Blog opens up The Classroom

The Pinellas superintendent uses a new communications tool to connect with the public.

By Times Staff Writer
Published March 20, 2005

Starting today, the St. Petersburg Times' Web site offers readers a continuous online discussion, or blog, dedicated to education in Pinellas County. It's called The Classroom and can be found at www.sptimes.com/classroom Clayton Wilcox, the superintendent of Pinellas public schools, is the host. Wilcox will not be paid by the Times, but will use sptimes.com as the blog's platform.

Kevin McGeever, the Times' online city editor, said Wilcox will post his thoughts or respond to comments two or three times a week. Visitors can go to that Web address and, if they wish, read about controlled choice or busing or the achievement gap.

"Better yet," McGeever said, "they can react. They can click on "Post a comment' and join the dialogue, responding to the superintendent or their fellow bloggers."

Wilcox said he wants to hear directly from families.

"I'm hopeful we can talk about the school system's service, whether it be transportation or special education or just in any way we interact," he said. "If people have a better way of doing something - "If you just did this' - we're so close to it that sometimes we just don't know."

Wilcox said he is going to continue posting his e-mail on the district Web site (which is linked from the blog), but he sees the blog as a way to connect further with the community.

McGeever said he thinks The Classroom could be the first of many topic-specific blogs on the newspaper's Web site.