Photo: Mark Wemple
Southwest Florida Roundup
Advantages: A private school focuses on helping low-income students
In Hillsborough County, only six of every 10 high school graduates from low-income families go on to college, vs. eight in 10 among their more affluent peers.
Experts say one factor is summer learning loss — the idea that students lose ground academically when they don’t engage in educational activities during summer break. Because summer camps and other enrichment programs can be expensive, the problem is especially acute for low-income students.
Several years ago, Tampa’s Berkeley Preparatory School, a private pre-K-12 institution, turned its attention to summer learning loss in the course of expanding its community outreach efforts.
To a large extent, Berkeley Prep students occupy a different world than those in nearby neighborhoods, where three in four children qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.Founded in 1960, Berkeley Prep historically has had all of its graduates accepted at fouryear colleges. Annual tuition ranges from $17,560 to $23,660.
This month, Berkeley Prep will launch a sixweek summer learning program designed to give low-income, non-Berkeley students a competitive edge when they return to school in the fall.In addition to core classes and electives, they’ll learn strategies for college readiness, including writing essays and public speaking.
The program is for 40 rising seventhgraders who show academic promise and who meet the county school district definition of low income. They pay nothing, but must commit to participate in each of the next three summers and on one Saturday a month during the school year. Berkeley will then follow them through high school graduation with workshops and other activities. It plans to build the program one class at a time, for a total of 240 students by 2022.
Ultimately, the goal is to ensure they finish high school ready to succeed in college, says Berkeley Prep headmaster Joe Seivold.
“We could stay here behind our fence and just take care of our own,” he says. “But we all recognize our responsibility to make a positive difference in the world.”
80% Percentage of Hillsborough County high school graduates in 2011-12 who enrolled in a postsecondary institution within 16 months of graduation
61% Percentage of economically disadvantaged students, defined as students participating in free and reduced-price lunch programs, who enrolled in a post-secondary institution
Source: Florida Department of Education
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» Hertz Equipment Rental in Estero named former Ingersoll Rand executive Herbert Henkel nonexecutive chairman.
» The University of South Florida-St. Petersburg hired Sridhar Sundaram as dean of the Kate Tiedemann College of Business, effective July 1. Sundaram comes from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he has been associate dean of graduate programs and outreach centers for the Seidman College of Business since 2013.
Women in Tech
In early 2015, Tribridge CEO Tony DiBenedetto was mulling over reports about the underrepresentation of women in the U.S. tech industry. He found that while Tampa-based Tribridge fared well in terms of the percentage of its employees who are women, its senior leadership remained overwhelmingly male. Last year, the technology services company launched an initiative to recruit, retain and develop women leaders. It has since added two women to its board and introduced family-friendly policies, including unlimited paid time off and 12 weeks of paid maternity and paternity leave. It also has partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs to help young girls explore technology careers.
BRADENTON — Discovery Senior Living opened Discovery Village at Sarasota Bay, a seniorliving community with 126 units.
CLEARWATER — Ascentia Development Group plans the first new condominium on Island Estates in at least five years, a 44-unit project with prices ranging from the mid-$500,000s to more than $1 million.
FORT MYERS — Tampabased Solar Energy Management is installing what it calls the largest rooftop solar power system in Lee and Collier counties, a 1.1-megawatt solar array at J.J. Taylor, a beverage distributor in Fort Myers.
HARDEE COUNTY — Seminole Electric Cooperative will build a 2.2-megawatt solar facility at a natural gasfired power plant site it owns in Hardee County.Output from the new facility is expected to come online by the end of this year.
MANATEE COUNTY — Ergotech, a maker of industrial ergonomic lifting equipment, changed its name to Ergotronix and moved its headquarters from Danbury, Conn., to southern Manatee County, where it has a new manufacturing facility.
NAPLES — Collier’s Reserve Country Club will spend about $14 million over the next three years on upgrades, including a new boathouse and activities center.
PASCO COUNTY — The state and county will pay $3 million each for a conservation easement on the historic Phillips-Mathis ranch site west of I-75 near SR 52. The purchase allows for continued cattle grazing while protecting 617 acres from development.
SARASOTA — The University of Florida’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering will launch an educational center called Innovation Station in partnership with local companies, K-12 schools and the startup community. Indianabased Ruoff Home Mortgage expanded to Florida with an office in Sarasota.
ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Times purchased the 123-year-old Tampa Tribune for an undisclosed amount.Inside Sales Solutions, which provides targeted marketing for technology companies, will move to St. Petersburg from New York and create 50 jobs. The Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club plans a two-year renovation to appeal to millennials and young families. The first phase will include a new clubhouse grill and splash pad at its nearby Snell Isle facilities.
TAMPA — Granite finisher Granex is establishing a U.S. headquarters in Tampa and will create 50 jobs.
Monument Partners, an entity owned by affiliates of Starwood Capital Group and Milestone Apartments Real Estate Investment Trust, paid $1.9 billion for Landmark Apartment Trust in Tampa.Joey Redner, founder of Cigar City Brewing, agreed to sell his Tampa craft beer brewery to Oskar Blues, a Colorado-based brewery owned by Boston private equity firm Fireman Capital. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. SunView Software, a provider of IT service management software, plans to expand its Tampa headquarters and create 45 jobs. WellCare Health Plans of Tampa bought Greenville, S.C.- based Advicare, a managed care organization that has about 32,500 Medicaid members in South Carolina. Local software firm Nitro Mobile Solutions moved to a new office in downtown Tampa and plans to add 35 jobs by 2018. Tampa-based World of Beer will expand overseas this year with a location in Shanghai, China.