BECOMING CULTURALLY COMPETENT: The majority of Pinellas teachers are white and middle class. In many schools, the majority of students are not. So the district is working to help the teachers better understand the cultures of the children they work with. (Times photo, Willie J. Allen Jr.)
GIVE THEM A CHANCE: The Times recommends support of Amendment 8, which would allow community colleges to seek local voters' approval for an added local tax.
GUIDED BY GRAFFITI: Palm Beach checks for gang markings when drawing school boundaries to make sure they don't end up with feuding groups under the same roof, the Palm Beach Post reports.
LOANS ON HOLD: Some FAMU students have trouble paying their tuition bills as the financial crisis delays their loans, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
MUSICAL CHAIRS: Many Lee educators find themselves in new jobs as the district sheds positions while trying to keep people employed, the Cape Coral Daily Breeze reports.
OPTIMISTIC: St. Johns superintendent Joe Joyner remains upbeat about the district (notably without mentioning finances), the Ponte Vedra Recorder reports.
NEW INVESTMENT PLAN: Manatee officials ask the School Board for permission to open a money market account to diversify the district's investment strategy, the Bradenton Herald reports.
AROUND THE NATION: An Oregon high school social studies teacher uses the current economic crisis as a lesson for his students, NPR reports. A New York teachers union sues after their district begins enforcing a ban on wearing political buttons during the school day, the NY Times reports. A Denver principal bans classroom pets, saying they're a distraction, the Rocky Mountain News reports.
Visit the Gradebook at noon for an interview with Melanie Massey-Foltz, Florida's 2008 school social worker of the year.