Florida schools roundup: Retirement delay, charters, graduation and more

florida-roundup-logoFinish-the-year pay: The Orange County School District reaches an agreement with 111 retiring teachers to work through the end of the school year. The teachers will be paid their current rate for the days beyond their retirement date, which is six days before the end of the school year. Orlando Sentinel.

Charter school query: The St. Johns County School District is investigating “allegations of irregularities” in First Coast Technical College’s administrative and reporting practices. FCTC is a charter school. An employee is alleging that FCTC, a charter school, encourages students to do poorly on the Tests Of Adult Basic Education so they could be eligible for a scholarship. St. Augustine Record.

Graduation rate dips: The Lake County School District says it has to improve its graduation rate, which has fallen about three percentage points in two years and is now below the state average of 75.8 percent. School officials say data entry mistakes and a loss of interest by students are contributing factors. Daily Commercial.

District goals: The Indian River County School District received an A grade from the state, but it still needs improvement in student discipline, elementary reading proficiency and fifth-grade English, Superintendent Mark Rendell says in his state of the district speech. TCPalm.

Hiring day: The Escambia County School District is holding a teacher fair Saturday, where it hopes to fill its vacancies for the 20186-2017 school year. Pensacola News Journal.

Director resigns: Doug Compton, the former transportation director for the Hernando County School District, has resigned and won’t appeal his firing after he was accused of sexually harassing a female employee. Tampa Bay Times.

Drug testing: The Monroe County School Board is considering a proposal to drug-test student-athletes. Keynoter.

Replacement candidates: Thirteen people have applied to Gov. Rick Scott to replace Michael Murgio on the Palm Beach County School Board. Murgio resigned last month after he was indicted on federal bribery charges. Sun-Sentinel.

Union rats: Some tenants of the Broward Teachers Union building in South Florida say problems with rats have forced them to look for other accommodations. A BTU spokeswoman says the rat issues have been resolved. Sun-Sentinel.

Stadium upgrades: The Orange County School District and the city of Winter Park have agreed on a plan to renovate Showalter Field, which is used by the community and Winter Park High School. Synthetic turf will be put on the football field and a new track will be built at a cost of nearly $1 million. Orlando Sentinel.

Superintendent race: Former Bay County School Superintendent James McCalister is running for the office again. He’s challenging current superintendent Bill Husfelt. Panama City News Herald.

Lacrosse headgear: High school girls lacrosse players are unhappy with the head gear they’re required by the state to wear, starting next spring. WUSF.

‘Jeopardy’ player: Lauren Gilmore, 26, a teacher at Lake Wales High School, wins $11,000 and places second on the TV quiz show Jeopardy. Lakeland Ledger.

Notable deaths: Ron Crawford, a four-term member of the Marion County School Board, has died at age 63. Ocala Star Banner.

Student killed: A George Jenkins High School student walking to school is hit and killed by a vehicle driven by Polk County school crossing guard supervisor Shirley Cross. Kalen Kirk was 17. Police are investigating. Lakeland Ledger. Tampa Tribune. Orlando Sentinel.

Ex-teacher pleads out: Dennis Dean Turner, a former teacher at Edgewood Junior/Senior High in Merritt Island, pleads guilty to sexual battery of a student. He will be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison. Florida Today.

Opinions on schools: Preparing high school youth for success in the world today requires a vastly different educational experience than a generation ago. Laurie Futterman, Miami Herald. There’s no reason to force bored students who finish their standardized testing early to “sit and stare” — and every reason to minimize the dangers of distraction to their classmates. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Monroe County has seen dramatic growth in the number of students in advanced placement enrollment in STEM courses since 2014. Paul Cottle, Bridge to Tomorrow.

Student enrichment: Third-graders at Divine Mercy Catholic Academy of Merritt Island learn how to build and program robots. Florida Today. Davenport School of the Arts is one of just two Florida schools to receive Florida Arts Model School status for each the four disciplines: music, theater, dance and visual arts. Lakeland Ledger. Buchholz High School is one of the 16 remaining finalists competing in the Department of Energy National Science Bowl. About 9,000 high school students and 5,100 middle school students are participating. Gainesville Sun. Leon High School crowns a gay couple as prom king and queen, a first in the school’s 185-year-old history. Lindsey Creel and Brie Grimes are seniors who have been dating three years. Tallahassee Democrat. Rutherford High School’s Student 2 Student Club welcomes new students and helps integrate them with the general student population. Panama City News Herald.

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BY NextSteps staff