More than 102,500 students in grades K-12 are expected to walk into Pinellas County public schools Aug. 25 as classes begin for the 2009-10 school year.
Julie M. Janssen, superintendent, is scheduled to visit several schools including Gibbs High, Lakewood High, Bay Point Middle, Bay Point Elementary and James B. Sanderlin Elementary on Tuesday when the district’s 126 schools and 12 charter schools begin classes.
Twenty-six schools start the year with new principals. There are expected to be 500 buses on the roadways Tuesday, carrying about 42,650 students to and from 8,565 bus stops. Around 15,627 breakfasts and 51,219 lunches are expected to be served in school cafeterias.
More than 17,000 full and part-time employees will be at work in schools and other district facilities, focused and ready to serve students.
Parents may visit the “PCS News” section of the district website, www.pcsb.org to find school opening and closing times, immunization requirements, school supply lists and important information about H1N1 (swine) Flu.
New this year
Clearwater Fundamental is a new middle school this year resulting from the merger of Coachman Fundamental and Kennedy Middle. The location of the fundamental school will be the old site of Kennedy Middle, 1660 Palmetto St., Clearwater.
A fundamental school is a family-oriented school whose structured environment, "back-to-basics" approach and joint parent-teacher-student commitment provide quality education for all students. Important features include a focus on student responsibility and self-discipline, daily homework, a dress code that exceeds that of the school district, and required attendance at conferences and monthly parent meetings.
Madeira Beach Fundamental is the district's first K-8 school. The formation of the school came from the merger of Southside Fundamental Middle, Madeira Beach Middle and Madeira Beach Elementary.
Located on Boca Ciega Bay, this fundamental school will be on the old Madeira Beach elementary and middle school sites, 591 Tom Stuart Causeway, Madeira Beach. An 18-acre waterfront open air campus includes three wetland ecosystems, boardwalk, dock, lago habitat, artificial reefs, wetland nursery, wet lab, tank room, xeriscape gardens and demonstration aquaria.
Pinellas Park High opens a new magnet program, First Responders: National Guard Center for Emergency Management - the first of its kind in the state of Florida.
This unique and challenging four-year program will prepare students for entry into postsecondary education or employment opportunities as first responders to emergency and disaster situations. Instruction will focus on community planning, preparedness and response, emergency health care, emergency management, health safety and environmental issues, underlying principles of technology, and concepts of command and control related to emergencies and disasters of all kinds.
The Mandarin (Conversational) Chinese Program has expanded to include programs at Safety Harbor Middle (third year),Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle (second year), Clearwater High (2nd year) and Countryside High (new this school year).
New kindergarten classes have been added to the dual language immersion program at High Point Elementary and will expand to grade three this school year. The partial immersion program at Ridgecrest Elementary will grow to include grades one through three.
Students enrolled in both the dual language immersion and partial immersion program receive their instruction in Spanish for half of the day and English language the other half, resulting in children performing at or above grade level in both English and Spanish.
A new virtual middle school program has been launched that provides excellence in online learning.
More than 42,000 postcards with school bus stop information have been mailed by the transportation department. Parents of children who have moved and did not notify their child’s school of the new address need to contact their child’s assigned school.
Parents who have questions about bus transportation should call the District Call Center at 727-587-2020, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
School assignment and enrollment
Parents who still need a school assignment for 2009-10 should follow these steps:
Find Your Zoned School - Parents will first need to find their child’s zoned school. A Zoned School locator can be found on the home page of the district website, www.pcsb.org, under “PCS News.”
Reserve a Seat - To get a seat reservation, parents will need a ParentCONNECTxp User ID and Password to use the online Student Reservation System, (SDRS) located on the home page of the district website. Parents who already have a User ID and Password can reserve a seat by following the instructions on the district website. If parents do not have a User ID and Password, they should visit the nearest public school to get one. This will enable them to use the online SRS.
Register - The final step for parents to enroll their child in school is to visit the assigned school and deliver the required documents. All students must have their required immunizations before school starts. A list of required immunizations for all students is listed on the district website or parents may call a Pinellas County Health Department clinic.
Points of pride
Seventy-five percent of Pinellas County‘s graded public schools received an “A” or a “B” in the Florida A+ Plan. The district missed an “A” by two points.
The district has nine Centers of Excellence programs that provide career/technical education opportunities for students.
Pinellas County Schools has 482 National Board-Certified Teachers.
Thirty-four students were named 2009 National Merit semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine ranked the district’s elementary lunches “Best in the Nation” for the second consecutive year.
Douglas L. Jamerson and James B. Sanderlin elementaries were selected as 2009 Schools of Distinction by Magnet Schools of America.
Fuguitt and Seminole Elementaries were selected winners of the Florida State Schools of Character by the Golden Rule Foundation. They also were selected national finalists for the 2009 National Schools of Character Award by the Character Education Partnership (CEP).
Thirty schools received the 2008 Five Star School Award from the Florida Department of Education for exemplary work in family and community involvement.
For the second consecutive year, the district’s transportation department received a Promising Practices Award from the Character Education Partnership (CEP) and is the only transportation department in the U.S. to win.
The 12-month usage of selected Pinellas County Schools’ warehouse stock:
Gasoline or Diesel Fuel (for all vehicles) - 2,550,718 gallons