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Florida education news: Hurricane Dorian, House committees, math lessons and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Strong winds from Hurricane Dorian blow the tops of trees and brush while whisking up water from the surface of a canal that leads to the sea, located behind the brush at top, seen from the balcony of a hotel in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. Hurricane Dorian hovered over the Bahamas on Monday, pummeling the islands with a fearsome Category 4 assault that forced even rescue crews to take shelter until the onslaught passes. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) [RAMON ESPINOSA | AP]
Published Sep. 3

HURRICANE DORIAN: The savage storm, with wind still above 120 mph, continues to churn off the east coast of Florida. Many school districts, including those in the Tampa Bay area, canceled classes for Tuesday but say they will resume Wednesday as the threat passes. A handful of districts, including Manatee, Sarasota and Lee, choose to reopen Tuesday, offering excused absences to students who can’t make it in. Some schools, such as those in Marion County, close all week, though, as they are called into duty as evacuation shelters.

COMMITTEES: The Florida House cuts one of its education committees for the 2020 session, with leadership saying the debate was getting redundant. The change finds liberal Democrat Rep. Anna Eskamani without an education committee to serve on.

MIDDLE SCHOOL MATH: The Pasco County school district wins a $1 million grant from the Gates Foundation to help better align its math curriculum to state standards.

GLOBAL LEARNING: Pine View Elementary in Land O’Lakes becomes Pasco County’s first International Baccalaureate elementary campus.

REQUIRED INSTRUCTION: The Florida Department of Education continues to accept public comment on a proposed rule to mandate districts report annually on how they are implementing all required lessons, Florida Phoenix reports.

GETTING THERE: A Lee County family worries about putting their daughter back on the school bus after the 6-year-old is let off at the wrong stop and begins wandering down a busy Fort Myers roadway, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE: Area hospitals join the Okaloosa County school district to provide ‘Stop the Bleed’ kits to campuses, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

BOARDROOM TENSIONS: Lee County School Board members take aim at superintendent Greg Adkins during a debate over how certain documents have landed in the public eye, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

PERSONAL POLITICS: Two Jacksonville city officials launch into personal attacks via email as they argue over Duval County school taxes, Florida Politics reports.

MENTAL HEALTH: Educators call for more school-based help for children contemplating suicide and self-harm, during a south Florida roundtable convened to discuss the issue, the Sun-Sentinel reports.


  1. Pasco school bus drivers are among those school-related employees who would get a 3.25 percent raise under a tentative contract agreement for 2019-20.
    District, union attention now turns to teacher contracts.
  2. Teacher Kate Newell watches seventh graders Aaron Roxberry and Jacob Iovino practice the slope-intercept formula in one of her weekly visits to their Bayonet Point Middle algebra class, which Newell usually teaches remotely. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  3. eSchool teacher Kate Newell holds a discussion-based assessment with eighth-grader Ariana Toro during a recent visit to Bayonet Point Middle School. Newell leads the math course remotely most days, but comes to campus at least once weekly to give her students some extra attention. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Principals increasingly turn to virtual instruction to fill their vacancies.
  4. Victoria Arriaga, left, does a letter-matching activity during Priscilla Perez's pre-kindergarten class at West Tampa Elementary School in 2018.  [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    Reading proficiency, however, continues to be a challenge.
  5. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing $1 billion in increased teacher pay as part of a $91.4 billion state budget he put forward on Monday. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The Florida governor also wants to hire hundreds of new corrections officers and spend $1.4 billion on hurricane recovery.
  6. Damian J. Fernandez, center, is introduced Monday as the new president of Eckerd College. He will succeed longtime president Donald R. Eastman III on July 1. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Damian Fernandez, 62, will succeed president Donald R. Eastman III, who steps down June 30 after leading the school for 19 years.
  7. The Florida Department of Education has approved another alternate assessment for third graders to demonstrate they read at or above grade level.
    The state also reminds schools to let those who struggle that scholarships for help are available.
  8. Trump supporters yell and show the middle finger at hecklers during Kimberly Guilfoyle's speech in the University Auditorium at the University of Florida on October 10, 2019. Guilfoyle spoke about her childhood as a first-generation American, her experiences as a lawyer and her support for the Trump family.  CHRIS DAY  |  Chris Day
    Student senator Ben Lima explains why he’s pursuing the charges against Michael Murphy.
  9. A fledgling movement of parents and community members in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties are speaking out about sex education in public schools. They say the curriculums are not explicit enough. And they worry that kids don’t have enough information — or that they get it too late — to protect themselves against the risks of sexual intimacy. [Shutterstock] SHUTTERSTOCK
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    University of Florida student body president Michael Murphy received a resolution for his impeachment Tuesday. Then the state’s Republican Party started an online petition and fundraiser.