Florida roundup: School grades, reading, elections and more

florida-roundup-logoSchool grades. For Florida’s public schools, fewer A’s, but also fewer F’s. Three of five academically struggling schools highlighted by a Pulitzer-prize-winning investigative series improve their letter grades. Tampa Bay Times. Four charter schools face closure for earning multiple F’s. redefinED. Parents are rallying around a South St. Petersburg charter school that could soon be shuttered after earning its third consecutive F. Tampa Bay Times. Affluent St. Johns County is one of three districts that keep their A grades. St. Augustine Record. More coverage from the Tampa Bay Times, Gradebook, Tallahassee Democrat, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Orlando SentinelFlorida TodayPanama City News HeraldDaytona Beach News-JournalGainesville SunTC PalmNaples Daily NewsLakeland LedgerPensacola News-Journal, WPTV, Bay News 9.

Low performers. The state also released a list of schools with the lowest student proficiency in reading. Gradebook.

Private schools. A former Polk County public-school teacher, who quit the district in frustration, decides to launch a private elementary school. Lakeland Ledger. A private school for special needs students moves to a new location. Florida Today.

Bonuses. The Florida Department of Education says it lacks legal authority to set further guidelines around “Best and Brightest” awards. Gradebook.

Arts. Duval schools offer art classes to more students. Florida Times-Union. A museum offers unconventional art lessons to South Florida youth. Miami Herald.

Diversity. Do Indian River schools hire enough black and Hispanic teachers? TC Palm.

STEM. Wanted: A high school science teacher in Bay County. Bridge to Tomorrow.

Elections. A Hillsborough school board candidate calls himself “the enforcer” and has a flair for fiery rhetoric. Tampa Bay Times.

Administration. A principal gets reassigned and an assistant principal remains under investigation from the same Hillsborough school, but details remain scarce. Tampa Bay Times.

Back to school. A supplies drive picks up in Lake County. Leesburg Daily Commercial.

Smoke free.  The Pasco school district bulldozes a “smoke shack” on a high school campus as it moves to become a tobacco-free workplace. Tampa Bay Times.

Cellphones. Orange County public schools ban them from high school classes. Orlando Sentinel.

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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) sufs.org.