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Florida schools roundup: Special needs, testing, campaigns and more

florida-roundup-logoSpecial needs. A program unique to the Volusia school district helps parents identify their children’s autism early. Daytona Beach News Journal.

Virtual schools. A study shows they do not harm students’ academic progress. Gradebook.

Testing. Parents at an emotionally charged meeting on testing and Common Core are told that opting out is not an option. Palm Beach Post. More from Extra Credit. Central Florida school board officials air complaints about state testing requirements. Orlando Sentinel. Marion teachers plan to rally against testing. Ocala Star-Banner.

Growth. Enrollment is rebounding in Tampa Bay-area public schools after languishing during the recession. Tampa Bay Times.

Campaigns and referenda. A political consulting group alleges the Broward school district created a “sham” political action committee to promote a tax referendum and skirt election laws. Sun-Sentinel. Brevard schools will soon name the schools slated for closure if a tax referendum fails. Florida Today. School board candidates debate in Collier County. Naples Daily News.

Transportation. A new transportation manager takes over for the Hillsborough school district. Tampa Tribune. Tampa Bay Times.

STEM. Policymakers pushing computer science and engineering courses should not ignore physics and calculus, Paul Cottle writes at Bridge to Tomorrow.

Wellness. Schools add yoga to help students relax. Orlando Sentinel.

Student rights. Transgender students ask for more recognition from the Volusia school district. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

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BY Travis Pillow

Travis Pillow is Director of Thought Leadership at Step Up For Students and editor of NextSteps. He lives in Sanford, Fla. with his wife and two children. A former Tallahassee statehouse reporter, he most recently worked at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a research organization at Arizona State University, where he studied community-led learning innovation and school systems' responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. He can be reached at tpillow (at)