TAMPA — Teaching kindergarteners how to make slime seems like a good idea — when you're 12.
For Darius Troupe, the reality was noisy and messy, but worth it when he saw the children's smiles.
"I see my future when I was standing up in front of that classroom," said the fifth-grader at Booker T. Washington Elementary, critiquing the experience in the final days of school....
A longstanding high school graduation tradition is falling by the wayside -- and some say it's about time.
One by one, some schools have abandoned the practice of dressing graduates in gowns of contrasting colors, white for honors students, or those with a high grade point average; and a darker color for the rest.
"I have brought up the issue at church and at work and I could see the visible facial trauma of those adults who told me their high school had different robes based on GPA," former School Board candidate Cathy James wrote in a letter to Supervisor Jeff Eakins. "Graduation should be a time of celebration, not segregation. Each member of a graduating class should remember their graduation ceremony as a unification with their classmates, not another example of how we divide each other."
A quick spin through the webast videos shows that some high schools -- Gaither and Armwood, for example -- still use contrasting robe colors....
TAMPA — Hillsborough County public school teachers are happy. They feel safe in their schools. Principals give them the materials and help they need.
That's the district's reading of this year's Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning survey, which shows rates of agreement to positive statements at 80 percent and above.
But those are averages. A closer look at Hillsborough's neediest schools shows teachers are not so happy....
It pulls no punches, and forget about any notion that Hillsborough has been selling out to the charter school movement....
TAMPA — The Hillsborough School Board gave superintendent Jeff Eakins a new three-year contract, telling him at a meeting Tuesday evening that they were amazed he turned down offers of a raise.
Eakins, who makes $225,000 a year plus benefits, refused to take a standard 3 percent increase after the first year of the new contract. He also declined, during negotiations, to consider the higher salaries of superintendents in other districts, leaving his pay rate unchanged....
The Hillsborough County School Board on Tuesday approved these new principals:
At Pierce Middle School, Pablo Gallego, 43. Gallego has been the school's acting principal since Raymond Padgett was transferred to the district's communications office in 2016. Gallego has been with the district since 2002. He taught at Bellamy and Morgan Woods elementary schools and became an administrative resource teacher at Pierce in 2012, promoted in 2013 to assistant principal. ...
In a question-and-answer document to inform the community about a planned merger between Cahoon Elementary School and Van Buren Middle School, the Hillsborough district gave three reasons when asked why Van Buren is operating at 41 percent of capacity:
Choice, families moving, and personal preference....
TAMPA — Children who live near Potter Elementary School will have a new option in August. An early learning center is opening just steps away, serving kindergarten and first grade, with plans to expand later.
It's one of several projects under way to assist Potter, a four-time F school whose troubles have attracted widespread attention in recent months.
With pastors pressuring the school district to do more for Potter, a new committee will link its kindergarten teachers with the preschools nearby. And Potter will become a teacher training site for the University of South Florida....
TAMPA — Not everybody gets a second chance.
Charlie Curtis knew that after he collapsed while running the mile in gym class at Plant High School.
He's known it in the three years since, while spreading the word about the importance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
He knows it even more this week, as the Class of 2017 prepares to graduate while mourning the recent deaths of two of its members, Katie Golden and Bella Galan-Valdes....
NOTE: This story has been revised to correct errors in the first post.
This is Part I of our report on Hillsborough's Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning report.
Part II will include a school-by-school spreadsheet, which we are expecting any day now.
TAMPA —After months of Facebook chatter and petition drives, parents and homeowners will get one more chance on Tuesday to try and talk politicians out of rezoning their children's schools.
The Hillsborough County School Board plans to take up a complicated boundary plan at its 3 p.m. meeting. In all, it affects more than a dozen schools in affluent New Tampa and working-class North Tampa....
TAMPA — Strapped for cash even before the Legislature voted this week to skimp on per-student funding, Hillsborough County's public schools are now bracing for more bad news.
The state's proposed new budget could slow initiatives designed to help students meet graduation requirements, and even lead to a hiring freeze, superintendent Jeff Eakins said Wednesday.
The Hillsborough County School Board on Tuesday will vote to renew Superintendent Jeff Eakins' contract.
And, unlike the first contract, this one has something that incurred some criticism for his predecessor -- performance bonuses....
TAMPA — A teacher at Riverview High School who was accused by a conservative organization of banning crosses while advocating for gay rights has been cleared of wrongdoing after a school district investigation.
Lora Jane Riedas, who teaches freshman math and is faculty advisor of Riverview's Gay Straight Alliance, said she did not allow rosaries, as they are considered gang symbols and not allowed in the school dress code....
Hillsborough County School Board chairwoman was one of several board members who stood with Superintendent Jeff Eakins to speak out against the state education bill that comes up for a vote late on Monday. Here is what she said about how the bill came together:
"The process of a few individuals making decisions behind closed doors for all is very alarming. As elected officials, we must have transparency in all that we do, especially in something as important as investment in public education in our children....