FL schools roundup: Charters, private schools, Florida Virtual & more

Sherri Ackerman

Charter schools: Three years and a court battle later, Odyssey Space Coast Charter Academy wins approval to open another popular “green-school” in Brevard County. Florida Today. The Lee County School Board votes in favor of suing a closed charter school for $99,793. Fort Myers News-Press.

florida-roundup-logoFlorida Virtual School: Julie led FLVS through the ebbs and flows—and some turbulent waves—of the political cycles in Florida and kept the school growing at each turn, writes Michael Horn for Forbes. FLVS’s Global School is expanding STEM options and more, writes Alison Anderson at Getting Smart. When it comes to innovations in learning, keep eye out for Julie Young’s next move, writes Tom Vander Ark for Getting Smart.

Private schools: Jazz musician Bob Dorough performs at the Montessori School of Pensacola. Pensacola News-Journal. Hillsborough’s Corpus Christi Catholic School celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Tampa Tribune.  As the administrator of Title I funds for all schools in Duval County — public, private and parochial — Duval’s schools superintendent has a responsibility to all students who fall under that program, writes Gerald Robichaud for the Florida Times-Union.

District schools: Students at this Brevard County high school learn about forensics with the help of chicken carcasses. Florida Today. Brevard high school students prepare for the National Ocean Science Bowl. Florida Today. Lee County’s superintendent lead efforts for the BYOD policy, which will allow teachers to integrate lesson plans with students’ mobile devices. Naples Daily News. Pinellas County will expand its summer school program to allow even more students to continue their studies. The Tampa Tribune. The Manatee County School Board plans to expand voluntary pre-kindergarten programs and bring in data teams to analyze student performance at all grade levels, kindergarten through high school. Bradenton Herald.

Achievement: Spending more than $440 million for voluntary pre-kindergarten and stopping the practice of “social promotion” are two ways Florida has been able to move the needle in education achievement, says the chairman of the state Board of Education. Florida Times-Union.

STEM: It’s time for those who lead our K-12 schools to start talking with university professors in math, science and engineering about what needs to be done to give more students access to careers in these fields, writes Paul Cottle for the Tallahassee Democrat.

School grades: Education Commissioner Pam Stewart unveils her plan to revamp school grades. The Buzz.

Teachers: Teachers line up against legislation to overhaul the state’s $132 billion pension system. The Buzz. Private donors offer $40 million in incentive pay for teachers at struggling Jacksonville schools. Florida Times-Union. A new Florida Education Association poll finds a supermajority of Floridians rate their children’s teachers positively and an overwhelmingly majority approve of the job their public schools are doing. The Florida Current.

AP: The state ranked fifth in the nation for the percentage of 2013 graduates who had passed at least one AP exam. Sun Sentinel.  Florida has the highest rate of low-income students of any state in the Top 10, at 56 percent. redefinED. More from the Tampa Bay Times, and Associated Press.

Vals & Sals: The Broward School Board may eliminate awarding the top two students the titles of valedictorian and salutatorian. Sun Sentinel.

School boards: The Polk County School District has met or exceeded 45 percent of its measurable goals for the 2013-14 school year, according to a five-year strategic plan updated by the new superintendent. The Ledger. Orange County Public Schools are making some progress in hiring and recruiting more minority candidates. Orlando Sentinel.

Bus drivers: Hillsborough County bus drivers tell of being stranded after hours with no one to call, how the cleaning equipment doesn’t work and that employees were told not to document incidents that endangered children. Tampa Bay Times. More from The Tampa Tribune.

Veterans Day: Students, teachers and paraeducators at Polk public schools will get to celebrate Veterans Day as a holiday next school year if the School Board approves the change. The Ledger.

Fair Day: The Florida State Fair, reeling from a rampage involving hundreds of youths on opening night takes steps to curb such outbreaks. The Tampa Tribune.

Conduct: Lee County fires two teachers; one for using profanity; and the other for having an inappropriate relationship with an adult education student. Fort Myers News-Press. A North Port preschool teacher left her job amid allegations that she pinned a 3-year-old down with her legs, pulled his hair and screamed at her class to shut up.  Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

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