Teacher bonuses for content experts, school law challenge, CPR bill and more

Teacher bonuses: The Florida Board of Education will reconsider rules at its meeting Monday that define “content experts” so those teachers can be eligible for recruitment bonuses through the state’s Best and Brightest Scholarship Program. An emergency rule adopted in July broadly defined content experts in the subjects of math, science, computer science, civics and reading. Now the board wants to replace that rule. Gradebook. Sarasota County Superintendent Todd Bowden is proposing to take $2.2 million from the district’s reserves to provide bonuses for some teachers who otherwise would get little or nothing through the state’s bonuses program. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Challenge to school law: When nine school boards take the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 2017 education law H.B. 7069 to the Florida Supreme Court, the Collier County School Board will not be among the plaintiffs. The board decided to drop out of the lawsuit after an appeals court ruled against the school boards in August. “At this point, I cannot recommend appealing it to the Supreme Court and incur the costs involved,” said district attorney Jon Fishbane. The board had already spent about $90,000 for legal fees. Naples Daily News. St. Lucie County School Board vice chair Kathryn Hensley says she doubts the Supreme Court will overturn the appeals court ruling, but that moving ahead with the challenge is necessary to make sure the board’s concerns are heard. TCPalm.

CPR training bill: All Florida high school students would receive cardiopulmonary training as part of physical-education or other classes in schools under a bill filed this week. S.B. 432, proposed by Sen. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, would base the classes on programs designed by such organizations as the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross. News Service of Florida.

Contract negotiations: Brevard County school officials and the teachers union wrap up contract negotiations after agreeing to a long list of working conditions. The sides reached a deal on pay earlier in the week. If union members vote to approve the agreement, it then goes to the school board for a final vote. The district hopes that can be done in time for teachers to get the pay raise — $2,000 to teachers rated “highly effective” and $1,500 to those rated “effective,” plus an extra $2,000 to all teachers who reach their 12th year with the district — by Thanksgiving. Florida Today.

Superintendent search: The 25-member Volusia County Citizens Superintendent Search Committee is recommending seven finalists for the superintendent’s job. The recommendations now go to the school board for its consideration. David Moore, an assistant superintendent in Miami-Dade County who oversees school turnaround and student services, was the committee’s top pick with 19 votes. Three of the recommended finalists are from out-of-state. The school board wants to have the new superintendent on the job by January. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Holocaust education: More than 60 south Florida principals have gone through two hours of training to turn them into “champions” of Holocaust education at their schools. The training was part of the Anti-Defamation League’s Holocaust education initiative. One of those attending was Allison Castellano, the new principal of Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton. Her predecessor, William Latson, touched off the education drive when he told a parent in April that he couldn’t say the Holocaust was a “factual, historical” event. Miami Herald.

Schools hold town halls: For the second year, Palm Beach County school leaders are holding town hall meetings with parents of students to discuss vaping, sexting, bullying and making school threats. Seminole Ridge High Principal James Campbell, who spoke about vaping last year, says those incidents are down in the district this year. “I hope that usage has decreased dramatically,” he said, “but I cannot say that confidently yet.” Palm Beach Post.

Community school: The transition has begun to turn Manatee Elementary School in Bradenton into the county’s first community partnership school, where educational, medical, mental health and social services are available to help students and their families. The school district is partnering with the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, the Children’s Home Society of Florida and Manatee County Rural Health. The transition is expected to be completed by next August. Bradenton Herald.

New schools planned: Plans are progressing to build two new K-8 schools in the next three years to relieve overcrowding at the three largest middle schools in Santa Rosa County. A school in Navarre is projected to open in the fall of 2021, and one in Pace would open a year later. Northwest Florida Daily News.

Overcrowded schools: An Orange County charter proposal that would have required the school board to prepare plans for a new school if a school exceeded 120 percent of its planned capacity for two straight years was killed this week. The proposal died for the lack of a second at a Orange County Charter Review Commission meeting. Florida Politics.

Education podcasts: Tony Pirotta, a social studies teacher at Armwood High School in Hillsborough County, has his students research issues and write bills for the Legislature every year, then lobby lawmakers to sponsor them. He talks about this year’s subject — testing of English-language learners — and about the Ought to be a Law project. Gradebook.

Quiz teacher disciplined: Palm Beach County school officials say the Duncan Middle School teacher who gave her students a quiz that called President Trump an idiot has been disciplined for “unprofessional behavior.” But they won’t name the teacher or describe the discipline. Officials say the teacher downloaded the quiz from a website named Quizlet and didn’t see the “egregiously inappropriate question.” Palm Beach Post. Sun Sentinel.

School parking lot fracas: The mother of a Palm Beach County student has been arrested and accused of dragging a school resource officer after she told her to move her car off a crosswalk at Liberty Park Elementary School in Greenacres. The officer wasn’t seriously hurt, and subdued the driver with pepper spray. Palm Beach Post.

School bus burns: Police are investigating why a Broward County school bus caught fire on a public street in Pembroke Pines. The bus had just made its final stop at Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale and was on its way to a school activity when the fire began. No students were on the bus, and the driver escaped. Miami Herald.

Students arrested: An 11-year-old Volusia County student is arrested after allegedly writing threats against Galaxy Middle School on a bathroom wall. Daytona Beach News-Journal. A Citrus High School student has been charged with disrupting school functions by yelling that he had a gun at the Inverness school. Citrus County Chronicle.

Opinions on schools: If your child has followed the grade school and high school curricula and taken state exams designed to prepare kids for college and earned a diploma, your child should be able to do college work. But not necessarily in Florida. Diane Rado, Florida Phoenix. Florida’s K-12 and higher education systems have gotten national applause. So why is our state doing so poorly in educating scientists and engineers? Paul Cottle, Bridge to Tomorrow. If there’s a lesson in a teacher’s test that calls President Trump an idiot, it’s that it’s always better to describe a person’s actions than to slap on a label. And this works not only for Palm Beach County middle school teachers, but also American presidents. Frank Cerabino, Palm Beach Post. No one wants to see a teen’s life derailed by a criminal charge, but the consequences of making threats against must be drilled into a teenager’s head. Miami Herald. School districts face structural barriers to closing the communication gaps with parents and the community. They can be overcome by giving parents more say in their children’s education, and better access to the teachers and administrators who deliver it. Scott Kent, redefinED.

Student enrichment: Three Okaloosa County high schools will get a boost in their STEM programs through a two-year, $900,000 grant from the Department of Defense. Teachers of Advanced Placement math and science classes at Fort Walton Beach, Choctawhatchee and Crestview high schools have already started training intended to help them boost enrollment and performance in AP classes. Northwest Florida Daily News. Eight Florida schools receive hundreds of free iPads through Verizon’s Innovative Learning program. WFOR. WSVN.