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Florida education news: Class rank, ham sandwiches and preparing for Corona

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Health officials recommend washing hands frequently and sanitizing toys, clothes and other items as often as possible to avoid the spread of viruses.
Health officials recommend washing hands frequently and sanitizing toys, clothes and other items as often as possible to avoid the spread of viruses.
Published Feb. 27, 2020

WHO’S NO. 1? Most Florida high schools determine their valedictorian and salutatorian by calculating student grade-point averages and making a list. Sure, there might be some weighting given to certain courses, but that’s the extent of the complexity. One Pasco County charter school wants do something different, saying its proposed formula would be more meaningful.

TIME FOR A REFRESH: Tyrone Middle is one of Pinellas County’s oldest middle schools. The School Board wants to make it on par with some of the newest, and it has $28 million to make it so.

THERE’S NO CORONA VIRUS IN FLORIDA: But given all the attention to the illness, several Florida school districts have begun sending messages to families telling them how to prepare — just in case. It’s happening in south Florida (WSVN), the Tampa Bay region (WFLA), and up north (WJXT). Have you gotten your (probably unneeded) face mask yet?

CAMPAIGN PRESSURE: Santa Rosa County teacher union leaders have accused the district superintendent of attempting to coerce support for his preferred school board candidate. He calls the accusation slander, WEAR reports.

ANTI-BULLYING CAMPAIGN: We often hear stories of how kids use social media for harassment and hate. What if it became a positive place? Some south Florida schools think they’ve found a way to make it happen, WTVJ reports.

SECURITY: A bill to require panic alarms in Florida public schools wins unanimous support in yet another legislative committee, Florida Politics reports. But some lawmakers aren’t happy with the details. • Parkland residents are still traumatized by the 2018 shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Will a school with bulletproof glass and an eight-foot non-scalable fence ease concerns? WLRN reports.

THAT’S A LOT OF HAM SANDWICHES: In Clay County schools, students can run a cafeteria tab up to $10 before they no longer can get an entree for lunch. The 37,000-student district has an accumulated $27,000 debt for unpaid meals, Clay Today reports.

SCHOOL DAYS: The Indian River County School Board has finally approved its 2020-21 student calendar, TC Palm reports. Guess what they decided to do for Veterans Day.

TEACHER ACTIVISM: The Broward County school district held a formal ribbon cutting for its newest classroom wing. Teachers protested, WPLG reports.

PARENTAL RIGHTS: A controversial measure to create a parents’ ‘bill of rights’ in state statute is sailing through the House. But can it make it through the Senate? Florida Politics reports.

NEW BOUNDARIES: The Lake County school district is preparing to revise school attendance zones to tackle classroom crowding problems. Parents haven’t been happy with the initial set of proposals, the Daily Commercial reports. • A St. Johns County community that had hoped for school crowding relief will have to wait a bit longer, the St. Augustine Record reports. The district’s planned new school in the area can’t handle all the growth.

GETTING THERE: The Clay County school district is replacing nearly half of its bus fleet this year, Clay Today reports. • The Lee County school district has ended its contract with a local medical transport group for people with disabilities. Now it wants its gas money back, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

WHAT’S IN A NAME? An Orange County community wants to rid its school of its Confederate general namesake. Would baseball legend Roberto Clemente be a suitable replacement? The Orlando Sentinel reports.

BAD ACTS: A Flagler County teacher is fired after accusations he physically removed a student from class, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

TODAY: Senate Appropriations meets at 9 a.m. with a lengthy agenda, including consideration of SB 1628 on Holocaust education and SB 70 on panic alarms in schools.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup