Schools closed until April 15, testing and school grades canceled, graduations, teacher pay and more
Schools plan to reopen: Schools in the Florida Panhandle are announcing plans to reopen for students. Eight of the nine districts that have been closed since Hurricane Michael landed at Mexico Beach on Oct. 10 now have scheduled return dates. Gulf County employees are back in schools today, with students to follow Tuesday. Holmes and Gadsden students return Monday. Franklin employees are back in schools Monday, and students Tuesday. Teachers are back in Washington County schools Tuesday, and students return Wednesday. Liberty has plans to welcome staff back Wednesday, and students on Monday, Oct. 29. Calhoun sets an Oct. 29 date for staff to return to work, with students coming back Thursday, Nov. 1. Bay County, hit the hardest, is planning to open no later than Nov. 12 by using 200 or more portable classrooms. Only Jackson County has not announced a schedule to resume classes. Panama City News Herald. Florida Department of Education. Associated Press. Bay County School District officials are asking for donations from the public to help rebuild the district. The campaign is asking for school supplies, clothing and jackets for students, and supplies and gift cards for teachers. Panama City News Herald. Private schools in the Panhandle also took a hit from Hurricane Michael. redefinED. Student victims of the storm are looking for structure and routine. Pensacola News Journal.
Tax referendum: Several schools in the Miami-based charter network Academica are posting fliers on social media sites to let parents know that the Miami-Dade County School District’s property referendum will not benefit their schools. The fliers do not directly oppose the tax hike, but do read, “the School Board has not committed to share this money with your child’s school, or any other public charter school, at this time,” as well as pointing out that charter schools are public schools and that 1 in 5 county students attend them. Miami Herald.
Districts trying to cope: Florida Panhandle school districts are assessing damages from Hurricane Michael and trying to cobble together recovery plans to get schools reopened. In hardest-hit Bay County, school officials say they are developing shared campus plans and hope to make an announcement by the end of the week. In Gulf County, the district hopes to reopen schools in two weeks, also by sharing schools. Other district still closed at least through this week and possibly longer are Calhoun, Franklin, Jackson, Liberty and Washington. Gadsden County reopens today. News Service of Florida. Florida Department of Education. WMBB. Associated Press. Education Week. WFSU. Miami Herald. Pensacola News Journal. Florida Today. Forty-six displaced students enroll in Leon County schools. Tallahassee Democrat. WFSU. Educators around the state are collecting donations for schools affected by the hurricane. Gradebook. Ocala Star-Banner. Pensacola News Journal.
ACT test scores: Florida students scored an average of 19.9 on the ACT test, which is both below the national average and scores from comparable states, and represents no improvement over the past four years. About 80 percent of those tested scored so low in English, math, reading and science that ACT officials say they can’t be considered prepared for college work. Nearly 120,000 Florida students took the exam. “We know it is not good” to score a 19.9 and see so many students who aren’t considered college-ready, says Stacey Rutledge, an associate professor in Florida State University’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Florida Phoenix.
Schools and the storm: School officials across north Florida are scrambling to get students back in school, but the devastation of Hurricane Michael is posing problems most of them have never faced before. Five school districts – Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Jackson – are closed until further notice because of widespread power outages, closed and unsafe roadways, damaged schools and the need to continue using schools that aren’t too damaged as emergency shelters, according to the governor’s office. School administrators in Bay County, which was hardest hit by the storm, say it could be months before schools are reopened. Several other districts remain closed today but hope to open tomorrow. CNN. Washington Post. USA Today. Associated Press. WJHG. Panama City News Herald. Pensacola News Journal. Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa school officials say they can take in students whose schools aren’t open. WKRG. Though Gadsden schools are closed, all teachers and staff are required to report to work today, according to a tweet from the district. Gadsden County School District. All Leon County schools reopen today and will have power. Tallahassee Democrat. WTXL. Experts say students need as much normalcy as possible and a sense of security after the trauma of an event such as Hurricane Michael. Naples Daily News.
New leaders at FEA: Joanne McCall is ousted after one term as president of the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union. She lost a weekend election to Fed Ingram, a Miami-Dade County union official and FEA vice president. Also elected were Andrew Spar of Volusia County as vice president and Carole Gauronskas of St. Johns County as treasurer. “This organization, especially for the last three years in the legislative session, has been reactive instead of proactive,” says Pasco teachers union official Don Peace. “You can’t get big wins when you always arrive to the game late.” Gradebook. Florida Politics.