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What’s new in Florida education?

The Department of Education has a 31-page handbook on all the latest rule changes.
The Hillsborough County School Transportation Department on Harney Road is a busy place as officials get buses ready for the school year. SKIP O'ROURKE | Times
Published Aug. 5
Updated Aug. 5

The Florida Legislature gave school districts another bumper crop of new and revised rules for the year that begins next week, ranging from who gets teacher bonuses to how to treat incidents of anti-Semitism.

Many of the issues got plenty of attention as lawmakers debated them, sometimes fiercely and furiously. But often, the details on how to implement the changes were scant. In some cases, they still are.

Aiming to help get districts up to speed, the Florida Department of Education has released a 31-page manual filled with the latest information on everything from revamped graduation requirements to the ongoing academic standards review requested by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Need to know about extended application deadlines for Bright Futures scholarships? Check page 4.

Curious whether your school’s industry certifications will be approved and accepted. That’s on page 7.

Wonder which courses can substitute for Algebra II and statistics for purposes of earning a “scholar” designation on your diploma? The lists appear on page 9.

The document goes through all the major issues, providing basic information, added links and contacts within the department to answer questions. When the most current details are not yet complete, as in the case of the new career and technical education graduation pathway, the department offers what it has and makes clear an update is in the works.

It’s some informative reading for anyone who wants to know in one centralized place what the state has done. Check it out.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace has 183 more students this school year than last. Middle schools grew in enrollment this year, while elementary schools lost more than 1,200 students.  [Times | 2013]
    The 20 day count shows ever more crowding in southeast Hillsborough.
  2. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. The Florida Channel
    Gov. Ron DeSantis also had set a priority of getting more youngsters ready for kindergarten.
  3. Wendell Krinn Technical High School in Pasco County opened in August 2018. The district wants to open an east-side technical high school in 2022. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |
    The past department head was removed over several performance concerns.
  4. Pinellas Sheriff's trainers line the back of the room as more than 100 school security officers, or "guardians,"  began training.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  5. Students and community activists marched in Tampa last year after the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The attack killed 17 people and gave rise to Florida’s school guardian law, which this year was changed to allow classroom teachers to be armed. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the measure into law. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    Damien Kelly, the director of the Office of Safe Schools, told lawmakers that 11 districts have said they would like the option to arm instructional staff, but it wasn’t clear if all 11 had...
  6. Pasco High School's state grade for 2019 remains an "incomplete," with state officials finding not enough students were tested.
    A fourth has its request rejected, leaving it with an “incomplete” mark.
  7. The USF St. Petersburg Campus, Thursday, June 19, 2014.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  8. A view of the student center at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where opposition is mounting over a plan to consolidate USF's three campuses. Some state lawmakers are opposed to parts of it that would concentrate authority over academic decisions in Tampa. CHRIS URSO   |   TIMES  |
    They say the proposal by USF president Steve Currall conflicts with a new Florida law by giving too much authority to the Tampa campus.
  9. Wreckage left behind by Hurricane Michael. News Service of Florida
    Entire school systems are still recovering from long-standing damage and dealing with the disruptive aftermath of the storm.
  10. The National Merit Scholarship program has announced the names of semifinalists for scholarships to be offered in the spring.
    These students are among the top 1 percent of high school seniors in the nation.
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