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Florida schools stop to recognize top teachers

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Chardae Duffy was named Hillsborough County's Ida S. Baker Diversity Teacher of the Year during a live-streamed celebration of educators. Several Florida school districts recognized their top teachers at events on Jan. 21. 2020.
Chardae Duffy was named Hillsborough County's Ida S. Baker Diversity Teacher of the Year during a live-streamed celebration of educators. Several Florida school districts recognized their top teachers at events on Jan. 21. 2020. [ Hillsborough County school district ]
Published Jan. 22, 2021

Teachers across the state and nation have had it rough the past several months. They’ve often struggled to cope with ever-changing rules and regulations established because of the coronavirus pandemic, finding themselves needing to improvise as they go. Flexibility and creativity has been the name of the game. All along the way, they’ve attempted to gain protections from the virus for themselves and their students. Many have felt under-appreciated. The teacher of the year honor barely can scratch the surface when it comes to giving educators their due. But it’s a step that many districts took this week, as a way to acknowledge the importance of the people who educate our children every day despite the obstacles. Read on for that and other Florida education news.

Take a moment to recognize some top teachers. The Hillsborough and Pinellas school districts introduced their 2021 teachers of the year during online events Thursday night. Check out who they are. • The Sarasota County school district named its teacher of the year, too, the Herald-Tribune reports. So, too, did the Alachua County school district, the Gainesville Sun reports. And Polk County, the Ledger reports.

We told you in our Gradebook newsletter last week that school choice expansion and education savings accounts were on the horizon for Florida. The bill dropped on Thursday in the Senate, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Read the bill here. More from Florida Politics. What? You don’t get our free weekly newsletter? You can sign up here.

There’s more education-related legislation appearing as session nears. One new bill would stop public employers from firing employees who use medical marijuana, like what happened in Marion County schools, Florida Politics reports. • Talk is swirling about barring local governments from shutting down schools and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, Florida Politics reports. • A state representative has proposed ending in-state tuition for university students who immigrated to the United States ‘illegally,’ Florida Today reports.

Show them the vaccine. Volusia County school employees age 65 years and older gained access to coronavirus inoculations on Thursday, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Get tested. The Palm Beach County Catholic school system will require any staff or students who have traveled on a plane to provide a negative virus test result before being allowed back on campus, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Show them the money. The Bay County school district has spent more than $175 million in repairs after 2018′s Hurricane Michael. It has received less than $38 million in FEMA reimbursements, the Panama City News Herald reports. • Escambia County teacher and district representatives ended their months-long standoff to seal a deal on pay raises, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

A developmental research school in Gainesville opened a new three-story classroom building. It has no hallways, the Gainesville Sun reports.

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The Marion County School Board has been looking for a new social-emotional learning program. So far it can’t agree on any proposed replacement, WMFE reports.

A new charter school is headed to Collier County. It’s headed by former School Board member Erika Donalds, the Naples Daily News reports.

A Brevard County high school will get a new mascot. They decided remaining the “Indians” was derogatory, Florida Today reports.

Did you miss a story? Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... Have you seen all the Bernie Sanders memes, using his inauguration day photo? Folks have “placed” him in all sorts of situations, from a Publix deli line to a Green Bay Packers fan gathering. Here’s my personal favorite. What’s yours?


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