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Blue Ribbon schools: Twelve Florida schools are among 349 across the United States chosen as National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. Schools earn the designation through high achievement or by closing the achievement gaps for disadvantaged students. The Florida schools honored are: A.D. Henderson University School and FAU High School in Boca Raton; Colleen Bevin Elementary in Lithia; Lorenzo Walker Technical High School and Seagate Elementary in Naples; West Shore Junior/Senior High in Melbourne; George Washington Carver Middle, Herbert Ammons Middle and Archimedean Upper Conservatory in Miami; Tarpon Springs Fundamental Elementary; Stanton College Preparatory School in Jacksonville; Pensacola Beach Elementary; and the Somerset Academy Elementary in Miramar. redefinED. Space Coast Daily. Boca News Now. U.S. Department of Education.
A/C help discussion: The Hillsborough County Commission is expected to “discuss collaborating with the Hillsborough County School District to explore ways the county can help expedite urgently needed upgrades to school air-conditioners and other vital building infrastructure” at its meeting Wednesday. The school district has a growing backlog of schools with A/C problems and other issues, and is asking voters Nov. 6 to approve a half-cent increase in the sales tax to raise $1.31 billion over 10 years for maintenance and construction. Gradebook.
Mental health services: The mental health provider that determined accused Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz shouldn’t be Baker Acted in 2016 has been hired by the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools to provide mental health services for students at their schools. Henderson Behavioral Health will provide assessments, diagnoses, interventions, treatment and recovery services for students in the 500 state charter schools that belong to the consortium. Henderson has been criticized for recommendation to not hospitalize Cruz after a suicide assessment, and is being sued for wrongful death by the parent of a student who was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. Miami Herald.
Private school safety: Private schools are safer for students than public schools, according to a report published recently in the Journal of School Choice. Researchers Danish Shakeel and Corey DeAngelis say students at private schools were 8 percent more likely to have never experienced physical conflicts, 28 percent more likely to have never experienced another student possessing a weapon on campus, and 13 percent more likely to have never experienced racial tension between students. redefinED.
Medical marijuana: Many Florida school districts are defying the state law that allows students to use prescribed medical marijuana at schools. State law requires all school districts to have a written policy governing medical marijuana. But that same law exempts schools from accommodating on-campus use of medical marijuana. So some districts are choosing to follow federal laws that still classify marijuana use of any kind illegal. “The voters approved keeping it away from schools and prisons,” says Mitchell Teitelbaum, attorney for the Manatee County School District. “But the Legislature amended it to allow students to use it. What we need is the state Legislature to provide clarity on what is allowed.” USA Today.
School security and more: As more schools open today and this week, districts continue to pull together their security plans, try to fill open teaching positions and refine their objectives for the year. Sun-Sentinel. Miami Herald. Palm Beach Post. Orlando Sentinel. Daily Commercial. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Key West Citizen. Citrus County Chronicle. Palm Beach Post. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Ocala Star-Banner. WFLA. WTSP. Leon County teachers talk about inspiration and offer advice to new teachers. Tallahassee Democrat.
Mental health services: School districts are getting millions of dollars from the state to offer students more mental health services. And while there are questions about student privacy, since they are required to disclose previous mental health issues, experts expect the benefits of the new initiative to be substantial and long-lasting. “It’s fantastic,” says Candice Crawford, president and CEO of the Mental Health Association of Central Florida. “A lot of these children, and especially at-risk kids, tend to end up in the juvenile justice system without ever having been evaluated for mental health issues or given any services. And then people just write them off as bad. The long-term impact of this is going to be remarkable.” Orlando Sentinel. Palm Beach Post.