Thursday, May 9, 2013
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and School Board are teaming up to apply for a federal grant that might help pay for at least 24 new law enforcement positions for local campuses.
The question of whether or not to post deputies on Hillsborough County elementary school campuses has been a hot-button issue ever since the Dec. 14, 2012, Newtown, Conn., massacre rocked the nation. While Hillsborough has never witnessed an attack that compares to Newtown’s slaying of 20 children and six adults, fears have run high that it could happen here. Bullets found on Hillsborough buses in the wake of the attack and other subsequent lockdown situations, including Brandon’s recent pepper spray incident, have given rise to a desire to see security increased. Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee thinks he has a solution that could bolster the security measures already put into place by the school board. In addition to the $1 million …
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The two local high schools joined 113 other Florida campuses on the magazine’s 2013 list.
Westchase area parents and students have reason to be proud. Both of the area’s high schools made it on Newsweeks’ Top 2,000 list of the best high schools in the country. Schools selected for the honor are “those that have proven to be the most effective in turning out college-ready grads,” the magazine’s website says. Honorees are judged on such factors as graduation rate, college acceptance rate and test scores. Alonso was 1,836 on the list of 2,000. Sickles came in at 1,784. The top school in the state is the International Baccalaureate School at Bartow High. The No. 1 school in the nation, according to Newsweek, is in Bowling Green, Ky. Other area schools on the list include Chamberlain, Gaither and Plant. What do you think makes …
Monday, May 6, 2013
It's Teacher Appreciation Week! What do you want to say to that educator who meant the most to you? To the teacher who makes your child's year the best ever?
The first full week in May, every year since 1984, has been designated as Teacher Appreciation Week by the National PTA, which this year is holding a contest for parents who deliver thank-you letters to teachers May 6-10 (See contest note below). Signs at schools throughout the area give a nod to this year's appreciation celebration, as PTA volunteers, school administrators, students and parents gear up to recognize teachers who make a difference. As noted on the National PTA Web site, Teacher Appreciation Week is "a special time to honor the men and women who lend their passion and skills to educating our children." PTA events at the national, state, and local levels celebrate the outstanding contributions teachers make. Is your school, …
Thursday, April 25, 2013
The school will undergo repairs this summer.
Deer Park Elementary is getting repairs to its leaky roof, according to a decision made by the Hillsborough County School Board this week. The board approved just over $1 million to repair "water intrusion" problems with the school's roof at its Tuesday, April 23 meeting. The funds will pay for removing the problematic roof, reconstructing and painting it. The roof repairs are taking place near the school's media center. Deer Park Elementary opened in 2006. The school, located at 11605 Citrus Park Drive, is among the newer schools in the community. Work would begin on the roof repairs in May and should be completed by mid-July before school begins.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
The new academic year begins Aug. 20 for Westchase students.
Westchase parents hoping to get a jump on planning activities around next year's Hillsborough County school calendar are in luck. The school district has released its list of important dates for the 2013-14 school year. As a bonus, it’s also released a tentative academic calendar dates for 2014-15. This school year (2012-13) ends Friday, June 7, 2013 with a release time that’s 2 ½ hours earlier than normal. Students only have one more day off before the year ends. That's Monday, May 27 in honor of Memorial Day, according to the district's website. Here’s the calendar for 2013-14: For more information about the 2013-14 academic calendar or to get a sneak peek at the dates for 2014-15, visit the school district's website.
Monday, March 18, 2013
A bill under consideration in the Florida House would enable school principals to arm select teachers.
Imagine sending your children to school knowing they're protected from bad guys not by an armed deputy or security officer, but a fifth-grade English teacher with a Glock. That’s what the future may hold for school security if Florida Rep. Greg Steube, R-Bradenton, gets his way. Steube has drafted a bill that would give Florida principals the power to choose teachers who would have the right to carry weapons on campus, according to The Tampa Tribune. These teachers would have to obtain a concealed weapons permit and undergo training. Principals, by the way, would also be able to determine just how many teachers are allowed to carry, making the number vary from school to school. "It would be a good deterrent," The Tribune quoted Steube as …
Friday, February 15, 2013
The Grammy Foundation is taking nominations for its first-ever music educator award and there’s $10,000 on the line for the winner.
They battle in the trenches every day teaching youngsters about Beethoven, Bach and the importance of proper form when signing or playing a musical instrument. In some students, they inspire a simple appreciation for music. In others, they foster a passion that leads them on a path toward life on the stage. Because of all they do, the Grammy Foundation says music educators rock and now it wants to honor them with a new award it intends to roll out next year. Nominations for the first-ever Music Educator Award are now open and the Grammy Foundation is looking for suggestions from all over the country, including right here in Westchase. “For every performer who makes it to the Grammy stage, there was a teacher who played a critical role in …
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The national holiday doesn’t mean a day off for Hillsborough County public school students.
While kids in nearby Pasco County will get to enjoy a long weekend, Westchase area students are expected to hit the books Monday, Feb. 18. Presidents Day is not a day off in Hillsborough, according to the school district’s calendar. Hillsborough students, however, do get a day off their neighbors in Pasco can’t boast. For those in the west part of the county, the recent Florida State Fair Day, observed Feb. 8, provided a long weekend. Children enrolled in public schools on the east side of the county get March 4 off for Strawberry Festival Day. Youngsters in Hillsborough also have spring break to look forward to. It runs March 11-15 this year. Presidents Day is observed annually on the third Monday of February. It was originally …
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The board turned down Superintendent MaryEllen Elia's recommendation to hire 130 security officers in Hillsborough County.
Like a lot of moms around the country, the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., stood as a wakeup call for Tampa resident Bridgitte Kramer. "I'm very concerned about the safety of my children," said Kramer, whose children attend Oak Grove Elementary School on North Armenia Avenue. In fact, Kramer was so alarmed by the shooting, she sat through a five-hour Hillsborough County School Board meeting Tuesday, Jan. 15, with her two antsy children in tow, to find out if the board would agree to hire armed security guards for public elementary schools. It was a sacrifice Kramer willingly made for her own kids as well as all the other children in Hillsborough County schools. As president of the Hillsborough …
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia has called a press conference this morning to discuss long-term security plans.
What will happen to increased security measures at Westchase elementary schools is the topic of discussion at a press conference called for later this morning by Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia. The conference, set for 10:30 a.m., takes place at the Raymond O. Shelton School Administrative Center, 901 E. Kennedy Blvd. Elia, according to the district, will appear with law enforcement representatives, principals and PTA members to announce what will happen with school security after the 2012-13 academic year passes. “Elia will discuss a multifaceted, long-term plan to improve security at elementary schools during the 2013-2014 school year and beyond,” a district release said. All Hillsborough County …