Florida schools roundup: ESSA, Brown convicted, a top teacher and more

ESSA implementation: The Florida Department of Education is going ahead with the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) despite Congress’ decision to repeal many of its key provisions. ESSA sets benchmarks of minimum student performances in a variety of areas. A group of school district leaders from around the state are working on the plan, and are expected to finish it by Sept. 18. Gradebook.

Brown convicted: Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, is convicted on 18 of 22 corruption counts ranging from mail fraud to filing a false federal tax return. Prosecutors say she used her office to collect $800,000 in contributions for her phony education charity, One Door for Education. Florida Times-Union. Associated PressPolitico Florida.

Teacher honored: Katelyn Fiori, a fourth-grade teacher at Vero Beach Elementary School, is chosen as one of five finalists for the Department of Education’s 2018 Florida teacher of the year award. Fiori was awarded $5,000. The winner will be announced July 13. TCPalm.

Charters and tax revenue: Some lawmakers have been trying for six years to direct property tax revenue to charter schools. This year, that measure was finally passed, and in the next school year charters may get almost twice the $75 million they received this year. redefinED.

School security: The education bill that allots $654,000 to improve security at Jewish day schools draws criticism from those who say that other religious schools – such as Muslim and Sikh – have also seen a recent spike in violent threats.“The fact that the funding singles out one religion raises serious concerns about unconstitutional discrimination, whether intentional or not,” says Kara Gross, ACLU of Florida’s legislative counsel. Miami Herald.

Restorative justice: The Manatee County School District is considering adopting the restorative justice method for student discipline. In it, teachers and administrators talk with troubled students to try to understand their motives instead of simply handing out punishment. Bradenton Herald.

Carvalho not running: Miami-Dade County School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho now says he’ll stay in his job instead of running for the U.S. House of Representatives. Earlier in the week he said he might be interested in the District 27 seat being vacated by retiring Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. But at an awards ceremony late in the week, Carvalho told attendees he would continue as superintendent. Miami Herald.

Union election: A Palm Beach County teachers union panel rejects a request for a recount in the race for the union presidency. Once the union has officially certified the results, Justin Katz will become president. Katz defeated Gordan Longhofer by 28 votes out of 1,356 cast, prompting Longhofer to ask for a recount. Palm Beach Post.

Zoning changes: The Hillsborough County School Board will vote Tuesday on zoning changes that would affect more than a dozen schools. The changes would save money, but also could make several schools less diverse racially. Tampa Bay Times.

Foundation agreement: The Pasco County School Board will consider entering into a 10-year agreement with the Pasco Education Foundation that spells out the roles and responsibilities of each group. Gradebook.

Teacher survey: Hillsborough County officials say a survey indicates that teachers generally feel good about their jobs, but almost 30 percent feel like they don’t have enough time to do everything that’s expected of them. Gradebook.

Teaching licenses revoked: The former assistant principal at Pahokee Junior-Senior High School was fired last year after being accused of sexually harassing two students. Now the Florida Department of Education has permanently revoked the teaching license of Oscar Villanueva, 60. Palm Beach Post. The department also revoked the teaching license of Holly Bamonte, 48, for five years. Bamonte was fired from Bellview Elementary School in 2014 for allowing teenagers to drink in her home. Pensacola News Journal.

Students assaulted: The husband of the principal at Hernando Christian Academy is arrested and accused of sexually assaulting foreign exchange students. Police say Bruce McAllister, 68, helped recruit the boys to the school. McAllister has been charged with five counts of sexual assault by a custodian and 27 counts of misdemeanor battery. Tampa Bay Times. Citrus County Chronicle. A man is arrested for grabbing a girl and trying to lure her across the street as she walked home from school. Rene Martinez-Vega, 76, faces battery charges. Orlando Sentinel. An 11-year-old Orange County girl tells police she was kidnapped from her school bus stop and raped before she was able to escape. WESH.

Students arrested: An 18-year-old Douglas Anderson School of the Arts student is arrested after he’s discovered having sex with an underage girl in a locked bathroom at the school. Jaydin Latroy Harvey Mitchell is charged with eight counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a minor. Florida Times-Union. Three students are arrested and accused of threatening to shoot up several Pasco County schools. One is a Ridgewood High School student, and the other two attend John Long Middle School. Two other students are being investigated. Tampa Bay Times. A 12-year-old student at Lexington Middle School is arrested after allegedly punching a school counselor. The boy is charged with battery on a public or private school employee. Fort Myers News-Press.

Plea deal for plotter: A 13-year-old boy who plotted with a friend to attack Villages Charter Middle School students wearing white T-shirts has been ordered to attend military school as part of a plea deal to drop a conspiracy to commit premeditated murder charge. The boy also must serve probation until his 19th birthday, not own guns or live in a home with guns, undergo a mental health exam, stay in family counseling and accept restricted access to computers and phones. The other boy, a 14-year-old, reached a plea agreement earlier this year and is on probation through his 18th birthday. Daily Commercial.

Weapons at school: A Chiles High School student will be disciplined after bringing a pellet gun to school. Punishment could include expulsion. Tallahassee Democrat. A 16-year-old Port Charlotte High School student is arrested for bringing a billy club to school. Charlotte Sun.

Texting troubles: A Plant City High School teacher who says she was the target of sexually explicit text messages by two coworkers is told her position at the school has been eliminated. District investigators said the messages did not warrant disciplinary action or create a hostile work environment. WFLA.

Opinions on schools: It’s unconscionable that the only thing lawmakers seem committed to doing is privatizing public education, while making struggling students  and the schools that serve them struggle even harder. Miami Herald. If you care about the direction of our school system, heed our school officials and urge Gov. Rick Scott to put his veto pen to work on the proposed state budget as well as the education bill. Lakeland Ledger. The six members of the Orlando Sentinel editorial advisory board share their thoughts about the legislative session’s actions on education and other issues. Orlando Sentinel. Every child who walks onto any of our campuses deserves the same opportunities to learn and experience success, despite the burdens placed on our educators by misguided political reforms and policies or from those who seek to make a profit off our children. St. Lucie County School Superintendent E. Wayne Gent, TCPalm.

Student enrichment: Three Leon County School District students win awards for their projects in the Florida History Day event. More than 1,100 high and middle school students from across the state competed. Tallahassee Democrat. Musical theater students from 32 central Florida schools win Applause Awards from the Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts for their productions and performances. Broadway World. Six volunteers are honored at the 2017 Polk County Public Schools outstanding volunteer of the year awards program. Lakeland Ledger.

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