1. Gradebook

Florida education news: Teacher of the Year, prekindergarten, computer science and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.

TOP TEACHER: Dr. Dakeyan Graham, music teacher at his alma mater King High in Hillsborough County for the past decade, wins accolades as Florida’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. “Humbling does not even begin to define this moment,” he told the audience at the Orlando gala.

EARLY EDUCATION: The Florida Department of Education begins work to improve the state’s Voluntary Prekindergarten program, including assessment and funding.

LEADERSHIP: Highlands County citrus grower Andy Tuck is named chairman of the Florida Board of Education.

COMPUTER SCIENCES: Florida looks to increase the number of computer science teachers as it targets the field for growth, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

TURNAROUNDS: A struggling Marion County elementary school will get a different external operator for the next academic year, the Ocala Star-Banner reports. Superintendent Heidi Maier requested permission to make the change, and the State Board of Education readily agreed.

MORE PROBLEMS: A Manatee County charter school that recently has come under fire from the state faces a new set of complaints, as former employees say they’re owed thousands in back pay, WWSB reports.

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS: The University of Central Florida prepares to expand its Community Schools initiative to help more needy students, Fox 35 reports.

TAX SPAT: The Duval County School Board seeks legal advice as it faces opposition to its effort to call a sales tax special election, the Florida Times-Union reports.

LET HIM GO: The Florida Legislative Jewish Caucus calls for the firing of a Palm Beach County principal who questioned the reality of the Holocaust, Florida Politics reports.

HIRING CRITERIA: Facing a dearth of qualified candidates for bus and maintenance staff, the Bay County school district considers lowering the requirements for the jobs, the Panama City News Herald reports.

GIRLS WRESTLING: Florida appears on track to add girls wrestling to the selection of sanctioned high school sports, the Palm Beach Post reports.

REALLY? A finalist for Miami Dade College president tells a tale of meeting with gang members that raises so many questions that the search committee hires an investigator to check it out, the Miami Herald reports.

CONSTRUCTION FUNDS: The Santa Rosa County school district prepares a budget without any impact fees included, unable to convince the County Commission to impose the fee despite rapid growth, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

BAD ACTS: A former Duval County school bookkeeper is arrested on a dozen charges of fraud and theft against the school, the Florida Times-Union reports. • A Broward County teacher accused of improper hugging of students faces a 10-day suspension, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • A former Okaloosa County teacher whose child abuse charges contributed to the downfall of a superintendent is denied bond as she appeals her sentence, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • A former Miami-Dade County assistant principal faces first degree murder charges in the beating of a fellow educator, the Miami Herald reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup