By Tamas Mondovics

District Hosts Series of School Transportation Resource Fair

With school transportation concerns making headlines in recent months, Hillsborough County Public Schools officials began hosting a series School Transportation Resource Fairs at school sites throughout the District.

Although scarcely attended, Randall Middle School have also hosted the event on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

Randall, Barrington Middle and Newsome High in the FishHawk Ranch area serves nearly 1,000 students who are currently receiving courtesy busing, but according to district officials have met the state hazardous criteria, and will be losing their courtesy bus service this coming fall. The next nearby fair is scheduled to take place at Eisenhower Middle School, 7620 Old Big Bend Rd, Gibsonton, on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in the school cafeteria from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

According to Jeff Eakins each event provides resources to parents including a list of alternative school transportation options, including walking school buses and bike trains. “These are options where a group of children walk to school with one or more adults,” Eakins said, during a brief instructional video promoting the school transportation fair. ‘“A variation on the walking school bus is a bicycle train where adults supervise a group of children riding their bikes to school. Eakins added that parents can find more information on creating such options on the Florida Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School website.

Eakins emphasized that the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority TBARTA provides access to a list of names and contact information of school parents who are interested in assisting with the alternative transportation programs. Lisa Silva of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) one of the presenting partners for the event, is a liaison for the School Transportation Working Group. 

“We want to provide resources to parents,” Silva said. “We already have these great partners participating in our school transportation working group so we wanted to bring it all together. Our goal is to hear parents’ concerns and give them some educational materials and information.”

HCPS is encouraging parents to attend one of the remaining School Transportation Resource Fairs.

Officials said that whether a child walks, bikes, gets a ride or takes the bus, families will find promotional materials, information and helpful tips at these events, along with representatives from HCPS and various other state and local agencies and organizations who will be on hand to answer questions and concerns. Parents are encouraged to visit the district’s website at and type ‘alternative transportation’ in the search engine.

Magnet Schools Receive National Recognition

Magnet Schools of America (MSA) has recognized a list of Hillsborough County public magnet schools and programs as Magnet Schools of Excellence or Magnet Schools of Distinction.

According to district officials the awards recognize member magnet schools and programs that demonstrate a commitment to high academic standards, curriculum innovation, desegregation/diversity efforts, specialized teaching staffs, and parent and community involvement. Magnet Schools of Excellence Awards recipients included, Riverhills Elementary Magnet School, Orange Grove, Stewart, and Williams middle magnet schools; Rampello K-8 School; and Tampa Bay Technical High School.

Magnet Schools of Distinction awards recipients included, Cahoon, Dunbar, Lee, Lincoln, MacFarlane, Muller, and Shore elementary magnet schools; Ferrell Girls Preparatory Academy, Franklin Boys Preparatory Academy, Progress Village and Walker middle magnet schools; and Blake, Jefferson and Middleton high schools.

HCPS Announces Excellence in Education Winners

Three top educators and support staff were recently honored as winners of the 2017 Excellence in Education Awards Representatives of the Hillsborough Education Foundation presented the awards at the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts.
The 2017 Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year award went to Pedro Castrejon of Jefferson High School. The 2017 Instructional Support Employee of the Year award went to Terranique Ragins, Franklin Boys Preparatory Academy Middle School.

The 2017 Teacher of the Year award went to Memorial Middle School teacher Maria Torres Crosby.

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