Florida schools roundup: Language requirements, choice, charters and more

IMG_0001.JPGAu revoir to French?: A bill filed by State Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Parkland, would alter the requirements for Bright Futures scholarships from two years of a foreign language to two years of computer coding. Tallahassee Democrat.

School choice bills: Several school choice bills have been filed for the next legislative session. One, by State Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Clearwater, would allow schools with openings to accept students from other counties. Gradebook.

Charter enrollment flattens: Wild growth in charter school enrollment in Duval County is tailing off. After years of double-digit percentage increases, growth is just 1.5 percent this year. Florida Times-Union.

School testing: Maryland is looking into the use of standardized testing and the company that provides most of it, NSC Pearson. It is a leading test company nationwide, though it has lost contracts with Florida and several other states. Maryland Reporter. The highest pass rates in Advanced Placement class exams by black Florida students are in French, art and psychology. Bridge to Tomorrow.

Recess return?: A recess committee in Polk County is recommending student in K-2 be given 10-20 minutes of play time every day, and students in grades 3-5 should get 50-80 minutes a week. The recommendation now goes to the school board. Lakeland Ledger.

Opinions on schools: The Monique Burr Foundation, a Jacksonville nonprofit whose Child Safety Matters program educates children to avoid being victimized by abuse, is a heralded program with impressive results and is free to any school district in the state. So why are 12 counties not taking advantage? Florida Times-Union. Does Florida need more money in the budget for education or for incentive packages to companies? This is a battle for the state’s soul, writes Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel. The relationship between Idlewild Baptist Church and Hillsborough schools is blurring the lines between church and state, writes Sue Carlton of the Tampa Bay Times.

Sales tax hike: Members of the Palm Beach County School Board will meet with county administrators to discuss asking voters for a penny increase in the sales tax. Palm Beach Post.

Desegregation fight: The Indian River County NAACP says the school system is lying about how many minority teachers and administrators it has. The NAACP has filed a complaint against the system, alleging it is in violation of a 1967 desegregation order. TCPalm.

School sites: An alternative site for a new high school in Bonita Springs might infringe on the county’s land preservation program. The first proposed site was criticized for its proximity to several subdivisions. Naples Daily News. Four areas of Sarasota County are being targeted for new elementary schools. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Surveys say: Pasco County parents and students most wish for STEM and performing arts magnet schools, according to a survey. Tampa Bay Times. And an overwhelming majority of Pasco teachers say that the district’s quarterly checks on student progress have poorly worded questions and that not all the questions have appropriate or valid answers. Gradebook.

School board controversy: Tradition is set aside by the Hillsborough County School Board when it elects April Griffin as chairman instead of Doreatha Edgecomb, the sole black member of the board and next in line for the job. Tampa Tribune. Tampa Bay Times. The Collier County School Board changes its meetings times to 4 p.m., which drew complaints from some members. Naples Daily News.

School board salaries: The Brevard County School Board rejects a proposal by one member to freeze board salaries at the current level. Each board member will get a raise of just under $1,400 a year. Florida Today.

Superintendent graded: Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa is rated highly effective by six of the seven board members. Sun-Sentinel.

Teaming up: The Lake County School Board is working on an agreement that would transfer 2.2 acres at a former school to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake and Sumter counties. The clubs would build a center that can serve 1,000 students. Daily Commercial.

Magnet school changes: Miami’s Design Architecture magnet high school is celebrating its 25th year with a plan to expand its building. At the same time it is saying goodbye to Principal Stacey Mancuso, who has run the school for 17 years. Miami Herald.

Teacher turns author: Gail C. Neal, a teacher in Miami schools for 36 years, is now an author of children’s books too. Miami Herald.

Schools and courts: A former Clearwater High School teacher has been sentenced to two years in prison for having sex with a minor. Tampa Bay Times.

Teacher discipline: A Cape Coral High School language arts teacher and coach has been fired for inappropriate contact with a student. Fort Myers News-Press.

Student discipline: The Escambia County School Board approves formal hearings for two West Florida High School sophomores for stripping the clothes off a fellow football player. Pensacola News Journal.

Ineligible player:  Choctawhatchee High School has used an overage football player in its run to the playoffs. FHSAA officials are investigating, though any penalties won’t be determined until after the season is over. Panama City News Herald.

Student enrichment: Crossroad Academy Charter School students practice table etiquette at the Leon County Civic Center. WCTV. Florida State’s Opening Nights Performing Arts is selected as an outstanding partner by the Leon County School District. FSU. Brooksville Elementary School students’ latest overseas outreach is to provide books for aboriginal children in a remote area of Australia. Tampa Bay Times. Eligible Laurel Hill School students get free dental work from a mobile clinic. Northwest Florida Daily News. Bay County students review potential career options at a conference held by the Bay County Chamber of Commerce and Gulf Coast State College. Panama City News Herald. An outdoor garden relieves stress for Rosenwald High School students. Panama City News Herald.