Florida education news: School counselors, testing, teacher appreciation and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis steps in when Hillsborough School Board Member Karen Perez questions his wife, Casey DeSantis, on funding for school counselors, May 16 at Roland Park K-8 School. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Gov. Ron DeSantis steps in when Hillsborough School Board Member Karen Perez questions his wife, Casey DeSantis, on funding for school counselors, May 16 at Roland Park K-8 School. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published May 17

COUNSELORS: Gov. Ron DeSantis came to a Hillsborough County school to support his wife’s youth mental health initiative. But things got testy when a School Board member challenged the governor over putting adequate resources into the schools rather than into agencies and programs.

TESTING: Two freshman Republican House members suggest Florida should consider reducing student testing. • The College Board announces changes to the way it calculates SAT scores, to take into account students’ environment, NPR reports.

TEACHER APPRECIATION GONE AWRY: Clark Elementary School in Hillsborough County held a catered lunch to celebrate its teachers. Dozens got ill, as one of the food preparers carried Norovirus.

TOP STUDENTS: Pinellas County private schools celebrate their valedictorians and salutatorians.

BIG GIFT: A Tampa Catholic alumnus gives his alma mater $7 million, reportedly the largest gift ever to a Florida Catholic elementary or high school.

SAVE OUR SCHOOLS: The Florida Education Association plans a weekend gathering in Orlando to try to unify opposition to what they see as the Legislature’s attack on public education, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The union released a report contending Florida’s new voucher program could cost school districts $1 billion in state funding over five years, Florida Politics reports.

TURNAROUNDS: About 30 Orange County high school seniors take advantage of their last chance school to make it through to graduation, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

TEACHER BONUSES: Leon County superintendent Rocky Hanna criticizes the state’s new criteria for the Best and Brightest teacher award, calling the new model a “train wreck,” WFSU reports.

MATH LESSONS: Florida lawmakers’ efforts to acknowledge students’ struggle with high school algebra might hurt teens’ effort to get into a university, Florida Phoenix reports.

LOOKING BACK: A group of Florida ‘influencers’ suggest the Legislature did not accomplish critical education legislation during session, the Miami Herald reports.

GRADUATION DAY: The costs of security for Palm Beach County high school graduation ceremonies has increased the price tag by $79,000, the Palm Beach Post reports. Some schools are selling VIP seats at the events to offset the expenses, the Post reports.

TAXES: Duval County School Board leaders struggle to find support at Jacksonville City Hall to place a school district tax referendum on a special election ballot, Florida Politics reports.

SCHOOL THREATS: A New York middle school relaxes as it discovers an online school threat was directed at a Polk County campus and not its own, the Daily Freeman reports.

STUDENT SAFETY: The Duval County school district extends its contract with a digital suicide prevention service, the Florida Times-Union reports.

NO FREE LUNCHES: A Sarasota County charter school receives parent complaints after it does not give hot lunches to students whose meal accounts had run out, the Charlotte Sun reports. They got cheese sandwiches instead.

NEW SCHOOLS: The Santa Rosa County school district prepares to break ground on its first new school project since 2007, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

SUPERINTENDENTS: Interim Indian River County superintendent Susan Moxley reaches a contract deal with the School Board to begin work Wednesday, TC Palm reports.

LAND FOR SALE: The Lake County school district will sell 30 acres of what used to be a high school agriculture farm, the Daily Commercial reports.

LABOR NEWS: Representatives for the Volusia County school district and teachers union fail to finalize contract terms and seek to return to the bargaining table, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

WHAT’S IN A NAME? The namesake of Palm Beach County’s noted School of the Arts offered $1 million to add “and Sciences” to the name. He has abandoned the proposal amid furious opposition, the Palm Beach Post reports.

SELF-EVALUATION: Lee County School Board members say they’re not doing such a good job, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

TOO HOT: Six Escambia County elementary school students are hospitalized after they pass out while wearing heavy costumes for a history presentation, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

BAD ACTS: An Orlando Science Charter School employee is arrested on accusations of soliciting nude photos from students, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

TODAY: Gov. Ron DeSantis visits Sarasota High School for a bill signing, 10:30 a.m.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

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