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Florida education news: Academic focus, teaching jobs, plans for growth and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times (From left) Caleb Asher, Mckenzie Semler, Jordan McClellan, Jaylen Wharton, and PJ Knight take notes in Jeannette Teeden's classroom at Durant High School in Plant City on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Published Jun. 17

PRIORITIES: The incoming president of Florida’s superintendents association wants the group to spend more time talking about improving student academic performance. “In the last two years, we have had very little conversation at our meetings about student achievement,” said Pasco County superintendent Kurt Browning. “We need to bring it back into balance.”

NOW HIRING: The Hillsborough County school district will hold its first job fair for all categories of employees, as it seeks hundreds of new hires.

GROWTH PLANS: The University of Florida seeks funding for $2.2 billion in campus construction projects, as it aims to become a top 5 national university, the Associated Press reports.

SPORTS SAFETY: High schools in and around Leon County redouble their efforts to keep student-athletes hydrated and healthy during summer workouts, after a Tampa student died during football drills, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

VOUCHERS: Lawyers for voucher opponents seek plaintiffs for an expected lawsuit to challenge Florida’s new ‘scholarship’ program, Florida Phoenix reports.

CAMPUS SECURITY: North Florida school districts look for ways to protect students and employees within their financial resources, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • A former physical education teacher quits teaching to become a school resource officer, now in Santa Rosa County, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

GETTING THERE: The Department of Transportation will add crosswalks with signals on busy International Speedway Boulevard to make it easier to get to Volusia County’s Mainland High School, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

NEW SCHOOLS: The Palm Beach County school district prepares a temporary school site in Boca Raton to house students as new permanent classrooms are built throughout the area, the Palm Beach Post reports. Hurdles to construction on one of the district’s chosen sites are now removed, the Post reports.

TAXES: Duval County school district officials say they want to get rid of portable classrooms, but need added sales tax revenue to make it happen, the Florida Times-Union reports. The district is battling with the county government over the possibility of a sales tax referendum.

BAD BLOOD: A former Manatee County top administrator uses her job interview in Montana to detail her concerns with her past employer, the Bradenton Herald reports.

HEARING HARASSMENT: A lawyer for a Sarasota County family accuses the school district of using ‘legal harassment’ to complicate a hearing over a child’s special education services, the Herald-Tribune reports.

FDOE BOUND: The principal of a Marion County elementary school that has received five consecutive D grades from the state is picked to work in the state education department’s office that helps struggling schools, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

MARCHING FOR TEACHERS: At least 100 Brevard County students rally in support of increased teacher pay, and say they will continue to pressure their School Board to create an acceptable plan, Florida Today reports.

OVERTURNED: Indian River County’s interim superintendent reverses a controversial administrative transfer imposed by the former district leader, TC Palm reports.

CIVICS LESSONS: A Lake County Republican group donates books about the Constitution and Declaration of Independence to seventh grade civics classes, the Daily Commercial reports.

THERAPY: Some Broward County students and educators learn to heal themselves when dealing with stress and trauma, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A denied Volusia County charter school applicant appeals the district’s decision to the state, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • The principal of an embattled Collier County charter school resigns, the Naples Daily News reports.

BAD ACTS: An Alachua County school bus driver is arrested on accusations of molesting a young student, the Associated Press reports. • A Miami-Dade County former assistant principal is arrested on allegations of killing a former co-worker at the school where they both worked, the Miami Herald reports. • A St. Johns County middle school is removed after an investigation showed he failed to take seriously parent complaints about a teacher’s inappropriate behavior, the St. Augustine Record reports.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
    Steve Hegarty spent 10 years as Hillsborough schools public information officer before taking the police department post.
  2. Hillsborough County Superintendent Jeff Eakins, left, looks on while school board chair Tammy Shamburger speaks on newly raised concerns of a undiscovered cemetery for indigent African Americans that may be within the vicinity of King High School in Tampa, Florida on Friday, October 18, 2019.  OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  3. Joanne Glenn, Pasco eSchool principal, addresses the eSchool faculty on opening day of teacher preplanning week in 2018. Pasco eSchool is launching its first online dual-enrollment courses in conjunction with Pasco-Hernando State College in the second semester.  GAIL DIEDERICH | Special to the Times
    Students will have access to two sections of two courses — microapplications and public speaking.
  4. Challenger K-8 School students, from left, Jeremy Gonzalez, 13, Jackson Hoyt, 12, Benjamin Harper, 12, and Gianni Labdar, 12, finish meals consisting of fresh salads, quesadillas and nachos during a lunch service on Oct. 15 at the school in Spring Hill during the county's Fresh from Florida Plate Day event. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Starting a farm-to-school initiative has been more complicated than district officials expected.
  5. The University of South Florida revealed a new plan for the school's consolidation Thursday morning. Unlike the first plan presented in September, it promises a high level of authority to leaders on campuses in St. Petersburg, shown here, and Sarasota. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
    Legislators who were critical of the original plan say a new approach revealed Thursday is more in line with their expectations.
  6. Florida K-12 Chancellor Jacob Oliva presents the state's second draft of academic standards revisions during an Oct. 17, 2017, session at Jefferson High School in Tampa. Gov. Ron DeSantis called for the effort in an executive order to remove the Common Core from Florida schools. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times staff
    ‘Our third draft will look different from our second,’ the chancellor explains.
  7. Meaghan Leto, (center facing street), a speech therapist from Twin Lakes Elementary, protests over pay with the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association outside of a School Board meeting.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  8. 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
    As expected, the union rejected the district’s plan to add work for middle and high school teachers in exchange for more money.
  9. Pinellas County teachers and their allies rallied at major intersections in 2012 to protest legislative proposals. [Jim Damaske, Times]
    Details are still scant, but the House’s tone was one of being fiscally cautious as they evaluate DeSantis’ pitch to raise base teacher pay.
  10. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2018) Hernando County School District office, 919 N Broad St., Brooksville
    Hernando County debates the pros and cons of superintendent John Stratton’s recommendation.
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