Florida schools roundup: Common Core, Ben Gamla, teacher raises & more

Summit: State education leaders meet next week with district superintendents, principals, parents, teachers unions and the business community to talk Common Core, school grades and other issues. The Buzz.

florida-roundup-logoDistrict input: Palm Beach County schools Superintendent Wayne Gent wants state leaders to listen to districts about fixing the state’s A-F grading system and transitioning to new standardized tests under the Common Core State Standards. Palm Beach Post.

High-tech: Nearly 2,500 Orange County students get brand-new MacBook Air laptops this week that cost the district $13.8 million. Orlando Sentinel.

Charter schools: A local civic activist asks the Broward County School Board to determine whether the publicly funded Ben Gamla charter schools violate the separation of church and state. Miami Herald.

Common Core: Teachers talk about the new education standards, including whether or not the public schools are ready. StateImpact Florida. The Hernando County School Board plans workshop on Common Core. Tampa Bay Times. “Common Core is a natural progression in raising standards for students,” Hillsborough schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia tells the Tampa Bay Times.

Teacher pay: After six years without a pay raise, St. Lucie County teachers and other school employees will start taking home bigger checks. TC Palm. Pinellas school officials meet with union leaders to discuss raises. Tampa Bay Times.

Arts: Jacksonville boosts art education as the 14th city to be part of “Ensuring the Arts for Any  Given Child,” a program from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts  in Washington, D.C. Florida Times-Union.

Conduct: Nine administrators and staff members from Manatee High have been suspended or transferred following an investigation into an assistant coach. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Survey says: One in three people who work in the Pinellas County school district administration building do not believe the school system is meeting its goals. That and other findings in a district-wide survey. Tampa Bay Times.

GED: A St. Petersburg grandmother finally gets to don a high school cap and gown. Tampa Bay Times.

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BY Sherri Ackerman

Sherri Ackerman is the former associate editor of redefinED. She is a former correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times and reporter for The Tampa Tribune, writing about everything from cops and courts to social services and education. She grew up in Indiana and moved to Tampa as a teenager, graduating from Brandon High School and, later, from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/news editing. Sherri passed away in March 2016.