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USF unveils a renewed focus on preparing Florida teachers

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
The University of South Florida College of Education, where enrollment has dropped 40 percent since 2010, is taking steps to reinvent itself. [Times (2019)]
The University of South Florida College of Education, where enrollment has dropped 40 percent since 2010, is taking steps to reinvent itself. [Times (2019)]
Published Jun. 9
Updated Jun. 9

Remember when the University of South Florida threatened to kill its undergraduate College of Education? University leaders said the school couldn’t survive and thrive with its declining enrollment, and pushed to reorganize the program to serve graduate students only. Then area educators pushed back. Read on for the latest on that story and more Florida education news.

Instead of closing, USF has doubled down on improving the education college. It announced a well liked and respected new dean, and
a new direction.

Also at USF ... Former state House speaker Will Weatherford was named Board of Trustees chairman. • Workers broke ground for the school’s new $27 million student wellness center.

Coronavirus concerns

Still need to get vaccinated? The Pasco County school district will provide free shots for children 12 and older, and their family members, at six locations.

Mask mandates are disappearing. Pinellas County’s rule expires at the end of business today. • The Polk County School Board unanimously supported ending its requirement, the Ledger reports. • The Collier County school district will make masks optional beginning with summer school on June 21, WINK reports.

Finding new ways to tell stories. Miami-Dade County high school yearbook staffs got creative to put together their books during the pandemic, the Miami Herald reports.

Hot topics

The fight over transgender student rights is flaring up in Brevard County. Get an up-close look with BuzzFeed.

Some Lee County residents pressured their school board to kill a non-discrimination policy on gender. The board left the policy out of its student code of conduct, but said students are still protected, WFTX reports.

St. Johns County residents want “critical race theory” out of the local schools. District officials said it’s not there, WJXT reports.

What’s indoctrination? A Santa Rosa County parent criticized the graduation remarks of Republican state Sen. Doug Broxson, calling them insulting and hypocritical, Florida Politics reports.

The FHSAA was set to consider barring middle school students from high school varsity sports teams. The item never came up for a vote, WJXT reports.

Bay County schools eased their dress code rules after Hurricane Michael. The School Board decided to get strict again, despite some student and parent criticism, WMBB reports.

Leadership issues

How are they doing? Manatee County schools superintendent Cynthia Saunders received a ‘highly effective’ performance evaluation and a raise from her board, the Bradenton Herald reports. • Volusia County superintendent Scott Fritz won’t get an evaluation this year, having been out with a medical leave, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

The Alachua County School Board has two members living in the same district. A community group is petitioning for one to resign, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Three candidates for Lee County interim superintendent withdrew. The board decided to move ahead with the two remaining applicants, the Cape Coral Breeze reports.

School news

The State Board of Education will consider revising more standards than just civics. It’s also reviewing new guidelines for substance abuse instruction, Florida Phoenix reports. • Floridians have one more opportunity to speak out on the standards revision before they head to the State Board. It’s at 6 p.m. tonight at Macclenny Elementary School, 1 Wildkitten Drive, in Baker County.

President Biden gave a video address to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High graduating class. He praised them for rising above “unthinkable tragedy,” the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Musical chairs. Hundreds of St. Johns County high school students were rezoned to different campuses to accommodate for growth and crowding concerns, WJXT reports.

From the police blotter ... A 19-year-old man was arrested on allegations he sexually battered a 14-year-old girl on a Pinellas County school bus while on the way home from classes.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... Is anyone else psyched for Loki?