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Combating summer slide, bus drivers needed, a youth orchestra audit and more

Miami-Dade: A Black student who recently graduated from MAST Academy in Key Biscayne has accused two faculty members of discrimination and filed a complaint with Miami-Dade Public Schools. In the complaint, Aniyah Upshaw claimed a teacher and assistant principal allegedly used racially discriminating comments toward her during separate incidents. The school district has confirmed receipt of the complaint and is investigating. South Florida Times.

Broward: A brawl that occurred recently between two Dillard High teachers was caught on camera. Now, the Broward County School district says an investigation has been opened into the fight. Fort Lauderdale police say no charges were filed because no one wanted to prosecute. Miami Herald. The prosecutors who oversaw a grand jury review that led to the removal of Broward School Board members are once again investigating the school. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Meanwhile, officials are tightening the rules on secret meetings. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 

Palm Beach: This district’s finance officer said that the district will spend $469 million over the next decade on construction projects at charter schools. Meanwhile, officials expect voucher use to double to about 16,398 students next year since income caps were removed by state law. Palm Beach Post.

Hillsborough: The school district here has designated $34 million to fight summer learning loss, also known as summer slide. The district is offering reading programs, summer learning academies, tutors and summer schools, among other options. “We have learning opportunities for our students, from elementary, middle, and high school,” said Hillsborough County School District Superintendent Addison Davis. ABC Action News.

Polk: The Polk County Public Schools’ annual LBGTQ Pride Month proclamation, which is issued each June, was put on hold this year as Superintendent Frederick Heid seeks guidance regarding the creation of an “equitable and consistent” process for proclamation. Members of the public request proclamations, which are routinely issued at School Board meetings each month. lkldnow.

Collier: No decision was made late last week during the hearing of Naples grocer Alfie Oakes’ lawsuit against the Collier County School Board. Oakes claims the school board and its search firm violated the Sunshine Law in its superintendent search. Naples Daily News.

Flagler: Wadsworth Elementary Principal Paul Peacock was relieved from his post. He had been on paid administrative leave since early May and barred from accessing any Flagler County school campuses. He was under investigation by a law firm the school hired following complaints filed by employees about Peacock. Flagler Live. Meanwhile, the school district is auditing the Flagler Youth Orchestra’s account after a decades-long “oversight.” A four-year transactional audit of the account is already in motion and expected to be done between the end of June and the start of July, officials said.  The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Black history: A two-day summer seminar aimed at helping teachers infuse Black history material into everyday classes was postponed. The move has upset long-standing members of the state’s African American History task force. The decision to postpone the annual summer institute, which is a virtual teacher training event where more than 300 people registered to attend, came at a task force meeting.  Tampa Bay Times. Orlando Sentinel. 

Artificial intelligence: As artificial intelligence becomes a high-profile topic in higher education, state universities are holding discussions about how to harness the power of  the technology. WUFT.

Principals meeting: A group of principals who have dealt with school shooting tragedies on their campuses met with leaders in Washington, D.C., this week to push for more communication and legislation to protect students and staff members, in addition to addressing mental health issues. The Principal Recovery Network is a group of former and current school leaders who have experienced gun violence at their schools. WPTV.

Summer hunger: Summer is the hungriest time of the year for central Florida kids. Officials from Second Harvest Food Bank said one if five central Florida kids is at risk of going hungry. WMFE.

Bus driver shortage: There are more than 200 open bus driver positions that need to be filled across Central Florida before the school year begins. Brevard County, for example, needs 30 bus drivers. Orange needs 100, Volusia is hiring for 35 and Seminole is hiring 40 drivers. “We’ve got upwards of 300 buses on the road,” said Kevin Christian of Marion County Schools. “So that’s 300 drivers every day. And any given day, probably 10% are out for sickness or for other reasons. So that’s 30 drivers right there that we need on a moment’s notice.” Christian said drivers start at $18.65 per hour, with six hours guaranteed daily. WMFE.

Social media label: U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy voiced support for adding a warning on social media platforms regarding the danger they pose to children, similar to warnings on cigarette labels. The 74th.

University and college news: A lab at USF will be the first in the state to create a human trafficking database. The hope from researchers is to understand trafficking trends. A bill recently signed into law aims to create the lab in downtown St. Petersburg. The lab, called the  USF Trafficking in Persons (TiP) Risk to Resilience Lab, will collect and analyze data statewide. Tampa Bay Times. Meanwhile, USF announced on Friday it would name its Center for Entrepreneurship after alumnus James “Jay” Nault, who donated $10 million to the school. Nault donated to “assist with the goal of creating a living learning community and support potential new degree options for executives,” a news release said. Tampa Bay Times. Jacksonville University’s law school is entering its second year with the creation of a multimillion-dollar endowment from a Jacksonville investment firm’s founder.  Water Street Capital principal Gilchrist Berg endowed the Randall C. Berg Jr. College of Law Dean’s post in honor of his late brother, an attorney. The Florida Times-Union.

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BY Camille Knox