Florida schools roundup: School changes, legislative bills and more

IMG_0001.JPGSchool change: A working group discussing the future of Duval County’s Northwestern Middle School votes unanimously to reject the district’s plans to turn it into a magnet or vocational school. Area residents want it to remain a neighborhood school, which is becoming a common theme against Superintendent Nikolai Vitti’s plan for changes. Florida Times-Union.

School bills: State Sen. John Legg, R-Lutz, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, predicts no major education bills for the legislative session that begins next month. Gradebook.

Future discussions: Brevard School Superintendent Desmond Blackburn presents his plan for the future of the system and its schools at a meeting tonight. Florida Today. Manatee School Board members invite members of the community to a discussion Wednesday about the future of Manatee schools. Bradenton Herald.

System assessment: An independent oversight committee appointed after Marion County voters approved a 1-mill tax levy in November 2014 reports that the school district is doing a good job spending that money. Ocala Star Banner.

Black history course: An online African-American history course for hundreds of Florida schools is being developed by the Department of Education’s African-American History Task Force. THE Journal.

Student incentives: Students who perform well academically go to the front of the line in the Woodrow Wilson Middle School cafeteria, a school incentive program that is drawing complaints from some parents. Fox 13.

Magnet schools: Two Pasco County middle schools will become STEM magnet schools next fall. Gradebook.

A school’s journey: Two years after Oak Park Elementary absorbed students from two closed Titusville schools, the school is starting to get a feel of ownership and belonging, an assistant principal says. Getting there was not an easy journey. Florida Today.

Contract negotiations: Members of the Lake County School District’s service union protest the lack of progress in contract talks at a school board meeting. Daily Commercial. Orlando Sentinel.

Substitute teachers: A shortage of substitute teachers prompts Pasco County to make mandatory training more accessible by putting it onlineGradebook.

Financial audit: Auditors find a variety of minor issues in the handling of money raised by several Collier County schools. Naples Daily News.

Employees in trouble: A math teacher at George Jenkins High School is arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution, one of 95 arrested in a five-day Polk County crackdown. Lakeland Ledger. Tampa Tribune. Two Duval County school resource officers face disciplinary action for alleged misuse of department equipment. Florida Times-Union.

School vandalized: Sometime over the weekend, vandals painted vulgar messages on the walls of the Nur-Ul-Islam Academy in Cooper City. Miami Herald.

Opinions on schools: It’s time the Florida Legislature gives more scrutiny to charter school capital costs. Bradenton Herald. Now that the federal government’s role in education has been diminished, it’s up to the states to deliver good policy to improve schools. Tampa Tribune. Do legislators really think the state can support dual K-12 school systems indefinitely? Carl Ramey, Gainesville Sun. The Supreme Court’s chief justice, John Roberts, wonders if white students benefit from having black students in a physics class. The answer is absolutely. Paul Cottle, Bridge to Tomorrow.

Student enrichment: The National Space Club Florida Committee presents a $30,000 check to the Brevard Schools Foundation to support Space Week. Florida Today. Okaloosa Academy Charter School, where many students have had behavioral issues and lower academic achievement at other schools, has started its first middle school basketball team. Northwest Florida Daily News. Miami Springs Middle School’s Art in the Sky project focuses on climate change this year. Miami Herald. Escambia County gives the school system $50,000 for branding academies for firefighting and criminal justice that will open in two high schools next year. Pensacola News Journal. Satellite High auto tech students sell a 2000 Chevy Impala they renovated for $6,000. The money will go back into the program. Florida Today. The Supply Zone for Brevard teachers is now part of a national network. The zone provides free supplies to teachers at high-poverty schools. Florida Today. Two Manatee High students create a design for the cars used by school resource officers. Bradenton Herald. With a new school now being planned, Pierson Elementary staff and students are anxious to say goodbye to the 26 portable classrooms on site. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Developmentally disabled students from the Chautauqua Learn & Serve Charter School get a lessons in sailing from the St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club. Panama City News Herald.

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BY NextSteps staff