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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. A Hernando County Sheriff's deputy talks to students in the cafeteria of Brooksville Elementary School in 2018. Earlier this month, the school district put forward a proposal to move away from a contract with the Sheriff and establish its own police force. On Tuesday, it announced it would drop that idea.
    Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis spoke out this week against the proposal.
  2. 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 sides have not set a time to resume discussions on teacher pay.
  3. Census forms have to be printed soon. [AP photo by Michelle R. Smith]
    Citizenship controversy could be a psychological barrier.
  4. Randy Koenigsfeld, right, has retired as Schwettman Education Center principal after a decade in the job. Guidance counselor Mary Jones is with him in this photo from a recent open house. Pasco County school district
    Several staff members have already made a pitch for their assistant principal to take over the alternative school.
  5. Vials of medical marijuana oil. [Monica Herndon | Tampa Bay Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. The Pasco County school district is considering adopting a policy for student medical marijuana use on district property. [Getty Images]
    The rule will not change the district’s current approach to the touchy topic.
  7. Shown in 2002, Carolyn Hill, then the principal of Kenly Elementary School in east Tampa, celebrated after 78 of her students improved their state scores and were treated to lunch at The Colonnade Restaurant. Hill, now deceased, might be honored Tuesday as the Hillsborough County School Board considers naming a school for her in the SouthShore area. STAFF  |  Tampa Bay Times
    School Board members will select a name on Tuesday
  8. Alachua County school superintendent Karen Clarke welcomes the crowd at a "listening session" Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 to discuss changes in the Florida's education standards. A similar session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at Jefferson High, 4401 W Cypress St. in Tampa. The Florida Channel
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  9. The Pinellas School Board recognized James Krull as the district's bus Driver of the Year at its meeting Tuesday. From left are board members Bill Dudley, Eileen Long, Carol Cook, Rene Flowers, Krull, and board members Nicole Carr, Joanne Lentino and Lisa Cane. Pinellas County Schools
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
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