CLEARWATER - In professional sports, chemistry is considered an overrated aspect of a team’s success, or failure. But in high school athletics, on-field chemistry can be as important as getting a good grade in chemistry class.
The Calvary Christian Warriors baseball team is currently enjoying one of the most successful seasons in program history, owning an unblemished 16-0 record at the time of this writing, sitting atop the unofficial top 25 in Tampa Bay standings and coming off a huge, come-from-behind road win at perennial Pinellas County power, Countryside.
And to a person, Warriors coaches, players and administrators cite consistency and team chemistry as the keys to Calvary’s success.
LARGO - For the second year in a row, Pinellas County Schools earned the top score in Florida and is a top 10 district in the nation for school choice for families. The rankings from the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C., are based on 13 categories of policy and practice.
In 2016, Pinellas County Schools ranked 10th nationally and earned high marks for alternatives to traditional schools, accessibility to virtual courses, accessible online choice information, and relevant online student performance data.
ST. PETERSBURG - The free Pinellas County Schools Parent University will be held 8 to 11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 22, at Gibbs High School, 850 34th St. S., St. Petersburg.
At Parent University, there will be workshops about ways parents can help their children with math, reading and science. There will be information about graduation requirements, financing college, transitioning to middle and high school, digital learning tools, STEM and SAT practice using Khan Academy. There also will be free hearing and/or vision screenings; school and/or sports physicals; adolescent vaccines to include incoming seventh-graders and computer access to sign up for PCS Parent Portal.
PALM HARBOR - David Melnick, a Lake St. George Elementary School food service manager, was named one of the five finalists by Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart for the 2017 School-Related Employee of the Year.
This program recognizes outstanding education support personnel for the significant contributions they make to the students and families in their schools and districts. The statewide winner will be presented with a $5,000 cash prize at the annual awards breakfast on April 21 in Orlando.
OLDSMAR - To say it’s been a year filled with extreme highs and lows for the Oldsmar Christian boy’s varsity basketball team would be an understatement.
Last spring, former Eagles head coach Jordan Fair left to join Rick Pitino’s staff at the University of Louisville, with Fair’s assistant coach and former OCS player John Bianchi quickly stepping in to take over the program. Then, in June, 19-year-old former Eagles player Herman Williams collapsed and died during a pickup game in his hometown of Marianna, Florida. Finally, after jumping out to a 7-0 mark to start this season, a midseason losing stretch had everyone questioning the state of the team.
Pinellas County Schools earned top-10 ranking in the annual Digital School Districts Survey.
The award recognizes districts for exemplary use of technology for innovative curriculum and improved student learning. Awards are presented by the Center for Digital Education at the National School Boards Association annual conference each spring.
The late application period for Pinellas County Schools choice programs is underway.
Currently, many district application programs have seats available for students. In addition, geographic application area restrictions have been lifted for several programs during the late application period. This means students countywide can apply to these programs, as long as program criteria are met. Parents of students participating in these programs must provide transportation for their child if they live outside the initial application area.
LARGO - The Pinellas County School District is working with community partners again this year to curb the summer reading slide.
Over the summer, many families lose access to critical supports that keep students engaged in learning. The district’s summer reading initiative puts books into the hands of students, tracks their progress and provides incentives to increase their engagement in reading.
The Workforce Institute at St. Petersburg College will be offering the following courses in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in April and May:
- One-day UAS Overview Course - Saturday, April 29, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at SPC EpiCenter, 13805 58th St. N., Clearwater. This one-day introductory course includes hands-on flight lessons for students, flight demonstrations and drone displays, FAA airspace regulations, appropriate use of drones, weather topics, and resources for drone operators. To complete registration, visit bit.ly/2nIlF2Z.
Teresa Grundy of Cross Bayou Elementary School has been named the winner of the first Guiding Light Award by the Pinellas Braille Group. The award recognizes the skills and hard work of teachers of the visually impaired in Pinellas County.
Grundy has worked with visually impaired students for a number of years to teach them skills including mobility, and most importantly, how to read ... and how to read Braille. She has amassed a vast library of children’s books she uses to engage her students and has developed a specific curriculum to teach her students that other county teachers of the visually impaired have adopted, commonly known as the “Grundy Curriculum.”
ST. PETERSBURG - Recently Gov. Rick Scott announced the appointment of Katherine E. Cole as the newest St. Petersburg College Trustee.
Cole will join the board alongside Chair Bill Foster, Vice-Chair Nathan Stonecipher and Trustee Deveron Gibbons.
Cole, of Belleair, is an attorney with Hill Ward Henderson, where her practice primarily involves representing real estate owners in the development of commercial projects and residential subdivisions. Her practice areas also include land use and zoning, real estate acquisition and development and governmental relations.
SEMINOLE - Legislation under consideration by the Florida Legislature to reform Florida’s criminal justice system will be discussed at a forum on Thursday, April 13, 6 to 8 p.m., in the conference center at St. Petersburg College’s Seminole campus, 9200 113th St. N., Seminole.
The forum, titled Florida Criminal Justice Reform: 2017 and Beyond, is the fifth in a continuing series presented by the Project on Accountable Justice, of which SPC is a partner.
Students in Florida, including three from Pinellas, recently returned home from an “out of this world” experience. The students participated in the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
More than 300 students from 45 countries and 27 states were given the opportunity to participate in the same training simulations as NASA astronauts. The program featured simulated astronaut training and shuttle missions (including a moon walk); meeting NASA scientists, engineers and former astronauts; designing, building and testing their own rockets; and developing computer programs to calculate their rocket's altitude and velocity.
ST. PETERSBURG - USF St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska recently appointed Allyson Leggett Watson as dean of the college of education.
In providing leadership for the college, Watson will oversee the faculty and work closely with the university’s leadership team to develop strategies to achieve USFSP’s academic goals and objectives. She will join USFSP this summer.
ST. PETERSBURG - The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Eckerd College recently released its 2017 summer term catalog of more than 40 non-credit classes and activities designed for people age 50-plus and open to all adult learners across Pinellas County.
As a first-time feature, OLLI will begin the summer term with a cinema presentation of the nationally popular Technology, Entertainment and Design talks recorded the week prior in Vancouver, BC.
SR Education Group, a leading education research publisher founded in 2004, recently published the results of its research and analysis of military-friendly online colleges. St. Petersburg College was named one of the 2017 Top Military Friendly Online Colleges.
The organization evaluated accredited colleges offering online degrees on the basis of key factors of military-friendly education in an online environment in order to develop a list of the 2017 Top Military-Friendly Online Schools. Additionally, SR Education Group highlights colleges with outstanding financial support for military students in the 2017 Top Yellow Ribbon Online Schools, and features military-friendly schools with the lowest annual tuition rates in the 2017 Most Affordable Military-Friendly Online Colleges.
CLEARWATER - The 2017 Barnes & Noble My Favorite Teacher Contest ran from Jan. 4 until March 1, and gave middle and high school students the opportunity to tell their communities just how much they appreciate their teachers.
Students nominated their favorite teacher by writing essays, poems or thank-you letters that shared how their teacher had influenced their life and why they appreciated and admired their teacher. The local winner of the My Favorite Teacher contest who will be honored at Barnes & Noble Clearwater is Mary Esther Jensen, a mathematics teacher at Espiritu Santo Catholic School.
CLEARWATER - Barnes & Noble Clearwater will celebrate Spring Educator Appreciation Days, April 1-9.
Barnes & Noble Clearwater and Barnes & Noble.com will offer pre-K-12 public, private and home-school educators and administrators special discounts, events, sweepstakes and giveaways during this time. Barnes & Noble’s Educator Appreciation Days occur several times during the year, recognizing educators and providing them with an opportunity to explore the company’s vast selection of products, learn about programs and events, as well as save money with deeper discounts.
DUNEDIN - James Manders, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School’s athletic director and physical education instructor, recently received Dunedin’s 2017 Top Apple Award for Health and Wellness.
“I would like to thank everyone who nominated me for this award,” Manders said in a press release.” I would also like to thank everyone who participated in the programs that were a great success: Jump Rope for Heart, Biggest Loser - OLL edition and the Florida Senior Games basketball tournament volunteer staff.”
DUNEDIN - With a background in promotion and marketing, it’s no surprise Gary Kiefer has quickly increased the awareness surrounding Dunedin High’s softball program.
Thanks to a pregame routine that features raucous, smoke-filled player introductions, a larger presence on social media, and reestablished connections to Falcons teams of the past, Kiefer, in his second year at the helm, has given the program a much-needed boost of energy.
The result has been record crowds for home games at Highlander Park and a reemergence of community pride in the team.