News for Pinellas County families getting ready for back to school

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The first day of school for students is Wednesday, Aug. 10. On the Pinellas Schools website, families can find the new student calendar, exam, test and report card schedules, back to school nights and immunization requirements.

Back-to-School News:

New tool helps parents and schools track student attendance

Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, parents and district staff will have a new resource to help track student attendance. Pinellas County Schools is embarking on an attendance awareness campaign to stress the importance of students showing up to school, on time, each day. To assist with this effort, each Pinellas school website will feature a new icon that will allow parents to click and send an email informing the school that their student will be absent. By providing this additional avenue to families to report student absences, schools can free up resources to focus on following up with students who are absent for unknown reasons.

District uses propane-powered buses to save on fuel and maintenance costs

Pinellas County Schools will use 58 new propane-powered buses to transport students during the 2016-17 school year. Propane buses offer the district significant savings on fuel and maintenance costs, compared with traditional gasoline-powered buses. In addition to saving money, the propane buses are more environmentally friendly than traditional gasoline-powered buses.

Largo High School to begin 2016-17 school year with new campus

Largo High School will welcome students and staff back to a new campus for the 2016-17 school year. The new campus replaces the school’s previous buildings constructed in 1957. To help familiarize students and families with the new school, Largo High will host a Packer Pride day on August 6, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event will allow students to tour the campus before the official start of the school year on August 10. The school will host a ribbon cutting ceremony and tour on Thursday, August 18 from 4:45 to 6 p.m.

Three Pinellas schools are progressing toward International Baccalaureate authorization

Mildred Helms Elementary and John Hopkins and Largo middle schools were notified last month that they were accepted as IB Candidate Schools. The candidacy process requires training and extensive preparation. The schools spent last year working to adopt the IB philosophy and framework and submitted a very lengthy application for candidacy in the spring. At the elementary and middle school level, IB is a whole-school model, not a school within a school program. This means that all students who go to the schools will have exposure to the IB curriculum.

Extended hours for Student Assignment

To assist families with the registration process for the 2016-17 school year, the Student Assignment office will have extended hours on two days: 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 3 and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6. The Student Assignment office is located in the district’s Administration Building, 301 Fourth St. SW, Largo. Families can receive assistance by visiting the Student Assignment office or calling the office at 727-588-6210.

Change in school times for five Transformation Zone schools

Five schools in the district’s Transformation Zone will begin the 2016-17 school year with a new schedule. Beginning Wednesday, August 10, 2016, the school day will begin at 8:05 a.m. and conclude at 3:35 p.m. This is a change from last year’s schedule. Before and after school care will still be available at each school and will not be affected by this change.

Tech Data donates back packs and school supplies to elementary students

Tech Data will help High Point and Sandy Lane Elementary schools prepare for the 2016-17 school year by providing every student at both schools a back pack filled with school supplies. The company is part of the Executive Pass program, which pairs business leaders with principals to help support leadership within the school and students.

• Sandy Lane Elementary will deliver back packs door-to-door to families on Thursday, August 4 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. School staff will drop the back packs off at student’s homes and welcome them back for the next school year.
• High Point Elementary will distribute the back packs out to students and families during the school’s open house night on Monday, August 8 from 6 to 7 p.m.

Midtown Academy holds second job fair

Pinellas County Schools is looking for energetic and tenacious teachers ready to lead educational change at its newest school. A job fair will be held for teachers interested in investing in the lives of students at Midtown Academy, formerly known as University Preparatory Academy. Primary and secondary teachers are needed as well as a media specialist and secondary physical education and business teacher.

The job fair will be held 4:30 -7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 3 at Midtown Academy, 1701 10th St S., St. Petersburg.

We encourage that all applicants:
1. Have an active application on file with the district AND
2. Hold a valid teaching certificate or a valid Florida Statement of Eligibility OR
3. Recent graduates may substitute an official letter from the registrar stating that they have met the requirements for graduation or submit an official transcript in lieu of #2. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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