1. Gradebook

Florida education news: 2019 school grades, teaching the Holocaust in public schools and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
It's been 20 years since Florida started using school grades as one of the cornerstones of its education accountability system. Grades for the 2018-19 school year were released Thursday. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Jul. 12

SCHOOL GRADES: Florida’s school grading system hits the 20-year mark, with state officials releasing school grades for 2019. The numbers show more schools with A’s and B’s and fewer with F’s. State officials called the results “monumental.” For education journalists around Florida, it was the story of the day Thursday, and news organizations found many ways to analyze the data. The coverage included reports from the Tampa Bay Times, Bradenton Herald, Port Charlotte Sun, TCPalm, Daily Commercial, Daytona Beach News-Journal, Gainesville Sun, Ocala StarBanner, Panama City News Herald, The Palm Beach Post, Naples Daily News, Miami Herald, The Florida Times-Union, WLRN, The News-Press, Orlando Sentinel, redefinED, South Florida Sun Sentinel, The St. Augustine Record, Tallahassee Democrat, Northwest Florida Daily News, Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

TEACHING THE HOLOCAUST: After an uproar over a Palm Beach County principal who declined to acknowledge the Holocaust as a historical fact, Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran is requesting detailed reports on how public schools in that county are teaching the Holocaust, Florida Phoenix reports. A letter by Corcoran says in part: “The law requires this instruction to be given on this topic with the highest standards for historical accuracy in a manner that leads to an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism and stereotyping.”

AUDIT TRAIL: Manatee County school officials say they’ve addressed eight major issues found more than three months ago in a state operational audit, the Bradenton Herald reports.

ALL SETTLED: The mother of an autistic teen who was left on a school bus twice in one week in 2016 settled a federal lawsuit this week against Polk County Public Schools,The Ledger reports.

START TIMES: The Polk County school system is shifting start times a little later at 19 schools, The Ledger reports.


  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. 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.
  3. Vials of medical marijuana oil. [Monica Herndon | Tampa Bay Times]
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  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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
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  7. 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.
  8. In this image from a telecast by The Florida Channel, Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran speaks to a Gainesville crowd that came to discuss revisions to the state's education standards this past week. “We’re going to end up with the world’s best standards,” Corcoran said. The Florida Channel
    The effort, ordered by Gov. Ron DeSantis, aims to transform the way students learn in public schools. A “listening session” is set for Tampa’s Jefferson High.
  9. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times  Florida Sen. Manny Diaz, Jr., R- Hialeah; Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, watch the passage of the school voucher bill Tuesday in the Florida House.
    The new program, designed to eliminate waiting lists for tax credit scholarships, is likely to be challenged in court.
  10. A research group has raised concerns that Florida's plan to track student social media usage and collect other data will compromise children's privacy.
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