Archived Blogs & Articles

Posted: 10/30/2013
Early Learning panel says standardize school readiness rules

By James Call

A group of advocates for children is working on a set of recommendations for Florida’s school readiness programs. A policy subcommittee of the Early Learning Advisory Council met Tuesday and reached consensus on a set of recommendations including standardizing licensing and staffing requirements for daycare, school readiness and voluntary prekindergarten programs.

The options the group discussed were the work of Skip Housch of the Escambia Early Learning Coalition. They also included a tiered reimbursement plan to reward high performing programs and stiffer training requirements for people working with preschoolers.

“I don’t want somebody taking care of my child with the first 90 days without absolutely no training,” said Filiberto Valero, the policy subcommittee chair during a discussion of the Florida statute which provides a 90-day window for someone hired to enroll in a 40-hour training course. ELAC members were unsure which legislative committee to approach to change the law.

“Let’s make a recommendation to revise the time,” Valero said. “Let’s make sure that somebody else is putting the dots together.”

Rep. Marlene O’Toole, R-Lady Lake, declared during an Oct. 10 House Education Committee meeting she intended to focus on daycare and pre-k programs during the spring session. The committee’s chair, O’Toole called on Early Coalition groups to step forward with recommendations.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” O’Toole said. “It is more imperative than ever that we work together as a team to discuss what needs to be done.”

Continued in The Florida Current...

Posted: 10/30/2013
Scholarships available for refugees who are students

Asylees as Authors, a non-profit organization provide scholarships for students (asylees and refugees) based on an annual short story contest. Awards are granted to students based on a yearly short-story contest. The applicants must be at least a senior in high school. The money will be paid directly to the college or university that the winner will be attending the following school year. This year there are two scholarships: first place, $5,000 and second place, $1,000. The scholarship application requires a $10 reading fee.

Deadline to apply is February 15th, 2014. Authors may submit multiple stories, and there is no rule prohibiting one author from winning both scholarships.

Visit the Asylees as Authors website for more information

Posted: 10/28/2013
Public meeting Nov. 20th on Brandon water quality improvement project

A project to improve water quality in area of Limona Street, Parsons Avenue, will be discussed

The Hillsborough County Public Utilities Department has scheduled a public meeting on Nov. 20 to discuss a project that will improve water quality and fire protection for residents in the area of Limona Street and Parsons Avenue in Brandon.

The $350,000 project will construct 2,520 feet of new, 6-inch water pipeline along Limona Street, Oak Avenue, Evans Street, and North Moon Avenue. Five new fire hydrants also will be installed. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2014 and last approximately 90 days.

The work is part of the Countywide Potable Water Main/Distribution Lines Renewal and Replacement Project, a long-term program to improve water quality by connecting certain lines which now dead end. The renewal and replacement program is funded through the Water Enterprise’s Capital Improvement Program.

New pipeline segments also will provide an opportunity for those residents who are currently served by drinking water wells to connect to the County’s utility system, if they choose.

County staff will be at the meeting to talk about the project, and to answer any questions residents may have.

DATE: Wednesday, Nov. 20
TIME: 6:30 p.m.
PLACE: Brandon Recreation Center, 502 E. Sadie St.

For more information about the project, visit the Limona Street Area Water Pipelines project page on the County’s website. Visit, and click on the County Projects link under the Services tab.

All meeting facilities are accessible in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Any additional necessary accommodations will be provided with a 48-hour notice.

For more information, call Steve Valdez, Citizen Services Manager, 813-272-5275. TTY: 301-7173

Prensa: Para información, llamar al 813-272-5314.

Posted: 10/28/2013
Free Workshops for Child Care Providers

Hillsborough County Extension offers workshops that provide training and technical assistance to early childhood professionals. The workshops are FREE for all licensed child care providers in Hillsborough County. For others, the cost is $10. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available for these classes. (0.2 CEU per class)


  • Every Child Counts: Building Community — Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • Science for Preschool Children — Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • Teaching Music to Young Children — Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • Math for Toddlers and Preschoolers — Dec. 10 from 6:45 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
  • Art Appreciation for Young Children — Dec. 12 from 6:45 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
  • What Does Time Mean to Children — Jan. 11 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • How to Get Parents on Your Team — Jan. 16 from 6:45 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
  • Science for Preschool Children — Jan. 25 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Registration is required and must be done at online. Click on the green State Training tab at bottom of page, choose Florida, then Tampa and find the workshops.

These workshops are made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, in partnership with the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Penn State University and the University of Nebraska/Lincoln Extension.

For more information, contact Diana Converse by phone at 813-744-5519, ext. 54140, or by email at

Hillsborough County Extension is a cooperative service of Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and the University of Florida. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M, University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating.

Click here for online registration

Posted: 10/28/2013
Meeting Nov. 5th to discuss Lutz water project

A Project to Connect Manors of Crystal Lakes to County Water System will be discussed at a public meeting on Nov. 5th

The Hillsborough County Public Utilities Department has scheduled a public meeting on Nov. 5 to discuss the design of a project to connect the Manors of Crystal Lakes subdivision to the Hillsborough County water distribution system.

The $5.4 million project will include the construction of approximately 23,550 feet of new, 12-inch water pipeline along Lutz-Lake Fern Road and U.S. Highway 41. Hillsborough County already supplies drinking water to residents in the Manors of Crystal Lakes, but the water comes from two wells.

Construction is expected to begin in March 2014 and be completed within one year. The project is being funded through the Water Enterprise Capital Improvement Program.

Representatives from Hillsborough County and the engineering design firm will be at the meeting to discuss the pipeline route and answer questions about the project. DATE: Tuesday, Nov. 5
TIME: 6:30 p.m.
PLACE: Lutz Community Center
98 1st Ave., NW, Lutz

All meeting facilities are accessible in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Any additional necessary accommodations will be provided with a 48-hour notice.

For more information, call Steve Valdez, Citizen Services Manager, 813-272-5275. (TTY: 813-301-7173)

For more information about the project, visit the Manors of Crystal Lakes Water System Connection project page on the County’s website. Go to, and click on the County Projects link under the Services tab.

Para información, llamar al 813-272-5275.

Posted: 10/28/2013
Community Affairs Harvest Food Drive: We CAN Make a Difference!

Hillsborough County’s Community Affairs Office is hosting the first Harvest Food Drive to collect canned and other non-perishable food items on weekdays in the lobby of County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd. in downtown Tampa. Donations will benefit local residents in a campaign called, “We CAN make a difference!” As the giving season arrives, we “can” truly help less fortunate neighbors with the simple gift of canned food.

Donations will also be accepted and displayed in the park at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square during an upcoming Heritage Harvest event slated for Nov. 20 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. All proceeds will benefit Metropolitan Ministries of Tampa, which serves clients from across Hillsborough County.

Hillsborough County’s Community Affairs Office provides outreach and assistance to a variety of groups and neighborhoods to learn community needs and help address concerns.

For more information on the Harvest Food Drive, visit Hillsborough County’s Community Affairs Office online at, or call 813-274-6561.

Posted: 10/28/2013
FREE developmental screenings available for kids

Screenings available for infants, toddlers, and preschool children

The Early Childhood Development Council of Hillsborough County and the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System announce free developmental screenings for children aged birth through five years of age.

Areas screened include: Vision, Hearing, Speech, Language, Behavior, Overall Development

Screenings are available by appointment only, from 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. on selected dates (see calendar below).
Appointments will be scheduled as calls are received, so don’t delay your reservation!

For more information call (813) 837-7723

Calendar of screening dates and locations

Posted: 10/22/2013
Oct. 2013 issue of Children's Board newsletter available
News Image

In this issue:
• Message from Executive Director Kelley Parris
• 8th Annual Business Plan Competition Winners
• Newly Appointed Board Members
• In Memorium: Honoring Colleen Brevis
• Children's Board in the News

View newsletter

Posted: 10/17/2013
Hillsborough County Approves Head Start Contract with Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay

At their regular Board meeting today, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners unanimously (6-0) approved a contract for Head Start/Early Head Start to utilize Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay, Inc members in their classrooms.

Family and community involvement are vital components of a successful Head Start program. A classroom is often a bustling and busy place, and having a grandparent to give special care to a young child who needs extra attention, or to a special needs infant, is invaluable.

Last year, Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay, Inc. provided more than 25,000 hours of volunteer time to Hillsborough County’s Head Start/Early Head Start program. This year, 39 volunteers are working in the 19 County Head Start/Early Head Start centers nurturing, reading and providing special one-on-one bonding with the Head Start/Early Head Start children.

For additional information on Hillsborough County’s Head Start Program, call 813-272-5140. For information on Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay, Inc., contact 813-932-5228.

Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay website

Posted: 10/15/2013
Celebrate Golden Palms Apartments Re-Opening on Oct. 21

Hillsborough County Affordable Housing officials will join University Area Community Development Corporation (UACDC) for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, Oct. 21 to celebrate the re-opening of Golden Palms Apartments located at 11720 14th St. in Tampa. The celebration will take place at 10 a.m. and will follow with a tour of the renovated complex.

“I am very excited about the collaborative efforts to revitalize Golden Palms Apartments. The renovation is a testament to the county meeting the critical needs of affordable housing for residents,” said Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller.

Golden Palms Apartments (previously Pines One) was acquired and purchased in 2012 by UACDC through the County’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant. The effort was part of an initiative to mend and restore the University Area’s affordable housing program. The much-needed apartments bring something fresh and new to an area that had previously faced challenges.

“We believe that Golden Palms Apartments will improve not only the aesthetics of the University Area, but will also provide residents with a safe and affordable place to live,” said UACDC CEO Dan Jurman.

The total project cost was $1.08 million. Each 750-square-foot unit has two bedrooms and includes energy efficient appliances, hurricane impact glass, new flooring, cabinets and paint.

More information about Hillsborough County's Affordable Housing programs

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