Florida education news: Required lessons, middle school improvements, investigations and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
Principal April Gillyard, right, talks with Ro'Necia Hamilton during lunch at Memorial Middle School in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times Principal April Gillyard, right, talks with Ro'Necia Hamilton during lunch at Memorial Middle School in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.
Published Aug. 2, 2019

CLOSER LOOKS: As the new school year approaches, districts’ board members begin to pay closer attention to how their issues of interest are getting implemented. In Pasco, the School Board chairwoman calls for a workshop to explore how the district intends to improve west-side schools. A Hillsborough County School Board member whose primary focus has been mental health services will tour her district to learn what is and isn’t available to students.

REQUIRED INSTRUCTION: A Democratic state representative raises concerns that schools face no consequences for failing to provide lessons about African-American and Holocaust history, Florida Phoenix reports.

MIDDLE YEARS: The Miami-Dade County school district looks for ideas to improve its middle schools, which have fallen on hard times as families head instead to district K-8 schools, the Miami Herald reports.

UNDER INVESTIGATION: The U.S. Department of Education launches an investigation of possible fraud, bribery and other offenses at a Manatee County charter school, the Bradenton Herald reports. More from the Herald-Tribune.

BIG MONEY: The Palm Beach County school district plans a ‘landmark’ spending year, thanks to an influx from a recently passed local tax rate increase, the Palm Beach Post reports.

SCHOLARSHIP RIPOFF: A Hialeah day care owner is arrested on accusations she helped families defraud the state’s Tax Credit Scholarship program, the Miami Herald reports.

AFTER PARKLAND: Other states continue to respond to school security concerns post-Parkland. A Missouri task force recommends all public schools there should have an armed guard, St. Louis Public Radio reports. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, signed a law barring schools from allowing anyone but trained law enforcement or guards to carry guns in schools, the New York Daily News reports.

SECURITY: Officers in the Clay County school district’s new police force undergo intense training in the months leading to schools reopening, First Coast News reports. • Lake County middle school students will begin wearing lanyards to show they belong on campus, which also carry a suicide prevention message, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

SCHOOL GRADES: Nassau County’s Yulee Middle gets a new assistant principal to help raise its state accountability grade from B to A, WJXT reports.

ATMOSPHERE MATTERS: A teacher at Lake County’s Treadway Elementary wins a classroom makeover, which she expects to inspire her students, the Daily Commercial reports.

TECHNOLOGY: The Marion County school district prepares to buy more than 14,000 new computers for student use, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

RECORD KEEPING: Polk County school district officials discuss whether to stop keeping some evidence related to harassment and discrimination investigations, the Ledger reports.

TAX BATTLE: Despite its growing disdain with the scenario, the Duval County School Board responds to pages of City Council questions about its proposed sales tax referendum, the Florida Times-Union reports. The council has so far blocked the district’s effort to get its question on the November ballot. District leaders are now angling for a December vote, First Coast News reports.

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES: The Gulf County school district enters into new partnerships to expand mental health offerings to students, the Port St. Joe Star reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup