NOT QUITE NINTH: Pinellas launches grade 8.5 for kids who completed eighth grade last year but weren't academically ready to be freshmen. If they do well, the students will jump to tenth grade next year. The district is trying to keep the teens from dropping out. (Times photo, Cherie Diez)
REAL FIRST DAY: High Point Elementary in Clearwater debuts its brand new everything on the first day of classes.
A RAISE FOR MARYELLEN: Hillsborough's school chief gets mixed reviews, and a 7 percent raise, from her bosses. She also wins a one-year contract extension.
MORE THAN EXPECTED: Attendance on the first day of school traditionally is low in Florida. That's why Pasco school officials are concerned. Their numbers exceeded projections already.
LOSING FAITH: Students and professors had high hopes for the law school at Florida A&M University. But their enthusiasm has waned as the school has struggled.
OPEN UP: The Pinellas School Board should give more parents access to magnet and fundamental schools as it alters the district's assignment plan, the Times editorial board says.
RUN HARDER, KIDS: Gov. Crist calls for even more physical education requirements in schools, after hearing how some schools already are dodging his newly minted P.E. initiative, the AP reports.
SURE IT'S YOUR MISSION, BUT... The Broward School Board tells a Hebrew-language charter school to stop teaching Hebrew, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
PAROCHIAL PAIN: Private religious schools in Central Florida are losing students, pushing tuition upwards, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
GAMBLING FOR SCHOOLS: Gov. Crist also pitches allowing slot machines, and taxing them, on Seminole land as a way to raise more money for public education, the Palm Beach Post reports.
THEY WANT QUALITY: A team of California parents and advocates are suing the USDOE, saying it allows intern teachers who do not meet the "highly qualified" standards of No Child Left Behind to teach alone, the LA Times reports.