HOLIDAY HELP FROM SCHOOL: Safety Harbor Elementary distributes clothes, food and gifts to needy students and their families. The number of families seeking assistance grows in Pasco schools, too, but as in Pinellas, the spirit of giving remains. [Times photo, Douglas R. Clifford]
CELL TOWER IDEA UPSETS: Neighbors to Coleman Middle in South Tampa are petitioning against placing a cell tower on the campus. District officials have looked to the idea as a way to raise needed revenue.
HCC SOUTH CAMPUS BOOMS: Hillsborough Community College's newest campus sees enrollment well beyond its expectations.
USF-ST. PETE LEADER RESIGNS: Regional chancellor Karen White leaves the satellite campus to take a job as an adviser to president Judy Genshaft.
CAN SANSOM STILL DO IT? Northwest Florida State College is seeking $13.2-million from the state. Its chief supporter in Tallahassee, Speaker Ray Sansom, is embroiled in controversy over his relationship with the school. Many wonder whether he'll end up being a hindrance, both to the college and the House.
TOP OF THE CLASS: Longleaf Elementary lessons in bloom; Program gives young Hernando County authors a voice; T-shirt contest uncovers talent of young designers (Hernando County); Breakfast and a book at Deltona Elementary; Lithia school's class emphasizes importance of community service (Randall Middle) [Times photo, Michele Miller]
NO WAY AROUND IT: Florida lawmakers say they can't avoid cutting public education as they pore over the budget details, the Herald-Tribune reports. But as we at the Gradebook have noted often, they're looking at ways to loosen spending restrictions and unfunded mandates. "We have to look at giving them (districts) more flexibility," Senate education chair Nancy Detert told the H-T. In this climate, Miami-Dade board members lobbied lawmakers to protect education funding, the Miami Herald reports. Meanwhile, Orange leaders begin examining what they might cut, and find it can't be only fluff, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
KEEP IT EDUCATIONAL: As schools enter the holiday season, Broward teachers are reminded to teach, not preach, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
FOCUSING ON BLACK MALES: With just 38 percent of black males graduating high school on time, Duval seeks new approaches to educating them, the Florida Times-Union reports.
ON THE CUTTING EDGE: The Oasis charter high school in Lee seeks to connect the academic, vocational and entrepreneurial in its curriculum, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.
THERE'S A REAL CHEF IN THE CAFETERIA: St. Lucie schools find many professional chefs who want to work in their food services department rather than stick with restaurants, the Stuart News reports.
NOT ACCESSIBLE: Walton schools discover more than 100 spots that don't meet ADA guidelines, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.