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Florida schools focus on kindergarten in effort to improve reading

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Landon Aponte and a classmate play with puppets in Ashlie Brierley's class at Dunedin Elementary on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in Dunedin.
Landon Aponte and a classmate play with puppets in Ashlie Brierley's class at Dunedin Elementary on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in Dunedin. [ LAUREN WITTE | Times ]
Published Jun. 22|Updated Jun. 22

The big story: Want kids to be reading well by third grade? Focus on their early education.

That’s the lesson that several Florida school districts have learned as they seek solutions to low performance on state tests, perhaps made worse by two-plus years of pandemic impacted schooling.

They’re hoping that new summer programs aimed at helping children prepare for kindergarten will make a difference.

“It’s absolutely crucial,” said Pinellas County elementary principal Lisa Brown. “This is to help ensure that every student is prepared, in a developmentally appropriate way.” Read more here.

Culture wars

Chamberlain High School's "Chiefs" mascot and logo will be retired.
Chamberlain High School's "Chiefs" mascot and logo will be retired. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Mascots: Chamberlain High in Tampa will retire its “Chiefs” logo and mascot after students at the Hillsborough County school called for a change.

Race lessons: A federal judge is considering whether to delay implementation of Florida’s new law governing how race issues are taught in public schools, WPTV reports. More from Politico Florida.

Gender issues: A group urging the Seminole County School Board to recognize Pride Month disrupted the board meeting with song, WOFL reports.

Vouchers: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states may not exclude religious schools from programs that pay for students to receive a private education, the Associated Press reports. Florida’s model is not affected, as it does not prevent students from using vouchers to attend non-secular schools.

School board races: A Sarasota County board candidates announced she will not attend an event hosted by a Proud Boys activist, after coming under fire from her opponent, the Herald-Tribune reports.

School staffing

Hillsborough County Superintendent Addison Davis had his contract extended to June 2027.
Hillsborough County Superintendent Addison Davis had his contract extended to June 2027. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

Leadership: The Hillsborough County school district has 17 more new principals, bringing the total number of moves to 54 so far. The School Board also unanimously extended superintendent Addison Davis’ contract to June 2027. • Two finalists for Orange County superintendent met with the School Board a week before a vote is to be taken, WKMG reports. More from WMFE.

Hiring crisis: School districts across North Florida are struggling to fill hundreds of job vacancies, WEAR reports.

Labor issues: University of Florida graduate assistants protested the school’s pay rates, saying they are not getting livable wages, WUFT reports.

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

Before you go ... Beyoncé has a new single!

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