Florida schools roundup: Schools reopening, school fire and more

Schools reopening: Some school districts around Florida have reopened or are reopening today, while others will delay a few more days or even until next Monday. Florida Department of EducationTampa Bay Times. GradebookMiami Herald. Sun-SentinelFlorida Times-UnionOrlando Sentinel. Palm Beach Post. Florida Today. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Bradenton HeraldFort Myers News-PressPensacola News Journal. Ocala Star-Banner. Tallahassee Democrat. Citrus County ChroniclePolitico Florida. WFSU. WUSF. WFLA. WTSP. WJXT.

More on Irma: Here are some of the reasons why many schools are closed until next week. Gradebook. With school for many students closed until next week, parents are looking for safe activities to keep them busy. Sun-Sentinel. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have taken their toll on schoolchildren. Washington Post. In some schools, the cleanup will be a massive and costly efforts. Fort Myers News-Press. Bradenton Herald. A nun toting a chainsaw helps clear debris at her schools, Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School in West Kendall. “We teach our students: Do what you can to help other people, don’t think of yourselves,” Sister Margaret Ann said. “That’s what I wanted to do.” CNN. Students from the Manatee School for the Arts pitch in to help clean up storm debris at a neighborhood playground. Bradenton Herald.

School burns down: Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Tampa, which was built in 1906 and has been a magnet school for world studies and technology, is destroyed by a fire. Officials say the fire did not appear to be suspicious, but the investigation of the cause has not started. “I want to make something very, very clear — because I know that in our atmosphere this can be contentious — but indications now have nothing to do with the name of this school,” says Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Penny. Some school board members have been trying to have the name of the school changed. Tampa Bay Times. WFLA.

Child abuse case: Three people are being charged with child abuse and failure to report suspected child abuse in 2016 at Kenwood Elementary School in Fort Walton Beach. One of them is teacher Marilynn Stillions, who is accused of spraying disabled students in the mouth with vinegar. Northwest Florida Daily News. A mother is calling for the Oakloosa County School District to notify parents when a teacher is being investigated for child abuse. Northwest Florida Daily News.

Preschool quality: Florida is using a new test to gauge the quality of preschools. The STAR Early Literacy test is intended to assess the readiness of each student, and the results will be used to determine which voluntary pre-K programs continue to get state aid. Tampa Bay Times.

Contract rejected: Employees of the Santa Rosa County School District have rejected proposed contract changes by the district. About 60 percent of the 2,600 workers voted, and 85 percent of them rejected the contract. The school board will decide what raises the employees get. Pensacola News Journal.

School board elections: Caroline Zucker, a Sarasota County School Board members since 1992, announces she won’t run for re-election. She cited her age, 78, and family demands for stepping aside. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

STEM fellow: The former STEM coordinator for the Clay County School District is one of 20 Americans chosen for a national STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) leadership development program. Kathleen Schofield is director of K-12 programs for the Northeast Florida STEM 2 Hub. Florida Times-Union.

Opinions on schools: The Palm Beach County School Board supports an equal playing field for traditional and charter schools, and oppose laws that give charter schools and their for-profit operators an unfair advantage over school districts and school boards. Palm Beach County School Board chairman Chuck Shaw, Palm Beach Post. Art education supplements the teaching of science, technology, engineering and math. Pablo Remonsellez, Florida Today. September is Public School Awareness Month this September, and it is worth reminding ourselves of the immense job that public schools are asked to accomplish. Nathan Crabbe, Gainesville Sun. Scenes of sadness and sharing from a Boca Raton school used as a hurricane shelter. Frank Cerabino, Palm Beach Post.

Student enrichment: Restoration of the Workman Middle School orchestra program has been completed. A lightning strike May 13 caused a fire that destroyed nearly all the music instruments and equipment. Pensacola News Journal. About 16,000 U.S. students are named semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Lakeland Ledger. Students at AMIKids Panama City Marine Institute use a Google virtual reality kit to see the world. Panama City News Herald.

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