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Hillsborough County Schools

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The Florida Department of Education has released test scores for the state's third grade reading exam and the Florida Standards Assessment results are a mixed bag for Tampa Bay area school districts.

Michele Shapiro

Ignited by the deadly shooting in Parkland, tens of thousands of Tampa Bay area teenagers plan to demonstrate for gun reform on Saturday. Beyond making a statement, many of the students hope to register and mobilize young people to vote.

That’s the main message behind Tampa’s demonstration, which takes place at 10 a.m. at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, said organizer Brooke Shapiro.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

The deadly high school shooting in Parkland has people across the nation talking about how to make schools safer. Dozens of Tampa Bay residents and community leaders shared their thoughts on the issue at a recent town hall hosted by the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists.

This week on Florida Matters we’ll hear highlights from the event.


Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Community leaders talked about putting an end to school violence at a town hall in Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood Thursday night. The Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists hosted the event in response to the Parkland shooting last month that left 17 people dead.


Nobody sat in the back row.

Students filled the front rows at the center of the auditorium at Tampa’s King High School during an optional voter registration campaign put on Wednesday by the Hillsborough County Elections Office. They were chattering when they walked in, but the room silenced when county officials started speaking.

They were ready to build on a political movement started by students in South Florida after a deadly school shooting there two weeks ago.

Leona Rosado / Land O' Lakes student

While thousands of students were in Tallahassee Wednesday to push for stronger gun laws after last week’s shooting in a high school in Parkland, teenagers across Florida walked out of class in a show of solidarity.

Jodi Bardelli

Hundreds of Hillsborough County school teachers protested at Tuesday's School Board meeting in Tampa.

Friction between teachers and administrators began surfacing last month when teachers were told they would not be getting a pay raise. Under a negotiated pay plan, teachers have received a four thousand dollar increase every three years if they attain high evaluation scores. 

But now, the school district says it cannot afford the $17 million dollars it would take to pay out those performance raises to teachers and support staff.

Pixabay.com

The School Boards in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties have voted to authorize legal action to challenge a controversial new education bill.

Tampa Bay area school districts are still deciding whether to join them.

Pixabay.com

The Florida Department of Education has released school grades for the 2016-17 school year.

Wikimedia Commons

More than 4,000 people have weighed in on a plan that would change school schedules in Hillsborough County.

A 12-year-old boy says his teacher yelled at him for not standing up during the Pledge of Allegiance at a Hillsborough County school.

Florida Releases School Grades For 2016

Jul 8, 2016
Wiki Commons

Florida has released its annual report card for the state’s public schools.

The number of F-rated schools in the state dropped but there were also fewer A-rated schools.

Daylina Miller/WUSF

How do you teach kids about ecology when the natural world is shrinking around them?

In fast growing Florida, one solution is to take environmental studies outside the walls of a classroom.

Wikimedia Commons

Tampa Bay area school districts have received an Obama administration directive regarding transgender students.

A joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice calls for every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity.

It was with great fanfare in 2009 that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it was giving $100 million to Hillsborough County schools for a program called Empowering Effective Teachers -- one of just three public school districts in the country awarded the grant.

At the time, it was at the forefront of the movement to pay teachers for performance, rather than seniority.

Now, the district won't be getting a fifth of that money. And the consequences to the school district's budget are coming clear. Increases in teacher pay and bonuses haven't been matched by the Gates Foundation money or other revenue, forcing the school district to dip into its financial reserves.

Hillsborough County Public Schools

Hillsborough Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins brought the latest data on school suspensions to the Hillsborough County school board on Tuesday. He said out-of-school suspensions were down 53 percent from the same time period last year. Eakins said there were several reasons why.

"There is strong advocacy for kids," Eakins said. "There are increased interventions at school sites prior to suspension.  There is increased communication between our principals and our area superintendents." Eakins said he was "very proud" of the numbers.

Hillsborough School Board

A Tampa Bay area language arts teacher was named Florida's 2016 Teacher of the Year on Thursday night.

Diane McKee of Williams Middle Magnet School in Hillsborough County was announced the winner in a ceremony at the Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios in Orlando.

Former Hillsborough County School Superintendent MaryEllen Elia has been appointed New York education commissioner.

The New York Board of Regents voted unanimously Tuesday to hire Elia as Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York (USNY) at a salary of $250,000 a year.

SERVE, Hillsborough

Today is the day for the 2014 Great American Teach-In. Thousands of people from all walks of life will flock to schools in the region to share their stories of jobs and hobbies, to remind kids that education is what helps you get the job you want.

Of course, not all of them will be wearing a cool uniform, or flying a helicopter or driving a fire truck.