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Ian pounds SW Florida and exiting today, Miami-Dade district now 3rd in US, and more

Ian cutting through state: Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon near Fort Myers, is now moving north-northeast through the middle of the state and is expected to exit Florida today near Daytona Beach on its way to a possible second landfall near the Georgia-South Carolina border on Friday. Most of the Florida’s 67 school districts and about 35 colleges and universities remain closed through today, and only a few of them will hold classes Friday. Damage assessments of schools, homes and businesses will begin today in many areas affected Wednesday. Gov. Ron DeSantis said the recovery could take weeks. State residents are being urged to follow local weather reports until the storm has passed and check the Twitter ( and Instagram ( accounts of the Florida Department of Education for information. News Service of Florida. Associated PressPolitico Florida. USA Today Florida Network. Orlando Sentinel. Sun-Sentinel. Palm Beach Post. Miami Herald. WLRN. WSVN. Fort Myers News-Press. Naples Daily News. WINK. Tampa Bay Times. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida Times-Union. WJAX. WTLV. Flagler Live. Orlando Sentinel. WOFL. WESH. Lakeland Now. Bradenton Herald. WTVT. Tallahassee Democrat. WTXL. WCTV. Mainstreet Daily News. Ocala Star-Banner. Florida Keys Weekly. Weather Tiger. A mental health expert gives parents some tips on how to talk to their children about the storm. Tampa Bay Times.

Around the state: While most Florida school districts are focused on the storm, there are a few other education-related stories around the state and some nationally that could have a impact locally.

Miami-Dade: Miami-Dade is now the third-largest school district in the countrty, after a head count this week showed Chicago dropping to fourth. Miami-Dade has 324,961, while Chicago dropped by 9,000 students this year and now has 322,106. New York City is first with 950,000 students, and Los Angeles second with 430,000. Chalkbeat. The school district’s suspension of the use of “student success centers” is being applauded by school board chair Steve Gallon, who has raised concerns in the past about the sites not providing appropriate instruction or behavioral interventions. The centers, which focused on alternatives to suspensions from school, were strongly criticized by the statewide grand jury investigating the Parkland school shooting and safety in schools, prompting Superintendent Jose Dotres to end their use. WLRN. Janet McAliley, a member of the school board for 16 years who was instrumental in dramatically reducing the use of corporal punishment in the district, died Sept. 23 of natural causes at the age of 88. She was also a noted civil rights activist, advocate for gay rights and was on the board of Americans for Immigrant Justice legal services association. Miami Herald.

Hillsborough: After-school programs run by the county Boys & Girls Club have just been started at three more elementary schools. The addition of programs at Just Elementary, DeSoto Elementary and Excelsior Prep Charter School brings the total number in the county to 25. WTVT.

Duval: A former teacher at Mayport Elementary School in Jacksonville was sentenced Wednesday to seven years and three months in prison for distributing child sexual abuse videos over the Internet. Thomas Lester Hazouri Jr., 42, the son of the former mayor of Jacksonville, was arrested in August 2020 on 25 counts of possession of child pornography and pleaded guilty to a federal charge a year later. Florida Times-Union. WJXT.

Volusia: The 30 metal detectors being purchased by the school district will most likely be used for security only at extracurricular events instead of in the county’s 10 public high schools on a daily basis, school board chair Ruben Colon said this week after the $90,000 purchase was approved. “At this time, there is no plan to have this during the regular school day. I want to be very clear of that,” he said. “We’ve had no discussion about metal detectors during the regular school day.” This will be the first time metal detectors have been used in the district. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Around the nation: The federal rules required to qualify for funds to start a charter school were eased several months ago when critics called them onerous. But now those critics are calling for further changes because they contend the tightened qualification criteria is counter to the intent of the law to increase the number of high-quality charter schools. The 74.

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BY NextSteps staff