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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]
Published Jan. 28

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.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, during a Feb. 7, 2019, meeting of the House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    ‘One test should not determine the rest of your life,’ Rep. Susan Valdes says.
  2. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. The Florida Channel
    School security and early learning get top billing in the first committee meetings of the looming 2020 session.
  3. This image from a Pinellas County Schools video shows an armed police officer running to respond to a fictional active shooter.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  4. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    The proposal is short on details, with officials saying they want to work through specifics during negotiations.
  5. Hillsborough schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia holds a back-to-school press conference at Rampello K-8 School, [TIMES files]
    MaryEllen Elia, who led the Hillsborough district from 2005 to 2015, has been an educator since 1970.
  6. Jeff Eakins and MaryEllen Elia, Hillsborough's last two superintendents, were hired from inside the school system. So have all others since 1967. [TIMES FILES] Times staff
    Two more public meetings are planned, and the online survey is up until Saturday.
  7. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
    The board’s 2019-20 budget totals $1.39 billion.
  8. The DeLucio family of Trinity toured the Mitchell High School campus and showed the visit on their YouTube channel, which has more than 1 million subscribers. Many parents, students and school officials were not amused. YouTube
    The proposed policy comes up for a vote on Oct. 1.
  9. United School Employees of Pasco president Don Peace denounces the school district's pay raise proposal in a YouTube video sent to all district employees Sept. 9, 2019. United School Employees of Pasco
    The local teachers union already has denounced the idea.
  10. Goodwill's BookWorks preschool literacy program strives to instill a love of reading and helps provide children books.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
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