Career education proposal, effect of later starting times, new scholarship and more

Career training proposal: A proposal to revise the state’s approach to career education will be considered by the Florida Board of Education at its meeting Wednesday. The proposal calls for the Florida Department of Education to collaborate with organizations and agencies to match the technical and career courses being offered at schools with the state’s employment needs. It also calls for an expansion of apprenticeship programs, and annual reviews of the program to make sure the courses offered stay in step with job demands. The Legislature also passed a bill aimed at bolstering career education in the state that includes some of the same ideas, which awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature. Gradebook.

School start times: Later school start times improve test scores for students, and especially older students, according to a study of schools in the Florida Panhandle that are divided between the Eastern and Central time zones. It’s a region where the time of sunrise varies even where school start times may not. A comparison of test scores for students ages 8-15 who move from one time zone to another shows about a 1 percent improvement for younger students, but an 8 percent improvement for older ones. EducationNext.

New scholarship funding: Using public money to send students to private schools draws mixed reviews of a panel of 50 prominent political and policy figures from across the state. Forty-three percent oppose the new Family Empowerment Scholarship while 41 percent support it, but even supporters say greater accountability of private schools and their operators should be attached to the money. Miami Herald.

Superintendent’s job: Next week, a Senate special master will hear former Okaloosa County superintendent Mary Beth Jackson’s appeal of her suspension by Gov. Ron DeSantis. But the full Senate may not vote whether to uphold the suspension until September, when committee meetings are scheduled. Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, decided to have the Senate consider the cases of Jackson and former Broward sheriff Scott Israel at the same time. Israel was suspended for his department’s response to the Parkland school shooting. Northwest Florida Daily News.

Contract negotiations: The Sarasota County School District and its teachers union begin contract negotiations next week. Union officials say they want to add language to the existing contract that calls on administrators to support teachers who impose discipline on students, and to revise the teacher evaluation system so that more teachers receive highly effective designations. Union president Barry Durbin says the district is always one of the highest-rated in the state, and therefore should have one of the higher percentages of highly effective teachers. School board chair Jane Goodwin says some of the contract language is now at odds with state law and needs to be revised. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Security in schools: Five central Florida students who are members of a TV station’s Generation Under Fire panel talk about gun violence at schools and how it affects them. WKMG.

School impact fees: Santa Rosa County school officials didn’t get the response they were hoping for when they asked the county commission to impose impact fees on new development to pay for enrollment growth. The reception is forcing them to consider other options. Northwest Florida Daily News.

Vaccination exemptions: Northeast Florida health department officials say there’s been an increase in the number of students citing religious exemptions to opt out of required vaccinations, even though the percentage doing so is still below the national average. WJXT.

Open enrollment: About half of Pasco County’s schools are accepting transfers during the open enrollment period, and only about 35 percent of those students applying for a change are being accepted. Gradebook.

Using phones in classes: Cell phone use by students is banned in Collier County elementary and middle schools, but high school teachers have the option of incorporating them into schoolwork. Many have embraced the opportunity. Naples Daily News.

District on Instagram: The Pinellas County School District has opened an Instagram account as another form of communication with parents. Graduation photos and videos are being posted, and the district will also feature historical photos. Gradebook.

Reaction to public resignation: A Hillsborough County teacher’s resignation, announced on social media and in a newspaper column, draws strong reaction, both positive and negative. Bianca Goolsby, a 29-year-old business technology teacher at Jennings Middle School in Seffner, was critical of the school, some teachers and administrators. School officials say they’ve done the best they can. Gradebook.

Sheriff resigns from board: Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels resigns from the board of the St. Johns Classical Academy charter school after reports of his extramarital affair that expanded into a scandal over payments to the woman he was involved with and her arrest after he accused her of stalking him. WJAX. WJXT.

Personnel moves: Amelia Fulmer, who has taught in the Flagler County School District for almost 30 years, has been named the director of the Flagler Auditorium Performing Arts Center. She succeeds Lisa McDevitt, who died in January. Fulmer’s most recent job has been director of choral activities, international baccalaureate music instructor and guitar instructor at Flagler Palm Coast High School. The school is associated with the auditorium. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Student struck and killed: A 9-year-old Sarasota County student bicycling to school Monday morning was struck and killed by a pickup truck as he crossed a street. Roman Miller, a 3rd-grader at Brentwood Elementary School, was riding behind his older sister as they crossed while the truck was at a stop sign. Troopers say the driver saw the girl but not Roman, pulled out and hit him. Troopers are continuing to investigate. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. WFLA. WTSP.

Incident unreported: An Orange County school clerk says when a mother came to the school March 8 to pick up her 11-year-old daughter, the girl seemed scared and appeared to be cowering. The clerk told a dean at Westridge Middle School that the authorities should be called, but they weren’t. Two days days later, Aleyda Rivera was stabbed to death and her mother, Rosa Rivera, was arrested. Orlando Sentinel.

Videos of school incident: The Broward County Sheriff’s Office releases a body-cam video of an officer slamming a student to the floor at Blanche Ely High School. The 17-year-old student hit his head and bled on the floor. The family says it’s suing the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Gregory Tony says the video shows the officer did nothing wrong. Miami Herald. A cellphone video of a confrontation between a substitute teacher and a student prompts an investigation by the Duval County School District. The video shows the teacher pushing one of the students to the ground while breaking up a fight in a classroom at Terry Parker High School. WJAX.

Guns on campus: A Pinellas County teacher is arrested and fired for bringing a loaded gun and knives into her classroom, according to school police. Betty Jo Soto, 49, was a 4th-grade teacher at Starkey Elementary School in Seminole. Gradebook. WFLA. Four Gadsden County teenagers are arrested for trespassing at Godby High School in Tallahassee, and one of them is also facing charges of possession of a firearm on school property. The gun was loaded, according to police. Tallahassee Democrat.

Profane incident discussed: Broward County school Superintendent Robert Runcie meets with parents of several Pasadena Lakes Elementary School students about an incident in which a teacher and an aide were recorded swearing at autistic kindergartners. The parents want the offenders fired. Runcie told them the aide would not work in the district again, and that the investigation is ongoing. Sun Sentinel.

Comments investigated: A middle school teacher’s social media comments are being investigated by the Leon County School District. Scott Montgomery, an 8th-grade U.S. history teacher at Swift Creek Middle School, wrote on “Someone just rang my doorbell at 10:48 pm and ran. Note to anyone in area there may be some kids running around. If it happens again I’m letting my dog loose and I’m a pretty damn good shot and will not hesitate!” Tallahassee Democrat.

Opinions on schools: More choice isn’t hurting public education. It’s strengthening it. And, yes, there are always areas for improvement, but more options mean more models that can work for more kids. State Rep. Vance Aloupis, Miami Herald. Introducing a daily moment of silence into our classrooms will be a huge first step towards reinserting the soul of this nation back into the center of its culture and life where it always belonged. Rabbi Sholom Ciment, Sun Sentinel. The Temple of Time tribute to the victims of the Parkland school shooting was meant to evoke strong reactions. Mine was to write on a piece of wood, “May something good please come from such great sadness.” Rosemary O’Hara, Sun Sentinel. There are plenty of reports on educational choice that are worth telling readers about. But the recently released Florida Education Association “analysis” was not one of them. Ron Matus, redefinED.

Student enrichment: Evan Rasmussen, a senior at Lake Minneola High School who’s been hospitalized in pediatric intensive care with a chronic illness, is taken by ambulance to his school’s graduation ceremonies. There, he was wheeled across the stage in his cap and gown to receive his diploma. Orlando Sentinel. Grace Long, a student with Down syndrome who attends Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School in North Miami, is crowned prom queen. WSVN.

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BY NextSteps staff