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Who will oversee the struggling schools?

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
A third-grade class at Fairmount Park Elementary, one of 15 Transformation Zone schools in Pinellas County. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times (2015)]
A third-grade class at Fairmount Park Elementary, one of 15 Transformation Zone schools in Pinellas County. [DIRK SHADD | Times (2015)]
Published May 7, 2020

What is it about trying to turn around schools with low test scores that creates such a leadership churn? The official charged with improving Pinellas County’s struggling schools is leaving, on the heels of her Hillsborough County counterpart’s departure. Read on for that and more Florida education news.

She’s outta here. The educator overseeing Pinellas County’s most struggling schools resigns without explanation. Community activists are concerned.

When virtual graduations just won’t do. Pasco County high schools schedule in-person ceremonies for mid-August. • Manatee County schools are looking to celebrate at the end of July, the Bradenton Herald reports. • Citrus County schools plan a drive-thru commencement in late May, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

Coronavirus killed this year’s Algebra I state exam. Officials now have a plan to allow students to use their geometry scores as a substitute toward graduation.

Spring football is still canceled. But Hillsborough County’s high school coaches will get their supplement after all.

Want more coronavirus news? The Tampa Bay Times is providing all its latest stories about the pandemic online free of charge as a public service. You always could subscribe, too.

Gaither High School head coach Kirk Karsen
Gaither High School head coach Kirk Karsen [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]

‘We couldn’t have done this 10 or 15 years ago.’ The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind relies on technology advances to provide distance learning to its students, the St. Augustine Record reports.

Private schools are struggling. Catholic schools in Florida and elsewhere seek financial support to stay afloat, Catholic News Service reports. • The U.S. Department of Education issues controversial guidelines for relief funds that could help, Chalkbeat reports.

Who’s reopening? The Florida Department of Education is exploring the idea of postponing the start of the next school year until after Labor Day, WOFL reports. • Bay County district officials say they’re set for Aug. 11, the Panama City News Herald reports. • Nova Southeastern University says it will resume in-person classes in the fall, while other schools are uncertain, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Closing time. The Duval County school district cancels the extra three days of distance learning it had scheduled to make up time missed during the extended spring break, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Field trips are out during coronavirus closures. But virtual visits are gaining popularity, WPEC reports.

Some students still aren’t logging in. Orange County schools report their average daily attendance is down to 80 percent, with nearly 3,000 students ‘missing in action,’ the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Sure, school board races are nonpartisan. That isn’t stopping political parties from getting involved in Duval County campaigns, Florida Politics reports.

Moving up. Putnam County’s principal of the year won’t be a principal much longer, the Palatka Daily News reports.

Schools still do more than educate. South Walton High School is called into service as an emergency evacuation shelter as a forest fire threatens homes and businesses, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

Still searching. The Martin County School Board forges ahead with its superintendent search, TC Palm reports.

Missed a big story yesterday? Here’s the link to that roundup.

Before you go ... It’s been a long time since you’ve revisited the original Harry Potter novel. Who better to read the first chapter to you than Daniel Radcliffe? Enjoy the 26 minutes.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY WARNER BROS. (August 29) Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint star in Warner Bros. Pictures  family adventure film  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY WARNER BROS. (August 29) Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint star in Warner Bros. Pictures family adventure film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

To keep up on the latest stories from around Florida, visit the Tampa Bay Times Gradebook. Join our daily Facebook conversation to share your views. And be sure to share this roundup with your friends and colleagues. Know someone who might want to sign up for the Gradebook newsletter? Share this link. We want to hear your remote learning survival stories. Send an e-mail to jsolochek@tampabay.com. - Jeff