Florida schools roundup: Class sizes, critical thinking, literacy plan and more

IMG_0001.JPGSchool class sizes: More than 60 percent of Florida schools now define themselves as schools of choice, which allows them to calculate class size as a schoolwide average rather than the room-by-room count non-choice schools must adhere to. State Sen. John Legg, R-Lutz, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, says new legislation will be drafted to “stop playing shell games” that began after a 2013 law gave schools a way to sidestep the class-size requirements of the 2002 constitutional amendment. Orlando Sentinel. Tampa Bay Times. Palm Beach Post.

Opinions on schools: Today’s tests-oriented classrooms are putting critical thinking skills at risk, and the decline started with a 2006 Florida law that says “only facts be taught when it comes to discussing the period of discovery and the early colonies.” This Magazine.

School for Deaf and Blind: The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) provides hope and services for children across north Florida. Tallahassee Democrat. FSDB football coach Eric LeFors, who is deaf, talks about the school’s 102nd season. Tallahassee Democrat.

Literacy project: Palm Beach County schools, the city of West Palm Beach, nonprofits and corporations team up to improve literacy in schools. Palm Beach Post.

School traffic patterns: There will be little traffic impact if children from a Pasco County subdivision are rezoned to a different school, school official say after studying the complaint by parents. Tampa Bay Times.

Superintendent’s vow: Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who has been courted for other jobs, says he’s not leaving before his contract ends in 2020 and even pledged to donate his salary from his final year back to the school district. Miami Herald.

School changes cost: Duval County School Superintendent Nikolai Vitti’s proposed changes for 19 schools could cost as much as $9 million, documents show. Florida Times-Union.

Communications chief: The Orange County School District is looking for a chief communications officer. Orlando Sentinel.

Private school: Students and staff talk about what The Human Experience, a nonprofit private middle school in Orlando, means to them. Orlando Sentinel.

Harassment settlement: The Palm Beach County School Board is considering a $250,000 settlement with a former Jupiter Middle school student who says he was sexually harassed by a teacher. Palm Beach Post.

Bus fleet upgrades: Lee County school spends about $1 million to add a digital radio and GPS system to each of its 750 buses. Fort Myers News-Press.

Stadium renovation: Construction has begun to upgrade the Vero Beach High School Citrus Bowl, and work is expected to be done in time for graduation ceremonies June 3. TCPalm.

School parking plan: Lake Alfred city commissioners approve a plan for 382 parking spaces at the Discovery Academy charter school, which opens next fall. Lakeland Ledger.

Fireworks debate: Frostproof City Council discusses a complaint that fireworks from Frostproof High School football games are too loud. School officials say the fireworks are about more than just football. Lakeland Ledger.

Gruesome sight at school: A deer was left hanging by a rear leg from a flagpole at Brandon High School on Monday morning as staff and students arrived. Hillsborough sheriff’s deputies says trespassing charges could be filed if they find the culprits. Tampa Tribune.

Student enrichment: Students across Central Florida will get a chance to see how video games are made in virtual field trips to Electronic Arts Tiburon in Maitland, which makes the Madden NFL 16 game. Orlando Sentinel. Two Miami-area high school juniors raise $46,000 cancer research with an elaborate haunted house. Miami Herald. Fourth graders get tips from the Sarasota County Mediation Program on dealing with bullies. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Technology obtained through grants helps students understand how salt affects the freezing point of water at the Deane Bozeman School. Panama City News Herald. Nineteen of Ace Martin’s former students at the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts are returning for a band concert. Florida Times-Union.