1. Gradebook

Florida education news; Teacher bonuses, school mascots, emergency responses and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Kaneshia Williams teaches reading at Sheehy Elementary School, one of 50 Achievement Schools in Hillsborough County. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times]
Published May 14

BONUS SETTLEMENT: Thousands of Florida’s black and Hispanic public school teachers stand to benefit as the state works to complete a $15.5 million settlement of a discrimination lawsuit challenging the Best and Brightest teacher bonus.

SCHOOL MASCOTS: Six Hillsborough County schools will change their mascots, and two others will revamp traditions, in an effort to show respect to Native Americans.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE: The Pasco County school district begins implementing a new computerized system to help employees respond more quickly and efficiently to crises.

OUTSOURCING: A study into whether to privatize custodial services in Hillsborough County schools could take months.

OFF THE AIR: Hillsborough County schools superintendent Jeff Eakins defends a decision not to televise or live stream School Board workshops.

#MSDSTRONG: Florida’s 2019 principal of the year will become the new principal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

GRADUATION DAY: Parents and guests attending Palm Beach County high school graduation ceremonies will have to pass through metal detectors to get inside, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Demand for charter schools increases as Florida’s population grows, the Floridian reports.

PRINCIPAL PROTEST: Parents and teachers at Brevard County’s Titusville High call for removal of their administrators, claiming the school has a negative and hostile environment, Florida Today reports.

TEACHER PAY: New studies indicate Florida teachers are among the worst paid nationally, driving a shortage of qualified applicants for positions, Florida Daily reports.

SUPERINTENDENTS: Former Lake County superintendent Susan Moxley is picked to lead Indian River County schools until the district finds a permanent chief executive, TC Palm reports. ​​​​​​​

TARGETED: Democratic groups take aim at Republican lawmakers Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. and House Speaker Jose Oliva over their stances on key education issues including vouchers and arming teachers, Florida Politics reports.

FIRED: The Marion County School Board narrowly upholds a decision to dismiss a teacher accused of making sexually suggestive comments to a student, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Pasco County schools assistant superintendent for operations Betsy Kuhn oversees the district's campus security initiatives. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Schools identified these needs after a thorough review of their campuses.
  2. Hernando County School District
    The Hernando County School District’s overall premiums will go up about 10 percent. Unless it’s renegotiated later, the entire increase falls to employees.
  3. A Florida black bear (not this one) was found at a Marion County school and removed. CARLTON WARD JR  |  Carlton Ward Jr
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  4. Adjunct faculty at St. Petersburg College voted to unionize Tuesday, joining thousands of other adjuncts across Florida who are fighting for better working conditions and pay. [Times]
    The employees are the seventh group in Florida to join Service Employees International Union in recent yeas as it pushes for investment in the state’s higher education institutions.
  5. The University of South Florida ranked ahead of UCF, FIU and FAU in the U.S. News & World Report's Global University Rankings. [USF handout]
    The University of Florida finished 105th, while USF came in at 310. Harvard led the world.
  6. Workers begin construction in 2010 on what would become Winding Waters K-8. That was the last new public school built in Hernando County, which faces capacity strains as officials ask for impact fee increases to keep up with growth. HERNANDO TODAY PHOTO BY HAYLEY M  |  Hernando Today
    The district first would add classrooms at three existing schools, but could need four new schools by 2039.
  7. Rep. Bruce Antone, D-Orlando, says the Legislative Black Caucus will prioritize both public education and school choice during the 2020 Florida session. The caucus held a news conference on Oct. 22, 2019. The Florida Channel
    The caucus announced its 2020 goals for justice, housing and other key issues, as well, with members saying they will stick together to pursue them.
  8. Pre-season baseball practice at Wesley Chapel High School. Lawmakers want to ensure student-athletes remain safe in the Florida heat as they participate in high school sports. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    PreK-12 Innovation chairman Rep. Ralph Massullo expects legislation requiring some ‘simple things.’
  9. First-year Cox Elementary School teacher Kevin Knibbs, 33, of Dade City, answers questions about the components of time: hours, minutes, seconds, to his third-grade class on Monday, September 30, 2019, at the school in Date City. From left are students Angel Young, 8, Arlene Luna, 8, and Jahkia Gray, 8. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. First-year Cox Elementary School teacher Kevin Knibbs, 33, of Dade City, walks with students Angel Young, 8, left, and Kaivion Williams, 9, right, while en route to his third-grade class on Sept. 30 at the school in Date City. Knibbs decided to become an educator after working as a school custodian. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Kevin Knibbs never thought about working with students — until he started interacting with them.