1. Gradebook

Florida education news: Graduation requirements, mental health, reading lessons and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Students at Tampa Bay Technical High School work toward industry certification in the school's auto body shop. [Times | 2017]
Published Jun. 14

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS: The Pasco County school district backs away from a proposal to require every high school student complete at least one college-credit bearing course or industry certification before graduation. Superintendent Kurt Browning says he still has the idea as a longer-term goal. • Florida State University becomes the largest university in the nation to require students to have a hands-on learning experience outside of the classroom, Florida State University News reports.

MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS: Bay County school district leaders worry that children stressed by Hurricane Michael and its aftermath face continued mental health problems that demand attention in a community with fewer services than before.

SUMMER DRILLS: More details emerge about the death of Hillsborough County teen Hezekiah B. Walters, who collapsed during football conditioning drills at Middleton High School. Other school districts take a look at their athletic safety protocols as a result of the incident.

SCHOOL LEADERSHIP: The Pasco County school district names three new principals, including its first black male principal in nearly 50 years.

A ‘DIFFERENT DIRECTION’: St. Petersburg College’s Institute for Strategic Policy Decisions lets go its longtime leader amid unannounced plans to refocus the center’s efforts.

LIFE LESSONS: Hernando High School FFA students credit the agriculture-based club with helping them find direction for their futures.

HELPING HAND: A Hebrew charter school in Broward County offers to accept students from a similar school in North Carolina that faced financial troubles, Jewish News Syndicate reports.

TEACHER PAY: About 50 Brevard County students are expected to march for increased teacher salaries, Florida Today reports.

TAXES: Duval County leaders continue to posture ahead of a vote on when the school district may hold a sales tax referendum, Florida Politics reports. The situation is a bit different in Duval than other counties, where placing a school district question before voters is more straightforward, because Duval has a county charter that grants local government more discretion in creating the ballot. • A 7-year-old speaker at a public hearing on the tax issue made a big impression on the debate, the Florida Times-Union reports.

LEARNING TO READ: Franklin County charter school third graders outperform their district school peers on state exams, leading district officials to seek ways to better help the students, the Apalachicola Times reports. Absenteeism appears to be a factor, officials say.

GOPHER TORTOISES: Marion Technical College’s plan to expand its commercial driver’s license program practice space is stalled by the appearance of protected gopher tortoises, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

LOGO CHALLENGE: The University of Texas tells Hillsborough County’s Lennard High School to change its Longhorn logo, saying it’s too close to the university’s trademarked look, WFLA reports.

CLOSER LOOK: The embattled Mason Classical Academy charter school in Collier County calls for its own separate investigation into mismanagement allegations against it, the Naples Daily News reports.

MISUSED FUNDS: A new report indicates the University of Central Florida misspent about $100 million since 2010, although some former officials are refusing to cooperate with the investigation, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

BAD ACTS: A Charlotte County school resource officer resigns amid allegations he showed up drunk to an event with students, the Charlotte Sun reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. First page of school data report Times staff
    Find your school in these reports.
  2. Colleen Beaudoin is selected Pasco County School Board chairwoman for 2020, and Allen Altman is named vice chairman. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Altman chosen as vice chairman.
  3. Melissa Snively and Steve Cona III are the new chair and vice chair of the Hillsborough County School Board. MARLENE   |  Times staff
    Steve Cona III is vice chair.
  4. Hillsborough County School Board member Karen Perez MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff
    School board member Karen Perez sees student stress in her social work practice.
  5. Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at pre-legislative news conference on Tuesday Oct. 29, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    He’s got a new voucher proposal, as well.
  6. Pasco school bus drivers are among those school-related employees who would get a 3.25 percent raise under a tentative contract agreement for 2019-20.
    District, union attention now turns to teacher contracts.
  7. Teacher Kate Newell watches seventh graders Aaron Roxberry and Jacob Iovino practice the slope-intercept formula in one of her weekly visits to their Bayonet Point Middle algebra class, which Newell usually teaches remotely. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  8. eSchool teacher Kate Newell holds a discussion-based assessment with eighth-grader Ariana Toro during a recent visit to Bayonet Point Middle School. Newell leads the math course remotely most days, but comes to campus at least once weekly to give her students some extra attention. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Principals increasingly turn to virtual instruction to fill their vacancies.
  9. Victoria Arriaga, left, does a letter-matching activity during Priscilla Perez's pre-kindergarten class at West Tampa Elementary School in 2018.  [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    Reading proficiency, however, continues to be a challenge.
  10. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing $1 billion in increased teacher pay as part of a $91.4 billion state budget he put forward on Monday. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The Florida governor also wants to hire hundreds of new corrections officers and spend $1.4 billion on hurricane recovery.