Florida schools roundup: Teacher evaluations, top high schools and more

IMG_0001.JPGTeacher evaluations: A report by the National Council on Teacher Quality finds that most states now require objective measures of student achievement in teacher evaluations, but that almost all teachers are being rated effective or highly effective. The report singles out Florida as a leader in tying teacher evaluations to policies and to pay. THE Journal.

Top U.S. high schools: Ten Florida high schools are on the annual top 100 list compiled by U.S. News & World Report. Miami’s International Studies Charter High School is rated the best high school in Florida and the 13th best in the United States. Here are the top schools in Florida, and here are the national rankings. Miami New Times. Gradebook.

Charter school payback: Newpoint Education Partners is repaying $75,000 in federal grant money that went to the East Windsor Middle Academy in St. Petersburg rather than account for how the money was spent. The company, which owns and operates five charter schools in Pinellas County, sent the check to the school district. It said its former accounting firm had not followed the necessary documentation procedures allowing it to be eligible for the grant. Gradebook.

Reading study: A report from Morgridge International Reading Center at the University of Central Florida shows Florida elementary students who received instruction in the Istation reading program had growth in all areas. Istation is an online program that evaluates students and puts them on individualized learning paths.

Reading coalition: The Duval County School Board, the Early Learning Coalition of Duval and the Read it Forward Jax coalition are moving ahead on a plan to share data and improve reading skills. Florida Politics.

School bus report: The $50,000 report investigating the Palm Beach County school bus crisis blames incompetence by administrators and political meddling by a school board member, but leaves many key questions unanswered. Palm Beach Post.

Video withheld: The Duval County School District will not release video taken of a district parking lot on the night a school board member says she was followed after a meeting. It says the video is exempt from state public records laws for security reasons. Florida Times-Union.

School suspensions: Suspensions in Orange County middle schools drop 16 percent after the system adopts an alternative “restorative justice” approach. The method, which will be pushed into high schools next year, has offending students talk to teachers, parents and other students to resolve problems. Orlando Sentinel.

Planning time issue: The Lake County Education Association files a grievance against the school district for alleged violations of a contract that details planning time for teachers. Daily Commercial.

School start times: The Manatee County School District is asking parents, students and the community to take an online survey about later school start times. Bradenton Herald.

Opinions on schools: The Florida Legislature seems interested in helping elementary students do better in reading, but why isn’t it taking notice of the problems middle-schoolers are having in math? Bridge to Tomorrow.

Tragedy hits school again: A 15-year-old student was gunned down this week as he walked home from school – the fourth Northwestern High School student to be murdered this year. Miami Herald.

School and the law: A 21-year-old special education teacher at Bonifay Elementary School is arrested and accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old. Panama City News Herald. A teacher and a student get into a fight at Sebastian River High School after the student made a sarcastic remark. The teacher is taken out of the classroom while school and law enforcement officials investigate. Palm Beach Post, WPTV. TCPalm. The Cocoa Beach Police Department is investigating a fight at Cocoa Beach Senior/Junior High School after videos were posted on social media sites. Florida Today. A Matanzas High School student is arrested after allegedly punching a school dean. Daytona Beach News-Journal. A 76-year-old man is arrested after threatening to bring a gun to Narcoossee Elementary School in St. Cloud because music at the school was too loud. WKMG. A Tampa parent is angry that a student who pleaded guilty to assaulting his son is now playing for the Durant High football team. Durant’s coach says the player had served his punishment and was given a second chance. Tampa Tribune.

Buses help needy: Manatee County school buses will be used to transport doctors, volunteers, homeless and needy patients to a Remote Area Medical clinic this weekend for free health, dental and eye care. Bradenton Herald.

Housing, schooling link: It’s more expensive to buy a home near the highest-ranked schools in the United States, according to a report from RealtyTrac. Fort Myers News-Press.

Student enrichment: Bridges Foundation of Brevard County donates $50,000 to a nonprofit that helps children and adults with disabilities. Florida Today. The nonprofit organization Guitars Over Guns is helping at-risk students in the Miami area express themselves through the arts. Miami Herald. Leadership Collier provides Parkside Elementary students a day at the beach. Naples Daily News.

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BY NextSteps staff