New programs focus on economically disadvantaged learners, students struggling with reading and more

Around the state: Several new school boards were sworn in over the last week with several boards flipping entirely thanks to political disagreements over culture and handling of the pandemic. Newly elected school boards in two districts are now looking to fire the local school superintendents. Dr. Asplen, whose job as superintendent of Sarasota County Schools came under fire this week for failing to improve academics over the last two years, argued that Sarasota County schools hadn’t improved in 25 years and that politics has to get out of schools if the district wants to improve. WFLA. Politico Florida. Tampa Bay Times.

Escambia: David Williams, the newly elected District 3 Escambia County School Board member, may not be a resident of District 3 according to his predecessor, Laura Edler. Pensacola News Journal.

Hillsborough: Sing Out and Read is working to improve reading and literacy among elementary students in the Tampa Bay area. Victoria Klug, a first-grade teacher at Dunbar Elementary calls the program a “game changer,” stating that it has helped close the gap between students with a two-grade level difference in reading skills. WTVT.

Manatee County: Manatee Elementary, a Title I school serving 586 students, many of whom are economically disadvantage is experimenting with a new partnership that brings learning and other educational opportunities home and beyond. The program, designed by The Children’s Home Society of Florida and the University of Central Florida partners five organizations with the school to provide on-campus services. The goal is to help students, and their families, overcome disadvantages. Bradenton Herald. Manatee County’s Chalkboard Champion says teaching is her dream job. She plans to spend her $500 prize on supplies for her classroom. WWSB.

Palm Beach: A local school board member wants to build affordable housing on district owned property to provide living space for teachers and employees. WPTV. Former student and AP chemistry teacher “returns home” after being sworn in as a new member of the Palm Beach County School Board. WPEC.

Pinellas: The Pinellas County School Board may decide to shorten spring break by a day to make up for lost learning time due to Hurricane Ian. Hillsborough and Pasco counties have already determined make up days. Tampa Bay Times. Students at Leila G. Davis Elementary school in Clearwater, Fla. collected donations for survivors of Hurricane Ian. WTSP.

Santa Rosa: Santa Rosa County School Board will vote to relieve overcrowded schools by rezoning neighborhoods. Pensacola News Journal.

St. Johns: Teachers in St. John’s County shot down a $1,200 pay raise but will meet again on Dec. 8 for the next bargaining session. Florida Times-Union.

National: Panelists discuss the future of education for Black students during a webinar sponsored by the Center on Reinventing Public Education. Panelists argue that this future will most likely include alternatives outside the traditional education framework. reimaginED. The North Carolina State Board of Education wants to create a pilot that would boost teacher pay while tying teacher license renewals to annual evaluations based on student performance. Currently only 43 teachers statewide, less than one percent, fall under the “Needs Improvement” category in teacher evaluations. A performance-based evaluation might see about seven percent of teachers fall into that category. WRAL. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights announced an agreement with Fairfax County Public Schools over the district’s violation of federal rights for students with special needs during the pandemic. Politico. Maryland’s new blueprint seeks to reimagine K-12 education by adding free preschool, boosting teacher salaries, increasing funds for lower-income areas and focusing on college and career from K-10th grade while leaving 11th and 12th grade for students to focus on apprenticeships or advanced coursework. The blueprint will cost upwards of $3.8 billion annually and critics worry there is too little accountability regarding how students are making progress. The 74.

Opinions: “Suspending disbelief is almost certainly better than succumbing to the soft bigotry of low expectations. Simply put, we want educators to look at the kids in front of them and belief that they can know and do more tomorrow than they did yesterday, and that it will matter for their future for years to come,” argues Michael Petrilli. Education Next. Taliah Wilder, a fourth-grade student at Palm Terrace Elementary School says she likes the Food Brings Hope’s Change the Code Program and loves her teacher, Ms. Martinez. Food Brings Hope is a community organization working to eradicate the causes of generational poverty. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

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BY reimaginED staff