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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

School districts prepare to answer parent requests for acceleration



During its winter session, the Florida Legislature adopted legislation that gives parents more access to academically challenging course work for their children attending public schools, even if their kids aren't formally labeled as "gifted." Now it's up to parents to ask for the services, although they probably will need to have a little patience.

Districts received state guidance on how to implement the new law only this week, and officials are working on the details. They're aware, though, as indicated by Pasco County's inclusion of the basics in its newly adopted Pupil Progression Plan.

Bill sponsor Rep. John Legg, R-New Port Richey, said his goal was to ensure that parents of high-achieving children get the same kind of attention for their children's academics that parents of low-achieving students receive.

"If a child is excelling, why are we handcuffing them?" Legg said.

HB 7059 provides that schools must offer as options whole-grade and midyear promotion; subject-matter acceleration; virtual instruction in higher grade-level subjects; and the Credit Acceleration Program. Principals can choose several methods to accomplish this goal including ability grouping.

If parents make such requests, they must agree to performance, attendance, behavior and other criteria set in conjunction with their child and the principal, to make sure they are willing to do what it takes to work toward the more rigorous standards. If the principal recommends a student for the acceleration options, such a contract would not be required.

Learn more about the ACCEL bill here. What are your schools doing to implement the new law?

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 11:19am]


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