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Some Hernando students begin new school year minus textbooks

BROOKSVILLE — Some Hernando County middle and high school students started the new year Monday without textbooks in certain subject areas.

District officials say the delay occurred, in large part, after the publisher, Pearson Education, was forced to rework texts to reflect Florida's change from Common Core standards to the Florida Standards.

In a memo sent to School Board members Sunday, the district reported that many math and language arts textbooks were missing; information regarding the exact number and a date for when they might arrive was not available.

Principals told district officials that starting the year with no textbooks would not have an impact on student education and that teachers were making alternative plans.

Here's a breakdown of the missing textbooks:

West Hernando and Powell middle schools have not received any language arts or math textbooks. Parrott Middle has not received any math or language arts books and is also missing five books in its high school literature class and 20 boxes of a supplemental science workbook. Fox Chapel Middle has no math textbooks, according to the district.

At the high school level, Weeki Wachee is missing textbooks in liberal arts math, intermediate algebra, English and master reader and writer courses.

"(The) principal stated that there is still time for books to arrive before there would be any impact on students; all missing textbooks are those that had to be republished by Pearson," according to the district memo.

Central High was missing some language arts textbooks while Hernando High was missing math and intensive reading books.

No information on Springstead High or Nature Coast Technical High was available.

All of the district's elementary school students had received their books. The middle school grades of the district's four K-8 schools have received boxes of textbooks and are in the process of unpacking them, according to the memo.

The textbook issue came to light at last Tuesday's School Board meeting when board member Cynthia Moore asked why some books were missing.

"I understand the textbooks were not ordered in time for the start of school and also they did not order enough textbooks for students," Moore said. "This bothers me. Teachers evaluations are based on the students."

Marcia Austin, the district's supervisor of secondary programs, said the district actually placed the orders on time. The issue was with the publisher, she said.

"On June 26, (the Florida Department of Education) made the decision to all publishers that every textbook — online or in print — (would need to) remove everything that stated Common Core (standards)," Austin told the board. "Therefore, that delayed publishers … they had to go back and redo the textbooks, clean up the Common Core language out of them."

Pinellas and Hillsborough counties did not report having any issues with missing textbooks.

Hillsborough school officials said their books from Pearson were not affected by the switch to the Florida Standards and were not being revised. A Pinellas spokeswoman said the district's new materials were from other publishers and that there had not been any delays.

Contact Danny Valentine at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. Follow @HernandoTimes.

Some Hernando students begin new school year minus textbooks 08/18/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 18, 2014 7:54pm]
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