Florida schools roundup: First days, Common Core, Jeb Bush & more

School is cool: The Community Foundation of Broward County and other donors launch a School is Cool initiative for middle-schoolers to boost high school graduation rates and competitiveness. Sun Sentinel.

Welcome back: Broward County students are back in class. Sun Sentinel. The re-designed Galaxy Elementary in Boynton Beach opens its “green” doors to 580 students for the first day of school, boasting hallways equipped with interactive white boards, classrooms with sliding glass doors and an auditorium with hands-on kinetic experiments in every corner. Sun Sentinel. More than 179,000 students in the nation’s 11th-largest school district return to school to meet nearly 13,000 Palm Beach County School District teachers. Palm Beach Post. florida-roundup-logoOrange County schools welcome back about 185,000 students and Lake County greets about 4,000. Orlando Sentinel. Miami-Dade County sees more than 600,000 students return to school. Miami Herald. About 85,000 students return to Polk County schools. The Ledger. In Collier County, 45,000 students return. Fort Myers News-Press. More from Naples Daily News. About 65,000 students head to class in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Pensacola News-Journal. Pinellas schools see about 100,000 students return. The Tampa Tribune. Hillsborough County sees about 200,000 students return. Tampa Bay Times. The district reported 64,116 children showed up Monday for classes, up 993 from the first day a year ago. Tampa Bay Times. The Hernando County school district expects to enroll 21,672 students. Tampa Bay Times.

Common Core: StateImpact Florida takes another look at the new education standards. “Like every government reform project, Common Core will have its glitches, its shortcomings, its setbacks. But The DaVinci Code of the ABCs it is not,” writes Tampa Bay Times columnist Daniel Ruth.

Pre-K: Duval County schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti starts the school year  with increased pre-K classrooms to better  prepare children for kindergarten, narrow the achievement gap and expose low-income students to technology at a younger age. Florida Times-Union.

Charter schools: Florida Intercultural Academy charter school welcomes back students, but sends them to a temporary location while the permanent facility undergoes construction. Miami Herald.

Jeb Bush: “By dropping school choice from his list of must-have reforms, Jeb is undermining the necessary path to success for standards,” write Greg Forster for Jay P. Greene’s blog. And Bush writes for the National Review: “If we don’t completely transform education, we are defaulting on the American dream.”

New super? Interim St.Lucie schools Superintendent Genelle Yost could drop the “interim” from her title if the school board accepts a search consultant’s recommendation. TC Palm.

New principal: Immokolee’s new principal at the struggling Lake Trafford Elementary: “Education is the way to move mountains.” Naples Daily News.

Crowdfunding: Hillsborough County teachers find supplies by asking for them on DonorsChoose.org, an online site that connects do-gooders with classroom needs. The Tampa Tribune.

Student conduct: A 13-year-old student is charged with bringing a knife to school. Fort Myers News-Press.

School leaders: Sarasota Herald-Tribune talks with Manatee Superintendent Rick Mills and Sarasota Superintendent Lori White.

Teachers: Local school districts are hiring new teachers — and still have positions unfilled. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Skillful teaching is observable, measurable and attainable. Tampa Bay Times.

School supplies: Parents, teachers and the community pitch in to buy school necessities. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

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BY Sherri Ackerman

Sherri Ackerman is the former associate editor of redefinED. She is a former correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times and reporter for The Tampa Tribune, writing about everything from cops and courts to social services and education. She grew up in Indiana and moved to Tampa as a teenager, graduating from Brandon High School and, later, from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/news editing. Sherri passed away in March 2016.