MAKING IT INTERESTING: Tracey Keim, a St. Pete High English teacher, challenges her students to reach beyond their assigned academic levels, using materials that actually matter to them. And boy, do the teens respond. (Times photo, James Borchuck)
TELL THEM THEY MATTER: The administration at Sand Pine Elementary treats the staff to lunch, happy hour and a personalized "thank you" (with chocolate) to acknowledge everyone's hard work during tough times.
TEACHER BY DAY... Drug dealer by night. That was the dual lifestyle of Valerie A. Sabarese, who's now been arrested and won't be in her Summerfield Crossings Elementary classroom come Monday.
TIME FOR TENURE OVER? Keep an eye on what's happening in D.C. schools, where chancellor Michelle Rhee has put forth a real challenge to lifetime jobs for teachers, columnist Bill Maxwell writes.
WHY ECKERD MATTERS: Eckerd College, now in its 50th year, offers Floridians a view of what a small liberal arts college can do, president Donald Eastman writes.
PRESIDENTIAL NEWS: No, not Obama. FIU president Mitch Maidique announces his retirement, and outgoing university system chancellor Mark Rosenberg quickly emerges as a contender for the job, the Miami Herald reports. Up at FSU, trustees renewed president T.K. Wetherell's contract with stellar evaluation, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
WHERE HAS ALL THE MONEY GONE? Florida's school districts are eating up their reserve funds as they cope with shrinking revenue and budget shortfalls, the AP reports (via Forbes). Times are tough for Florida's colleges and universities too, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
INCENTIVE PLAN NEEDS CHANGING: The idea of giving recognition money to schools that perform well on the FCAT has got to go, the South Marion Citizen editorializes.
STAYING OPEN: Miami-Dade approves a plan that will keep its four most chronically failing schools in business next year, even if their performance doesn't improve, the Miami Herald reports.
BALANCING ACT: FSU pre-med student and strong safety Myron Rolle shows the true meaning of student-athlete as he competes for a national title and a Rhodes Scholarship, NPR reports.
Visit the Gradebook at noon for an interview with newly reelected Pinellas School Board member Janet Clark.