What’s New in Pinellas County Schools for 2019-2020

  • Teaching and Learning:

    • Opening the Center for Gifted Studies and the Center for Literacy Innovation (to assist students with dyslexia and other reading difficulties) at the new Elisa Nelson Elementary School.
    • Implementing the recommendations of the K-5 Literacy Audit including increasing opportunities for students to engage in inquiry.
      • There will be collaboration with gifted, ESE and EL staff developers to include instructional supports to meet the needs of all learners. There will be increased opportunities for daily formative assessment checks as well as opportunities for teachers to regularly enter data in Performance Matters to monitor learning and growth.
    • Implementing Reading Recovery at 12 targeted schools to provide early intervention for the most struggling first-grade students as well as targeted small group intervention to students in K-2.
    • Adding Boys and Girls Lacrosse at Northeast High School and Osceola Fundamental High School for the 2019-2020 season. This will bring us to six high schools in Pinellas that play FHSAA sanctioned Lacrosse.
    • Advanced Placement teachers will be using the College Board’s newly released resources, which include clearly defined unit guides with formative assessments to better inform instruction and monitor student progress.
    • Expanding AVID to seven new schools: James B. Sanderlin IB World School (6-8) and Eisenhower, Northwest, Orange Grove, Ridgecrest, Sexton and Westgate elementary schools.
    • Continuing implementation of Elevating Excellence by building upon the model piloted at Largo High School to open a College & Career Planning Center at four additional high schools: Boca Ciega, Clearwater, Gibbs, and Pinellas Park high schools.
    • Implementing the Kindergarten Early Literacy Cohort, which will help improve teachers’ guided reading and literacy practices and provide an opportunity for teacher leadership development.
    • Growing the Summer Career Acceleration Program (SCAP), providing paid internships and industry certification preparation for high school students.
    • Offering Spanish at several VPK locations through collaboration with the district’s World Languages Department. VPK students will receive Spanish twice a week at these schools.
    • Offering a new collegiate program at East Lake High School, which will allow students to earn their Associate of Arts (AA) degree as they earn their high school diploma.
    • Offering new programs at Bayside High School, Pinellas Gulf Coast Academy and Disston Academy that give students the opportunity to participate in CTE programs for half of their school day and focus on their academic classes the remainder of the day:
      • Bayside High School will offer two new half-day programs, including Drone Pilot and Nails / Facial Specialist.
      • Pinellas Gulf Coast Academy will offer three new half-day programs, including Drone Pilot, Vision Care Technician and 911 Operator (through a partnership with the City of Largo).
      • Disston Academy will also offer three new half-day programs, including Drone Pilot, Nails/Facial Specialist and Smart Home Technology Installation Technician. 
      • Additionally, Lealman Innovation Academy will add a Cosmetology program for the 2019 school year.
    • Replacing ST Math with a new learning tool called Dreambox Learning in grades K-5.  There will be introductory training at Districtwide Training Day on August 8 and ongoing site-based support throughout the school year.
    • Making all content-area resources, curriculum guides and supplements available in one location on the Pinellas County Gateway electronic platform.
    • Refining processes within Professional Learning Communities to create and develop equity centered practices.
    • Implementing the Guide to Equitable Practices within Middle Schools.

     

    Operational Services

    • Installing and adopting IntraLogic, an emergency lockdown system that empowers any staff member on district property to initiate a lockdown during an emergency. Once the system is activated a notification will go out to alert that there is an active threat on campus. Administration and the police department will be contacted simultaneously. 
    • Activating Ident-A-Kid, a new visitor management hardware/software system that will be used in all schools in 2019-2020 to streamline the check-in process and meet the requirements of the Jessica Lunsford Act.
    • Implementing “Safe Plans,” a new platform that allows individual schools to create, modify and execute school safety plans.
    • Updating and reorganizing the district’s internal Hurricane website to be more user-friendly to staff. Now, the only information that appears on the website is the personnel assignments for shelter locations.
    • Transportation Department
    • Implementing Bus Bulletin at all elementary schools. Bus Bulletin is a web-based transportation notification system designed to notify families, school administrators, transportation staff and district personnel of transportation issues including delayed buses, accidents, and emergencies. Notifications can be sent via text, email or phone call.
    • Food and Nutrition Department
    • Phasing out Styrofoam and using environmentally friendly compostable trays, bowls, cups, take-out boxes and straws.
    • Adding seven new student-selected foods to student menus, including Mandarin Orange Chicken and Blueberry Lemon Scones.
    • Piloting a compost program at Dunedin and North Shore elementary schools.
    • Debuting a vegan menu in August. The recipes will be available to all schools and use current school food ingredients.
    • Adding Moo Brew Stations, offering iced and hot flavored lattes at seven high schools, in partnership with the Florida Dairy Council.
    • Pinellas County Schools Police
    • Added the position of major and hired Major Cheryl Johnson after her brief retirement from St. Petersburg Police Department. Major Johnson brings more than 32 years of law enforcement experience.
    • Placed all School Resource Officers (SROs) and School Safety Officers (SSOs) for the 2019-2020 School Year
       

    Student and Community Services:

    • The district’s Student Services Department is expanding existing programs and creating new programs for the 2019-2020 school year:
      • Developing the Growing Greatness initiative in partnership with Academic Excellence Department and the Pinellas Education Foundation.
      • Implementing after-hours academic advising for parents and students via eCounselor service.
      • Developing a process to identify potential Merit and Hispanic Scholars in middle and high school and connect them with a detailed pathway to ensure the optimal chance of success.
      • Expanding Mental Health Awareness Training for all district staff and increasing student access to Student Services staff and prevention efforts.
      • Refining threat assessment procedures to ensure concerns are addressed quickly and appropriately in support of students.
    • The Charter and Home School Department will be restructuring its staffing model to include a staff accountant to better monitor financial operations of the charter schools.
    • The Special Projects Department will be using several new grants that were awarded at the local, state and federal levels:
      • COPS School Violence Prevention Program - $488,366
      • Safety and Security of School Buildings - $3,510,643
      • Youth Mental Health Awareness Training (State)- $239,850
      • Mental Health Awareness Training Grant (Federal)- $124,715
      • Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations- $3,402,000
      • Temporary Emergency Impact Aid for Displaced Students- $1,180,469
    • Additionally, Special Projects will be reviewing data and outcomes of major federal projects (Title I, Title II, Title III, Title IV, IDEA) each month.
    • The district’s Strategic Partnerships Department is revamping existing programs and implementing new programs:
      •  An African American Male Initiative will be a reformatted version of the 5,000 Role Models Program with goals of improving mentor participation and increasing student engagement.
      • New Parent Leadership Summits called “Hour of Power” will be held throughout the county and feature keynote speakers on topics including vaping, attendance, and bullying.
    • The district’s Title I Department will be offering new supports to schools and the community, including:
      • Expanding internet access for students through hotspots for K-5 and cell phones in high schools.
      • Adding a monthly VPK Read to Me Program, providing books and a family literacy activity linked to the read-aloud book of the month.
      • Expanding community services at Campbell Park Elementary, which houses the district’s Community School Model, through the continued United Way partnership and a new Community Resource Center. Additionally, MOUs will codify partnerships with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and USFSP, to provide health and education services to the community.

     

    Human Resources: 

    • Human Resources will be transitioning to a partner format to better serve schools and principals with human capital needs.
    • Professional Development will be implementing the Pinellas Leadership Academy – a newly designed leadership pipeline from teacher to principal.
    • Adding updated technology courses to provide information on Excel, Word, PowerPoint, web navigation and the Professional Learning Network (PLN).
    • Risk Management and Insurance staff will be working to improve the health services to our employees by implementing a new disability carrier and benefit plan as well as a new Employee Assistance Plan vendor.

     

    Strategic Communications:

    • In August, the Office of Strategic Communications will be rolling out a district-version of Let’s Talk, a cloud-based community feedback solution that helps school leaders and their teams listen to and engage their communities to solve critical school issues. A school-based version of Let’s Talk will be rolled out for schools later in the year.
    • Pinellas County Schools launched an official Instagram account to better connect with students. The district now has official Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram social media sites.
    • The Office of Strategic Communications in partnership with District Application Program Specialist Ellen Truskowski launched a training titled Building and Marketing Your School Brand for school leaders and will continue to hold training sessions throughout the school year.

     

    Technology and Information Services:

    • Upgrading all sites to a dedicated fiber-optic wide area network (WAN).
    • Implementing our new BusinessPLUS ERP software solution in 2020.
    • Upgrading all district computer operating systems to Windows 10.
    • Introducing a new self-service portal for employee software installations and updates.
    • Taking additional steps to further improve the security of the district’s network.

     

    Finance:

    • The district’s Accounting Department is developing a Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR), which is an extract of information from the district’s comprehensive annual financial report designed to be easily understood by the general public.
    • The Purchasing Team will be attending Area Meetings including the Transformation Zone to present on purchasing practices and policies to streamline the process and ensure proper compliance.
    • The Payroll Department will be expanding upon the district’s summer savings plan initiative for supporting service employees who work less than 12 months. The plan allows employees to decide how much money they want to save during the regular school year for distribution in four biweekly payments over the summer.
    • Auditing has developed the following trainings:
      • A bookkeeping skills lab related to handling cash, making deposits, writing receipts, initiating and approving purchases, writing checks, and recording accounting entries.
      • A payroll lab where participants will learn how to prepare, compute, document, and handle common time and attendance scenarios that occur at district.
      • A lab is being developed for principals to improve understanding, review and approval of district documents.
      • A new RevTrak course will show bookkeepers the benefits and simplicity of utilizing this online payment system. Using this system to collect payments from parents reduces the amount of cash that the bookkeepers handle, saving them time and reducing the risk of loss or theft of cash.
      • A new training and information session will be available for school principals to further enhance their knowledge of school budgeting and how the district is funded.