Florida schools roundup: Foundations, a rescue, a shooting and more

IMG_0001.JPGEducation foundation ratings: Twelve Florida county education foundations are among the nation’s top 50 in the annual Stepping Up survey conducted by Dewey & Associates. Pinellas County is No. 1, Hillsborough 6th, Osceola 8th, Seminole 10th, Brevard 16th, Polk 17th, Lee 27th, Broward 28th, Jacksonville 34th, Pasco 38th, Volusia 46th and Palm Beach 60th. The survey rates foundations in eight categories: total revenues, revenues per student, total assets, assets per student, grant and program expenses, grant and program expenses per student, investment income and volunteers.

Teacher saves student: When a piece of candy got stuck in a student’s throat during a social studies class at Silver Sands Middle School in Port Orange, teacher Corey McCormack performs the Heimlich maneuver to save his life. Daytona Beach News-Herald.

School shooting: A 15-year-old Lecanto High School student shoots himself in the head in his English class Tuesday. He’s in critical condition at a Tampa hospital. Citrus County ChronicleTampa Tribune. Tampa Bay Times.

Stadium negotiations: Miami-Dade school officials want benefits worth about $1.3 million for county schools in return for partnering with David Beckham to build a $200 million Major League Soccer stadium. A partnership would shield the team from paying taxes. Miami Herald.

Impact fees: Despite objections by developers, the Manatee County School Board unanimously approved a resolution asking county commissioners to reinstate school impact fees. Bradenton Herald.

No anonymous tips: The Collier County School Board rejects a proposal to set up an anonymous tip line. Naples Daily News.

School pledge: The Santa Rosa County legislative delegation will hold a public hearing over the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. Signs were recently posted in classrooms saying students are invited to recite the pledge, but are not required to do so. Pensacola News Journal.

Charter study supported: The methodology used to measure the effectiveness of online charter schools in Florida from 2001-2009 is being defended in a Harvard Kennedy School report. The initial Stanford University Center for Research on Education Outcomes report concludes there is “little doubt attending an online charter school leads to lessened academic growth for the average student.”

School testing: Florida superintendents are urging the State Board of Education to not connect Florida Standard Assessment test results to NAEP proficiency levels scores. Gradebook. Orlando Sentinel.

New school proposals: Pinellas County School Board members are considering building a career technical high school. Tampa Bay Times. The board is also being urged to consider creating two new schools at the site of shuttered ones. Gradebook.

School board districts: The Lee County School Board has postponed redrawing board districts for at least a year. NAACP officials, who urged the move, say they are disappointed with the delay. Fort Myers News-Press.

Homeschool legislation: Prompted by the death of 11-year-old Janiya Thomas, Manatee County School Board member Charlie Kennedy wants the board to support legislation to change the state’s homeschool law. Janiya was pulled from the public schools in 2013 and enrolled in homeschool in 2014 by her mother. Her body was found in a freezer in October. Bradenton Herald.

Salary negotiations: Lake County bus drivers, custodians and other service employees are at an impasse in contract negotiations. Orlando Sentinel. Polk County teachers protest the lack of progress in negotiations with the school district. Lakeland Ledger.

School start times: The Manatee County School Board will survey parents and other stakeholders before deciding to move school start times. Bradenton Herald. Volusia County schools will start Aug. 15, 2016, and end May 26, 2017. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Transportation director resigns: Palm Beach County schools’ transportation director resigns after a series of problems to start the school year. Palm Beach Post.

School traffic enforcement: Alachua County law enforcement officials issued hundreds of traffic citations and warnings in school zones during Operation Safe Schools, a four-week operation with a goal of reducing pedestrian injuries. Gainesville Sun.

Discrimination suit: A former assistant principal in Pasco County is suing the district, alleging she was discriminated against because of her pregnancy. Gradebook.

School aide arrested: A 45-year-old teacher’s aide at Highland Groves Elementary School in Lakeland pleads guilty to child enticement after police say she tried to have sex with an 11-year-old boy. Tampa Tribune.

Employee discipline: An Orange County teacher accused of throwing a 7-year-old student to the ground is fined $2,000 by the state but still works for the district in another school. Orlando Sentinel. Video is released showing a school resource officer shoving a 13-year-old Kissimmee Middle School student to the ground. The officer was arrested and his trial begins Dec. 7. Orlando Sentinel. Two Sebastian Middle School employees are reassigned after an incident with a student in the school cafeteria. St. Augustine Record.

Board member followed: Duval County School Board Constance Hall says she was followed after a night board meeting. Police and school officials are investigating. Jacksonville Times-Union.

Student enrichment: Miami’s Brownsville Middle School students team with Rachel’s Challenge to promote a safe and caring environment at the school. The program honors Rachel Scott, the first victim in the Columbine, Colo., school shootings in 1999. Miami Herald. A former Boca High School student tells an assembly at the school about his brush with death after being hit by a car. Palm Beach Post. Maritime interests and Hillsborough schools team up to create the Maritime Honors Academy at Jefferson High School, hoping to pique students’ interest in jobs in the shipping industry. StateImpact Florida. A Pace High School senior has been selected for the Army All-American Marching Band, one of just 125 chosen. Pensacola News Journal.