Myrtle Ave., 469-5800.
TARPON SPRINGS - Marvin Bright greets a student each day, introduces himself before his day starts. Before meetings and appointments and phone calls, he shakes the hand of a doe-eyed freshman or a seasoned senior.
“Hi, I’m Dr. Marvin Bright. I’m the new provost at St. Petersburg College Tarpon Springs.”
Just two weeks into his new job, Bright says he’s still figuring things out and transitioning, but he has big plans for the college.