1. Gradebook

Florida education news: Innovation planning, teacher morale, student successes and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Kindergarten teacher Amanda Iler incorporates Common Core standards into her lessons as Florida works to require the model in 2013. State leaders are now discussing overhauling the standards. [Douglas R. Clifford | Times]
Published May 22

INNOVATION: Florida’s chancellor for innovation, a newly created position, gets a large portfolio for his job assignment. The work includes executing the governor’s orders and priorities, which encompasses major initiatives such as revising state standards.

DISSATISFACTION: A Hillsborough County school district survey of teachers shows many educators at Jennings Middle share the deep concerns that prompted one of their colleagues to make a very public exit from the profession.

STUDENT SUCCESSES: A Hillsborough County middle school student shares her story in an essay contest and wins a college scholarship. • A teen from Haiti who landed in Orlando speaking almost no English three years ago presses ahead to earn her high school graduation, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

TEACHER PAY: Boosting teacher salaries will be a top budget priority for Pasco County schools, the superintendent tells the School Board.

THAT TEACHER WITH A GUN: A Pinellas County teacher who brought a loaded gun and knives to school hints she did so as a political statement after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law changes to the state’s guardian program.

SECURITY: The Broward County school district makes it easier to become a school guard, and moves to pay more for the position, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • The Osceola County School Board votes unanimously not to allow classroom teachers to carry guns in school in the guardian program, Spectrum 13 reports.

CODE RED: Police swarm a Broward County high school after a fight breaks out and someone reports one of the students has a gun, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

10 DAYS: The Lee County school district has 10 days to fix findings that it misused $3.9 million in taxpayer money, or face a loss of state funding, WINK reports.

GRADUATION RATES: The Charlotte County school district announces its graduation rate increased by 6 percentage points, surpassing the state average, the Charlotte Sun reports.

YOUR DIPLOMA’S IN THE MAIL: A Palm Beach County teen who brought a pellet gun to school is barred from his commencement ceremony, the Palm Beach Post reports.

GETTING THERE: Sarasota County will examine how to improve safety for students traveling to Brentwood Elementary after a 9-year-old is killed in traffic on his way to school, the Herald-Tribune reports.

SAVING LIVES: Some Sarasota County middle school students learn to use trauma kits to stop potentially fatal bleeding, the Herald-Tribune reports.

BUS CRASH: Four Brevard County students are taken to the hospital after their school bus crashes with a car, Florida Today reports.

SCHOOL THREATS: An Orange County middle school will have heightened security after a faculty member receives a threat of violence, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

TODAY: Florida Board of Education, 9 a.m., Tampa

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Sandra Gero, a regional search associate at Ray and Associates, hosts a meeting at the Middleton High School auditorium and gathers public comments on what people are looking for for the next Hillsborough County School Superintendent on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    Using public meetings and a survey, they’re painting a picture of the ideal school leader.
  2. Jeff Eakins and MaryEllen Elia, Hillsborough's last two superintendents, were hired from inside the school system. So have all others since 1967. Times staff
    Go to the school district website before 8 a.m. Monday to state your case.
  3. Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, urges the Florida Board of Education to hold schools accountable for teaching the Holocaust and African-American history, as required by lawmakers in 1994. The board was considering a rule on the matter at its Sept. 20, 2019, meeting in Jacksonville. The Florida Channel
    School districts will have to report how they are providing the instruction required in Florida law.
  4. The Pasco County school district would rezone the Seven Oaks subdivision from the Wiregrass Ranch High feeder pattern to the Cypress Creek High feeder pattern, beginning in the 2020-21 school year. Pasco County school district
    The Seven Oaks subdivision is the primary target for rezoning.
  5. Fortify Florida is a new app that allows for anonymous reporting of suspected school threats. Florida Department of Education
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. Pasco County school superintendent Kurt Browning says Fortify Florida, the new state-sponsored app that allows students to report potential threats, is "disrupting the education day" because the callers are anonymous, many of the tips are vague and there's no opportunity to get more information from tipsters. "I have an obligation to provide kids with a great education," Browning said. "I cannot do it with this tool, because kids are hiding behind Fortify Florida." JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |
    Vague and anonymous tips often waste law enforcement’s time and disrupt the school day, says Kurt Browning, president of Florida’s superintendents association.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.