Florida schools roundup: Most schools reopen, testing delay, ESSA and more

Back in session: Most Florida public school districts reopened Monday or are expected to today or tomorrow, according to the Florida Department of Education. School districts are also making decisions on how they’ll make up the time missed for Hurricane Irma. Florida Department of Education. Orlando Sentinel. Sun-SentinelGradebook. Florida Times-UnionBradenton Herald. Daytona Beach News-Journal. WSVN. Fort Myers News-Press. Naples Daily News. Students in 48 Florida counties affected by the hurricane will get free meals at school through Oct. 20. News Service of FloridaAssociated PressMiami Herald. Tampa Bay TimesPalm Beach Post. Florida Today. WINK. Daily Commercial. Lakeland Ledger. Bradenton Herald. Gainesville Sun. Daytona Beach News-Journal. In Collier and Lee counties, several child-care centers say they will take in students until schools reopen next Monday. Naples Daily News. Many school signs in south Florida are missing or broken, and officials are urging drivers to slow down and be cautious through school zones. Sun-Sentinel. Florida Virtual School will provide remote access to all students displaced by the hurricane. Governor’s office.

Testing schedule: The Florida Department of Education adjusts its end-of-course exam retakes in biology, civics, U.S. history, algebra I and geometry due to Hurricane Irma. The assessments can begin Sept. 18, but has left the final date open for now. It did the same for the retake of the 10th grade language arts exam. “We will offer as much flexibility as needed,” Education Commissioner Pam Stewart wrote in a memo to superintendents. Gradebook.

ESSA extension: The U.S. Department of Education has granted Florida an extension to file its plan on how it will comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act. The deadline had been Monday, but it’s now Oct. 13. Education officials cited the devastation of Hurricane Irma in extending the deadline. Politico Florida.

Charter reincarnation: When charter schools fail, they increasingly have a backup plan to continue to get public money. They simply become private schools, and continue to receive money from the state in the form of vouchers or tax credit scholarship programs. It’s happened at least 16 times in five states, including Florida, since 2010, according to a nationwide review. ProPublica.

Charter changes proposed: After a Manatee County middle school converts to a charter, two school board members lobby the legislature to tighten the law on charter schools. Scott Hopes and John Colon want to limit salaries of charter school leaders and require them to disclose their finances, and require schools that convert to charter to pay for use of district buildings. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Common Core: Common Core academic standards are still being used in most U.S. states, despite the backlash against the set of national academic standards. “The core of the Common Core remains in almost every state that adopted them,” says Mike Petrilli, president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute. And a national survey found increasing support for standards, as long as the name Common Core is not used to describe them. Associated Press.

Budget decision: The Hillsborough County School District is moving ahead with a nearly $3 billion budget even though it’s unsure how much Hurricane Irma cost the district or when it might receive financial help from the federal government. Tampa Bay Times.

Teacher shortage: The Bay County School District is still trying to fill 17 teaching and 18 paraprofessional positions. The biggest problem, says human resources director John Cannon, is a lack of qualified candidates. Panama City News Herald.

Competency-based learning: The Seminole County School District is offering a competency-based learning elective at three high schools. It’s called PSI High, for problem solving incubator, and it allows students to learn at their own pace and be given the option of being graded on their matery of the subject matter instead of a traditional letter grade. redefinED.

Notable deaths: Joyce Miller McTier, a biology teacher who became the first black female administrator in the Lake County School District, has died at the age of 91. McTier was named assistant principal at Mount Dora High School in 1979. Orlando Sentinel.

Student hit by car: A student is hospitalized after being hit by a car Monday morning in front of West Orange High School. Police say the student had a head injury and was hospitalized, but is expected to be okay. Orlando Sentinel.

Teachers arrested: A private school teacher in Broward County is arrested for allegedly sending sexually explicit text messages and pornography to a 14-year-old student. Slyvers Robinson, 29, a 3rd and 4th grade teacher and drama coach at Harvard International Academy in Pembroke Pines, was fired. Miami Herald. Brian Moye, 46, a Jay High School teacher and baseball coach, is arrested and accused of inappropriately touching female students. Pensacola News Journal.

Opinions on schools: Expanding the practices that boost charter schools’ performance, especially for poor black and Hispanic students, will be more important for sustaining such schools’ popularity than the increasingly negative perception of charters among the American public. Mene Ukueberuwa, National Review. The state can end a lawsuit over the Best and Brightest scholarships by focusing on how a teacher is doing right now, instead of what she or he did on a test many years ago. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

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