New, more diverse board in Broward, evaluations of superintendents, bathroom rules and more

Around the state: Four new Broward school board members will be sworn in Nov. 22 into what they hope is a time of a greater focus on student achievement and less time spent on distractions, Alachua school officials are struggling to understand how they’re out of compliance with the state’s new rules regarding student bathroom use, Duval and Charlotte superintendents receive positive evaluations, and schools are reopening in several districts after closing last week for Hurricane Ian. Here are details about those stories and others from the state’s districts, private schools, and colleges and universities:

Broward: Four new school board members will be sworn into office Nov. 22, and they and other educators hope it’s the beginning of a time when less attention is paid to politics and other “adult issues” such as audits and questions about the future of Superintendent Vickie Cartwright, and more to student achievement. The new board will be more diverse, politically, racially, and by gender. “It will be diverse. It will have experienced and new members and will have multiple political leanings,” said Allen Zeman, who beat Donna Korn last week for the District 8 seat. “My sense is this is going to be a highly functional board.” One of the priorities for the board is to improve the district’s grade from the state from a B to an A. The last time it was graded as an A district was in 2011. Sun-Sentinel. WLRN.

Orange: A 19-year-old man was shot and killed in the parking lot of Jones High School in Orlando during a playoff football game Friday night between Jones and Wekiva High. With just under two minutes left in the game and Jones leading 29-13, shots rang out from the north parking lot. Players and spectators rushed to the southern grandstands, and police found Gamaine Patrick Brown dead in the parking lot and another person injured. Four people were taken into custody, and the game did not resume. Orlando Sentinel. WKMG. WOFL. WFTV. WESH. SB Live.

Duval: Superintendent Diana Greene was rated “effective” in her annual evaluation by the school board last week. She was given high marks for eliminating F grades for all traditional district schools, her leadership on helping the district through the pandemic, building and promoting community partnerships, and helping convince voters to approve the referendum to support teachers and employees. Among the recommendations from the board for Greene were to continue to focus on student literacy and attendance, combat the migration of students from district schools, and more. WJXT.

Brevard: The school board got more conservative with last week’s election of Gene Trent in District 2 and Megan Wright’s defeat of incumbent Misty Belford in the August primary. Both were openly supported by the county’s Republican party, and the board now has four GOP members. The election outcome is expected to push the board further in the direction of protecting parents’ rights in education. Florida Today.

Volusia: Schools will reopen today after closing last week for Hurricane Ian. “Volusia County Schools has finished assessing all schools and district facilities after the storm. All have been found to be safe,” district officials announced over the weekend on Twitter. Makeup days for the instructional time lost will be announced soon, they said. Spectrum News 13.

Marion: A student was hospitalized Friday after a pickup truck slammed into the back of a stopped school bus in Lake Mary, according to Florida Highway Patrol troopers. The bus had 49 students, the driver and an aide aboard. WKMG. WOFL.

St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River: Schools in all three districts are open today, officials said Friday. Some schools in Martin County reported roof leaks after Hurricane Ian hit the area last week but, “Everything is extremely minimal,” said spokeswoman Jennifer DeShazo. “We are good to go for Monday.” Indian River County schools used as storm shelters have been cleaned and debris around the county collected, so Superintendent David Moore said, “We are all open.” No damage was reported at St. Lucie County schools. TCPalm.

Alachua: School officials are struggling to comply with new state rules that require informing parents how bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms are designated and supervised, including whether the rooms are gender-neutral or separated by someone’s biological sex. The district doesn’t currently notify parents, and students may use the bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity or are given separate accommodations. District spokeswoman Jackie Johnson said the district is technically in violation of the rules, but it’s not sure how. “We haven’t heard since what is the specific issue with our particular guide,” she said. “But in the meantime, we’re still looking at ours and reviewing it to see if any changes need to be made.” Gainesville Sun.

Charlotte: School board members collectively gave Superintendent Steve Dionisio a 9.17 score on a 10-point scale on his recent evaluation. He was also over the 9-point level on his 2020 and 2021 evaluations with 9.31 and 9.49, respectively. “Different times call for different leaders,” said board member Kim Amontree, who added the board was fortunate to have  “the perfect leader for this time.” Her colleague, Wendy Atkinson, agreed. “We have the very best superintendent in the state of Florida,” she said. Charlotte Sun.

Citrus: School board members will consider a proposal Tuesday to issue bonuses of $166 for teachers rated highly effective and $124.50 for effective ones, give a $10 a month raise for all employees in the school district’s health insurance plan, and pay teachers $32 an hour for extra instructional duty. Citrus County Chronicle.

Around the nation: A post-pandemic survey shows that more than half of the parents would prefer directing and curating their child’s education instead of relying solely on the public school system. “What we’re hearing from parents loud and clear is they feel a greater sense of ownership over their child’s education,” said Christian Lehr, a senior principal in the investment banking and consulting firm Tyton Partners. “The last two years have been incredibly difficult. Now, parents are actively searching for new experiences that will deliver on academic promises, yes, but also bring joy and delight.” The 74. A recent study estimates there are more than 36,500 teacher vacancies across the country and more than 163,500 teachers are either uncertified or not certified in the subject they are teaching. Other surveys, including one by the Rand Corp., report that more than 33 percent of teachers and 60 percent of principals reported being harassed “because of their school’s policies on COVID-19 safety measures or for teaching about race, racism, or bias.” NPR.

Opinions on schools: There you are trying to hold a class discussion about the historical abuses under communist governments, and your students keep dragging you to more current abuse victims at the hands of your own state’s government. That’s the kind of thinking we can’t have here in the free state of Florida. Frank Cerabino, Palm Beach Post.

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