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Florida education news: Charter schools, school safety, homework notes and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Former Pasco County Corrections Officer Wendy Miller, 57 runs towards gunfire with instructor Chris Squitieri during active shooter drills taught by Pasco County Sheriff's Office at Charles S. Rushe Middle School in Land O' Lakes. Lawmakers continue to seek ways to make schools safer. LUIS SANTANA | Times
Published May 30

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Two Pasco County charter schools seek changes to their contracts, as part of initiatives to see them grow. • A new Hillsborough County charter high school focusing on projects and mentorships nears completion, Patch reports. • A Palm Beach County charter school chain relies more heavily than most on uncertified, lower paid substitutes to teach its classes, the Palm Beach Post reports.

LOOKING BACK: Hernando County schools saw leadership shifts, increased security, added career-technical options and more during an event-packed year that has now rolled to a close.

LEADERSHIP: Pasco County’s Zephyrhills High School gets a new principal — its second in a row from Fivay High.

SECURITY: Two Florida lawmakers with distinctly different political views find common ground on school safety issues while visiting Israel, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

HOMEWORK MESSAGE: A Bay County teacher finds trouble after writing “WTF?” on a student’s homework assignment, WJHG reports.

SOFTWARE PROJECT: A troubled Manatee County school district software installation initiative makes some positive progress, the Bradenton Herald reports.

SPECIAL VISITOR: An 8-foot alligator wanders across a Manatee County elementary school playground as students arrive for classes, the Bradenton Herald reports.

LAST-MINUTE TRANSFERS: The Indian River County school district’s new interim superintendent wants to take a closer look at four final personnel moves the former superintendent made just before his departure, TC Palm reports. One of the proposed changes has drawn strong criticism in the community.

NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL: A high performing Marion County elementary magnet school will offer more seats to students who live nearby, the Ocala Star-Banner reports. Children in the largely African-American community have been forced to go elsewhere because of a desegregation order.

ETHICS: A former Lee County School Board member files an ethics complaint against a current member, alleging misuse of confidential employee records, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

ANTI-SEMITISM: Gov. Ron DeSantis signs into law a measure requiring schools to treat anti-semitism the same as they treat racism, Florida Politics reports.

SUSPENDED SUPERINTENDENT: Suspended Okaloosa County superintendent Mary Beth Jackson stands up for her leadership during a two day hearing to review Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order to remove her, the News Service of Florida reports. The sitting interim superintendent also testifies, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT: An administrative assistant to the Sarasota County school district’s chief operating officer says she received threatening text messages from her boss after filing a complaint against him, the Herald-Tribune reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Chanell Newell, a reading teacher at Woodson K-8 School, is a finalist for Hillsborough Teacher of the Year. HCPS  |  HCPS
    The winners will be announced on Jan. 23.
  2. A school bus travels the early morning streets of Pasco County on the way to the first day of classes in 2017.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  3. Transgender student Drew Adams speaks with reporters outside of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Adam's fight over school restrooms came before a federal appeals court Thursday, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling. Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High in Ponte Vedra, Fla., won a lower court ruling last year ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys' restroom. The district has since appealed. RON HARRIS  |  AP
    The closely watched case of Drew Adams, once a high school student in Florida, is heard by a three-judge panel in Atlanta.
  4. Representatives from the United School Employees of Pasco, on the left, present their latest pay request to the district's bargaining team during talks on Oct. 24, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Teachers have yet to reach a deal on their contract.
  5. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. It has met just once more since then. The Florida Channel
    Lawmakers have yet to set an aggressive agenda beyond talk of teacher pay as the 2020 legislative session nears.
  6. FILE - In a Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 file photo, transgender teen Drew Adams, left, leaves the U. S. Courthouse with his mother Erica Adams Kasper after the first day of his trial about bathroom rights at Nease High School, in Jacksonville, Fla. The transgender student's fight over school bathrooms comes before a federal appeals court Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling. Drew Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, won a lower court ruling in 2018 ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys' restroom. (Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union via AP, File) WILL DICKEY  |  AP
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. A bird's-eye view of USF St. Petersburg, which this week announced a new member of the Campus Board. She is Melissa Seixas, a Duke Energy executive who earned her master's degree at USF.
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  8. An LGBTQ Pride march participant walks under a large rainbow flag in New York earlier this year. School Board policy regarding LGBTQ students has been a frequent topic of discussion in recent months in Pasco County. CRAIG RUTTLE  |  AP
    The discourse is more civil and respectful, two weeks after a session that many deemed hate-filled and vile.
  9. The Florida Legislature so far has has left Gov. Ron DeSantis to set most education policy priorities for 2020.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. "Miss Virginia," a film about school choice, will be screened at the Tampa Theatre on Dec. 10.
    “Miss Virginia” will be playing at the Tampa Theater on Tuesday.
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