1. Gradebook

Florida education news: School improvement, campus security, student grades and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Ariel Bell, 26, attended Van Buren Middle School for sixth grade. He will return to the school, now part of Van Buren K-8, to teach music this year. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times]
Published Jul. 22

IMPROVEMENT PLANS: Hillsborough County school district officials pledge to continue their emphasis on improving academic performance at schools in the poorest neighborhoods, even as superintendent Jeff Eakins heads for the exit.

OUSTED: Former Pinellas County superintendent Clayton Wilcox resigns under fire from his post as superintendent of North Carolina’s second-largest school district. His departure comes the same week that former Hillsborough superintendent MaryEllen Elia announces her plans to leave her job as New York education commissioner.

GRADE CHANGES: The Pasco County School Board positions itself to give teachers more authority in changing student grades after report cards have been issued.

TOP TEACHER: Florida Teacher of the Year Dakeyan Graham of Hillsborough’s King High School begins to craft a message to deliver statewide as he serves a year as a state ambassador of teaching.

“TOTAL LOSS”: An eight-classroom building at McLane Middle School in Brandon is destroyed in a weekend fire that appeared to be caused by lightning.

SCHOOL SECURITY: Some Florida school districts and law enforcement agencies have yet to comply with state security laws as they argue over responsibility, the Associated Press reports. More from the Sun-Sentinel. • Citrus County school guards participate in a school shooter active drill to prepare for the worst, the Citrus County Chronicle reports. • Broward County schools will beef up their security efforts for the new school year, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

SCIENCE LESSONS: The Polk County school district will look for ways to increase their higher level math and science offerings, the Ledger reports.

TURNAROUNDS: A struggling Polk County middle school revises its improvement plan in search of better student results, the Ledger reports.

JOB HUNTING: A Manatee County School Board member applies to lead Santa Fe College, the Bradenton Herald reports.

DRIVER EDUCATION: Funding shrinks for Florida school-based driver education as traffic citations decrease, but the course remains in high demand, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

SCHOOL LEADERSHIP: The Marion County school district scales back its annual principal shift, though some changes still come amid state demands at campuses with low scores, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

BONUSES: Teacher union officials predict discontent with a new state bonus program for “highly effective” teachers at low-performing Title I schools, the Herald-Tribune reports.

NOW CLOSED: Parents sending their children to a Clay County private school seek answers as the school is evicted from its site over unpaid rent, WJXT reports.

PROPERTY DEBATE: Monroe County school district leaders discuss whether to use a site for a transportation center or employee housing, the Key West Citizen reports.

BAD ACTS: A former Palm Beach County teacher is arrested on accusations of trying to set up a sex encounter with a 10-year-old girl, WPTV reports.


  1. Chanell Newell, a reading teacher at Woodson K-8 School, is a finalist for Hillsborough Teacher of the Year. HCPS  |  HCPS
    The winners will be announced on Jan. 23.
  2. A school bus travels the early morning streets of Pasco County on the way to the first day of classes in 2017.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  3. Transgender student Drew Adams speaks with reporters outside of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Adam's fight over school restrooms came before a federal appeals court Thursday, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling. Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High in Ponte Vedra, Fla., won a lower court ruling last year ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys' restroom. The district has since appealed. RON HARRIS  |  AP
    The closely watched case of Drew Adams, once a high school student in Florida, is heard by a three-judge panel in Atlanta.
  4. Representatives from the United School Employees of Pasco, on the left, present their latest pay request to the district's bargaining team during talks on Oct. 24, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Teachers have yet to reach a deal on their contract.
  5. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. It has met just once more since then. The Florida Channel
    Lawmakers have yet to set an aggressive agenda beyond talk of teacher pay as the 2020 legislative session nears.
  6. FILE - In a Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 file photo, transgender teen Drew Adams, left, leaves the U. S. Courthouse with his mother Erica Adams Kasper after the first day of his trial about bathroom rights at Nease High School, in Jacksonville, Fla. The transgender student's fight over school bathrooms comes before a federal appeals court Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling. Drew Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, won a lower court ruling in 2018 ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys' restroom. (Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union via AP, File) WILL DICKEY  |  AP
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. A bird's-eye view of USF St. Petersburg, which this week announced a new member of the Campus Board. She is Melissa Seixas, a Duke Energy executive who earned her master's degree at USF.
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  8. An LGBTQ Pride march participant walks under a large rainbow flag in New York earlier this year. School Board policy regarding LGBTQ students has been a frequent topic of discussion in recent months in Pasco County. CRAIG RUTTLE  |  AP
    The discourse is more civil and respectful, two weeks after a session that many deemed hate-filled and vile.
  9. The Florida Legislature so far has has left Gov. Ron DeSantis to set most education policy priorities for 2020.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. "Miss Virginia," a film about school choice, will be screened at the Tampa Theatre on Dec. 10.
    “Miss Virginia” will be playing at the Tampa Theater on Tuesday.