Florida schools roundup: Suicide prevention, grades, No Child and more

IMG_0001.JPGSuicide prevention: Two Lee County legislators say they will file bills requiring a two-hour suicide prevention course be added to continuing education requirements for all Florida teachers. Florida Politics. Sunshine State News.

Grades dispute: After the state Department of Education released projected school grades, Brevard School Superintendent Desmond K. Blackburn makes this statement to parents: “It remains our stance that a January release of school grades based upon the flawed administration of the new test and the absence of learning gains WILL NOT adequately reflect the hard work of our teachers, our leaders, our support staff, or our babies. In fact, this release could negatively impact the learning environment as we approach this Spring’s assessment season. If the rule is approved, and if these grades are released, we will focus our efforts to work together to keep our learning environments free from the distractions that this could cause.” Brevard Public Schools. Florida Today.

No Child law: President Obama signs into law a rewritten No Child Left Behind Act that restores power to state and local school districts to decide how to improve schools. New York Times. Education Week.

Charter schools: Florida lost as much as $150,000 it invested in two Treasure Coast charter schools that lasted less than eight years, which is symptomatic of a statewide problem. Florida invested more than $70 million in charter schools that closed, according to an AP investigation. TCPalm. Four more charter schools that could have up to 3,000 students are up for approval in Hillsborough County. There are about 50 charter schools in the county now. Gradebook. The Seminole Science Charter School in Lake Mary is flourishing with its curriculum that centers on math and science. It has 370 students but a waiting list of more than 1,000. Orlando Sentinel.

School rezonings: Pasco County school officials are moving ahead with new attendance boundaries for five elementary schools, despite the objections of parents. The opening of a new school next fall prompted the rezonings. Gradebook. Thousands of students would shift schools under a rezoning plan to relieve overcrowding in some Orange County schools. Orlando Sentinel.

School impact fees: The Manatee County Planning Commission is recommending the County Commission approve the reinstatement of school impact fees. Bradenton Herald.

Contract negotiations: The Hillsborough County School Board approves a contract with the union representing bus drivers, custodians and other blue-collar workers. The district is still negotiating with the teachers union. Tampa Tribune. The Marion County School Board approves a 21 percent raise for its staff attorney. Ocala Star Banner.

Grievance denied: Lake County school officials deny a grievance over planning time filed by the teachers union. Daily Commercial.

Bonita Springs school: A meeting Thursday about a new high school in Bonita Springs focuses more on what kind of curriculum to expect when the school opens instead of where the school will be built. No site has been chosen, and several proposed site has drawn protests. Fort Myers News-Press. Naples Daily News.

Teacher memorial: Marguerite “Margaret” Brown, who died Dec. 9 at 92, was a link between the one-room, blacks-only schools in Hernando County and the post-integration era. Tampa Bay Times.

Opinions on schools: Trust and communication are essential, but have been lacking, in the fight over whether Indian River County schools have violated a desegregation order. TCPalm. Will the new No Child Left Behind Act be better than the old one? New York Times.

Student’s death: No foul play is suspected in the death of a child taken to a hospital Thursday from Waterleaf Elementary School in Jacksonville. Florida Times-Union.

Employees in trouble: A former teacher’s aide at Highlands Grove Elementary School in Lakeland pleads guilty to charges of attempting to have sex with a child under the age of 12. Lakeland Ledger.

School hit by car: A Coconut Creek preschool is hit by a 71-year-old driver who apparently had a medical issue. A toddler in the car was slightly injured, but no children in the school were hurt. Sun-Sentinel.

School turnaround: Spring Hill Elementary in Hernando County is a D school trying to improve. A new principal, some grant money and a new emphasis on coaching and collaboration are in place. Tampa Bay Times.

Student enrichment: A 17-year-old senior at Southeast High School reflects on the relationship he’s had with his mentor from the Take Stock in Children program. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. About 30 students at Pasco Middle School take part in a TEDx Talk Competition, which helps students understand argumentative writing. Tampa Tribune. About 250 students from 17 Alachua County schools participate in the first robotics competition. Gainesville Sun.

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BY NextSteps staff