Florida schools roundup: Testing alternatives, impact fees and more

IMG_0001.JPGTesting alternatives: A bill is filed in the Legislature that would allow students to use standardized tests, such as the SAT and ACT, instead of the Florida Standards Assessments to measure students’ knowledge. Schools boards would choose the options, says State Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, the bill sponsor. Miami Herald. Orlando Sentinel.

School impact fees: The Manatee County Commission votes to impose school impact fees on new residential development for the first time since 2009. The collection begins in April. Bradenton Herald. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Soccer player dies: A 16-year-old T. Dewitt Taylor Middle-High School student collapses and dies during a soccer game Wednesday. Rosio Delao died of an apparent asthma attack. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Community schools: C.A. Weis Elementary School in Pensacola becomes the second in the state to transform into a community school. A community school prioritizes health, growth and learning, community engagement and safety. Pensacola News Journal. Tallahassee City Commissioner Gil Ziffer criticizes Leon County school officials for their hesitation in moving ahead on building a community school. Tallahassee Democrat.

Quarterly assessments: As the Pasco County School District begins its quarterly assessments of students’ progress, the controversy over the benefits of the program continues. Tampa Bay Times.

Superintendent race: Kurt Browning, superintendent of the Pasco County School District, files paper for re-election. Pasco is the largest district in the country with an elected superintendent. Gradebook.

School access review: Palm Beach County school officials are reviewing policies for parents entering schools after a second-grade teacher was attacked by a parent in her classroom at Roosevelt Elementary in West Palm Beach. Sun-Sentinel.

Charter schools: A charter high school is planned for southeast Hillsborough County. Kid’s Community College Charter High School has plans for 250 students. Gradebook.

Robocalls penalty: The Orange County School District will pay $12,500 to a Brevard County woman who has no children in school but received about 100 robocalls about school issues. Orlando Sentinel.

Principal charged, fired: Francis Marion Charter School fires Principal Mary Pinson after she was formally charged with grand theft of more than $20,000, a second-degree felony, from the school’s bank account. Ocala Star Banner.

Ex-principal reported: Lee County School Superintendent Greg Adkins says there were serious violations of school policies that prompted the district to report a former principal to the Bureau of Workers Compensation Fraud. Charles Dailey quit as principal of Dunbar Community School four days after a GED cheating scandal was discovered. Fort Myers News-Press.

No charge for student: No felony charge will be filed against an 11-year-old who hurt his teacher’s hand when he grabbed a love note that she had confiscated. Instead, he is placed in a youthful offenders program and could come out with a clean record in four months. Florida Times-Union.

Students’ hazing hearing: A delay in the hearing for two former West Florida High sophomores accused of hazing a football teammate on a school bus after a game Oct. 1 draws complaints. Pensacola News Journal.

Guns at school: A support staffer brings a gun to Frontier Elementary School in Largo, but the gun is confiscated before students arrive. The employee is receiving medical treatment. Tampa Bay Times.

Battle over art: Eight street artists who painted murals at Jose de Diego, a Wynwood middle school, are suing a pastor who used their work without permission to advertise his church. Miami Herald.

Wrong Madison: Worried parents in Madison County, Florida, call law enforcement over a social media threat to “shoot Madison up.” Deputies investigate and discover it was a threat directed at a school system in Michigan. WTXL.

Opinions on schools: The decision on how to use Florida’s assessment tests could result in flawed grades that do not represent a student’s true ability and could lead to a damaging school grade. Miami Herald. Maybe putting handcuffs on two second-graders for trying to steal a bike is needed to scare them straight. Gary Stein, Sun-Sentinel. Technology in the classroom is a blessing, but it can also be a burden. Eric Claire, TCPalm. Algebra is said to cause more dropouts than any other subject. Here are some ways to try to fix that. William Hanna, TCPalm. Testing of students to measure progress is necessary, but what we have now is overkill. Dan Kennedy, Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Student enrichment: Students at Woodland Elementary School in Wesley Chapel get hand’s-on experience operating drones. Tampa Bay Times. Selena Schulz, a 10-year-old student at Countryside Montessori Charter School in Land O’ Lakes, is the author of two books and founder of a group that raises money for animal charities. Tampa Tribune. Goldie Feldman Academy students donate heads of romaine lettuce grown at the school to feed animals at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

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BY NextSteps staff

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