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Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015

Anastasia Dawson

Tribune Staff

Transgender students finding a voice in schools

- This school year Ariel Zavala started the Alonso Pride Alliance, a school club where students of all sexual orientations talk about inclusion and acceptance. Sixty students have already joined.

Upperclassmen object as UT limits on-campus housing


TAMPA — Tony Murray was outraged when he opened an email from the University of Tampa this week promising a change in on-campus housing.

District school test scores released, but leaders question their value


TAMPA — Florida’s school districts got their first taste Wednesday morning of how students performed on last school year’s new standardized tests. Yet with no set pass or fail grades, and scores eve...

Hillsborough school board approves $21 million for 200 new buses

- The purchase was OK’d about two weeks after a bus drove into a lake with children aboard — renewing community concerns about the district’s ailing fleet. The buses should arrive no later than May 31 an...

Florida stands by flawed test scores despite local concerns

- In the wake of a rocky rollout last spring of Florida’s newest standardized tests, the state’s superintendents have banned together to voice a lack of confidence in the accountability system and ask for all scor...

Manuscript discovery by USF professor sheds light on St. Augustine

- In the summer of 2012, a University of South Florida professor returned to the crumbling Spanish palace where he played as a boy.

5,000 more students fill classrooms in Hillsborough’s public schools


The Hillsborough County school district added about 5,000 students this school year, many to schools that already were beyond capacity.

Hillsborough district getting to bottom of budget shortfall


TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District is starting to unravel the mystery of what happened to its dwindling savings accounts.

Hillsborough school board workshop to focus on possible $100 million in cuts

- The board will hold its first workshop today after its new superintendent raised questions about its dwindling reserves and financial transparency. The workshop is a precursor to a Sept. 29 meeting where the budget will be...

Overtesting, new standards persuade families to switch to home schooling


Every afternoon, Mary Waugh waits anxiously by her filing bins for her four children to come home from school.

Growing USF St. Pete turns to Hilton for extra housing


TAMPA — About 100 students at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Campus have ditched dorm rooms for a semester-long stay in the luxury Hilton Bayfront Hotel, known on campus as “Residence Hall ...

Castor bill would enable more to refinance student loan debt

- A possible lifeline for those hobbled by college debt, the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, will be pushed in Congress this session by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, of Tampa.

Married couple among 10 Hillsborough school board candidates


Hillsborough County’s 2016 school board election is more than a year away, but the list of contenders for four open seats is growing longer by the day.

New pantry feeds struggling USF students


The University of South Florida prides itself on being one of the most affordable universities in the state, yet officials say some students struggle to buy food every day.

State, school district puzzle over how to use flawed test results

- An independent analysis of the test released this month said there were issues in nearly every aspect of it. The test accomplished its goals to a degree, but students’ individual scores shouldn’t factor in thei...

Robinson High students excel in IB, merit scholar programs


TAMPA — It took many sleepless nights and weekend community service projects for Wade FitzGerald to graduate with his International Baccalaureate diploma last school year, but now he says he’s reaping the b...

Contract up next year, but Genshaft says she plans to stay at USF

- Judy Genshaft delivered her 15th fall address, marking the longest tenure of any president in the university’s history. “We have so much to accomplish and I’m going to stay,” she says. “...

Hillsborough school board passes budget, airs frustrations


The Hillsborough County School Board unanimously passed a $2.8 billion budget at Tuesday’s public hearing, but not before board members expressed a slew of frustrations.

Nursing students in state programs struggle to pass licensing exam

- A new report from a state watchdog agency says an effort to graduate more nursing students has a downside: Many of those students aren’t qualified to work in area hospitals.

Hillsborough social media policy guides teacher-student interaction

- Texts and tweets between teachers and students is sensitive territory for many school districts, so the Hillsborough County School Board hopes some changes it’s making will clear up confusion and still allow for soci...

Many await results of last year’s state-mandated exams


Last year’s state-mandated exams are a distant memory for Florida high school students who already are a week into preparation for a new year of testing.

USF gives new hope to driven student with rare disease

- A poster hangs in Sam Bridgman’s bedroom of a triumphant Muhammad Ali after a boxing match, with the caption “Impossible is nothing.” Ali’s immortal words have a become a battle cry. He likes to thi...

Barron Collier III gives USF $10.85M for work-ready school


TAMPA — Barron Gift Collier III and his wife, Dana Collier, had never met the boy they helped send to the University of South Florida until he introduced them to the crowd in the USF Muma College of Business on Th...

USF student injured in Cuba crash to get flight home

- After nearly a month of waiting, a 22-year-old University of South Florida student will finally come home after a serious car accident left her stranded in Cuba with no health insurance or money for a medical airlift.

Greco Middle teachers turn over lounge to students


TAMPA — Principal Yinka Alege glided through the hallways of Greco Middle School on the first day of classes Tuesday, leaving in his wake a cloud of middle schoolers quickly tucking in their polo shirts. One stude...

Hillsborough starting school year with motto, ‘Preparing for life’


Superintendent Jeff Eakins has worked to make a good impression on the Hillsborough County School Board, community leaders and parents throughout his district, but today he&#x...

Many students lament as Robinson, Leto cuts homeroom this year

- Those students will see the communal class period cut from their schedules this year — joining the majority of students in the district whose schools only convene a homeroom as needed.

Grant arising from mass killings to fund youth mental health services


A new federal grant will provide at-risk students in Hillsborough County mental health services both in and out of school.

Hillsborough school bus drivers prepare to hit road amid fleet concerns

- Many of the nearly 1,000 buses in the district’s aging fleet are among the oldest in the state and don’t have air conditioning. A quarter of them are more than 15 years old and 20 percent have logged at least...

Dog lost leg, but new Eckerd student arrives safe after solo sail

- Sally Gardiner-Smith had never sailed on her own — or lived away from home — when she decided to make the long journey from Maine to her freshman year at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg by sailboat.

Hillsborough schools emphasizing safety along with education


In April, a student at Greco Middle School told two resource officers that a student brought a gun to school. Officers Jorge Velez and Hector Villafane quickly found the 14-year-old boy, who had a loaded .22-caliber pis...

Hillsborough school district plans for post-Gates grant era


TAMPA — As the Hillsborough County School District searches for ways to offset its leaking reserve fund, leaders are looking at a massive grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with a wary eye.

Planned downtown campus draws USF med school applications


TMore students are clamoring to enroll in the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine, lured by the promise of its move to a state-of-the-art campus in downtown Tampa, USF officials say.

Transparency key to avoiding surprises in reserve fund, school board members say


TAMPA — With only two weeks left until students across Hillsborough County head back to the classroom, superintendent Jeff Eakins and school board members are hoping to put the matter of the school district’...

Hillsborough schools plan to crack down on student dress code

- In the past, officials might have allowed minor violations like sleeve width, especially if a student rarely breaks the rules. This year, students are getting a warning: Don’t take chances.