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Florida education news: Graduation requirements, textbooks, school grades and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Honors students at Middleton High view their diplomas after commencement at the Florida State Fairgrounds in 2017. Some Florida lawmakers are proposing bills that would broaden the ways students could graduate and still meet state standards. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
Honors students at Middleton High view their diplomas after commencement at the Florida State Fairgrounds in 2017. Some Florida lawmakers are proposing bills that would broaden the ways students could graduate and still meet state standards. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
Published Jan. 28, 2019

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS: Florida lawmakers again are talking about creating some added pathways to a high school diploma. Before making any decisions, they might want to talk to high school students, who have some strong views about where to begin.

AFTER SCHOOL: Pasco County middle school students find benefits in the school district’s new after-school Beyond the Bell program.

TEXTBOOKS: Some Florida school districts find the state’s five-year textbook adoption cycle too slow to keep up with changing materials, and seek alternatives wherever possible, Florida Politics reports.

SCHOOL DISTRICT GRADES: Florida’s A-rated school districts have some common traits, including lower than average student absenteeism and Title I participation, the St. Augustine Record reports.

CAREER TRAINING: An Okaloosa County high school launches an EMT certification program, a first in Florida that other districts seek to emulate, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • Sixteen Lake County middle school students explore the district’s construction career academy, the Daily Commercial reports.

SCHOOL CHOICE: Participation shrinks in St. Johns County’s open enrollment program, the St. Augustine Record reports.

BOOK MACHINE: A Lake County elementary school installs a vending machine filled with donated books that students can earn by making good choices, the Daily Commercial reports.

AFTER MICHAEL: Shrinking enrollment in Bay County schools will cost the district millions in general revenue, the Panama City News Herald reports.

NEW SCHOOLS: Polk County school district officials review plans for a new high school, the Ledger reports.

OLD SCHOOLS: Duval County school district leaders plan public meetings to discuss how to approach maintenance and renovation needs in their aging schools, the Florida Times-Union reports.

VAPING: Brevard County schools see rising student use of vaping, Florida Today reports.

START TIMES: Seminole County’s superintendent seeks a way to let high school classes start later without causing transportation troubles, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

HEALTH CARE: The Sarasota County school district plans to add more nurses to care for students, the Herald-Tribune reports.

RESCHEDULED: Broward County superintendent Robert Runcie reschedules meetings with Parkland parents after having canceled them amid concerns that protests might erupt, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

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  1. First Lady Casey DeSantis talks with students during the Hope for Healing a mental and substance abuse initiative held Roland Park K-8 School in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said state officials worked closely with DeSantis to craft the new rule. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
  2. In this Feb. 14, 2018, photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland after a shooter opened fire on the campus.
  3. Pinellas County School Board member Carol Cook, left, celebrates her reelection to her fifth term in 2016. If ultimately approved, a term limits proposal would force Florida's school board members out after two consecutive terms.
  4. State Rep. Anthony Sabatini fields questions on the House floor on Feb. 19, 2020, about his proposal to ask voters to limit school board member terms.
  5. Chicken and vegetable dumplings with soy sauce were offered to students to test during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste-testing, Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at Pinellas Technical College. Twenty-eight new food items were tested and rated.  Some will be added to next year's school menus.
  6. Patrick Suiters, 10, left, and Gabriel Stanford, 9, both fourth-graders at San Jose Elementary School in Dunedin, fill out a survey after tasting falafel tots and nuggets during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste test at Pinellas Technical College. About 120 students tasted and rated 28 new food items that could be added to school breakfast and lunch menus next year.
  7. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
  8. The Pinellas County school system is offering driver education camps to hundreds of students like this one over the summer. The program will be held over two sessions at nine high school campuses across the county.
  9. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis (center) and School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) sign Davis' contract with the Hillsborough County School District after it was unanimously approved by the school board on February 18, 2020.
  10. Incoming Hillsborough School Superintendent Addison Davis (center), School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) and the other board members pose as Davis signs his contract with the district on Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved the contract beforehand.
  11. Jarvis Delon West was arrested on child neglect charges after he didn't report an employee at AMI Kids who slammed a boy to the ground, according to police.
  12. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)
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