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Students create Hurricane Ian website, summer food programs, skilled trades for grads and more

Miami-Dade: More than 20,000 new immigrant students have enrolled in Miami-Dade County public schools this year. Officials say it’s a historic increase that’s helping the school district grow for the first time in two decades. NPR. Meanwhile, a long-time teacher in Miami is retiring after 40 years on the job. Aldin Everette has been at Miami Edison Senior High since 1983. WPLG.

Duval: The school district here had more A-graded schools and better funding in place when Diana Greene’s five-year tenure as superintendent ended on Friday. In addition, it had fewer students in traditional schools and fewer whom state-mandated testing considered proficient in subjects like English, math and science. Greene’s replacement will have to weigh those facts in addition to goals from a Duval County School Board strategic plan and new material that includes an ongoing legal review of claims about teacher misconduct. The Florida Times-Union. Some are debating the right way to pronounce the name of Ribault High in Jacksonville. Some say “Ree-balt,” while others think it’s “Ree-beau.” News 4 Jax.

Volusia: As most high-schoolers prepare for a four-year college education, a number of them are trying their hand at old and new skilled trades that are in demand. In Volusia County, Pine Ridge High School has opened its doors to multiple skilled trade options that could lead to six-figure salaries in specific trades. WKMG.

Food support: Local school districts in the bay area are ensuring kids don’t go hungry by offering free breakfast and lunch through the Summer Food Service Program for Children. Officials say between 3,000 and 4,000 meals will be prepared daily throughout the summer. “When school is out, kids are still hungry, so this program allows us to provide nutritious breakfast and lunch to any child 18 and under throughout the whole county,” said Shani Hall, general manager for student nutrition services in Hillsborough. ABC Action News.

Overdose policies: Naloxone is a medication that rapidly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Across the country, schools are working to stock up as the opioid crisis takes a fatal toll on students. According to 2022 study from the Journal of the American Medical Association, adolescent overdose deaths jumped from 492 in 2019 to 1,146 in 2021. Fox 4.

Union dues: Central Florida unions are getting creative when it comes to collecting members dues after a law passed making it illegal to deduct these fees from a person’s paycheck. Ron Pollard, local president of the Orange Education Support Professionals Association, says without dues, unions die. Pollard is assisting teachers and support staff sign up for an alternative payment platform called e-dues through the Florida Education Association. Under the new law, 60% of all professionals represented by a union must be enrolled in that union in order for it to operate in Florida. WMFE.

Public schools poll: A new NPR/Ipsos poll dives into the battles that have been playing out in America’s public schools this year. WBUR.

University and college news: Students at Florida Gulf Coast University created a Hurricane Ian aftermath website as their capstone project. Ten students were tasked with writing roughly six stories each, putting together audio projects, videos, and capturing photos for the website students created, Hurricane Ian made landfall in 2022 in Cayo Costa, a small barrier island west of Fort Myers, as a Category 4 hurricane. Eight months later, the region is still rebuilding. “I’m just really proud of them. They did a lot of good work,” said Professor Judd Cribbs said. “I hope that gives them a taste of what the professional world of journalism is gonna be like if they get into it.” Ft. Myers News-Press.

Opinions on schools: The window of opportunity for school choice is still open, but it’s uncertain for how long. Rick Hess advises advocates on various ways they can take advantage, which include focusing on how school choice solves problems for parents and paying attention to details of how choice policies work for families and educators, explaining how choice policies better serve the public interest and ensuring that choice policies serve all families. Lindsey M. Burke and Jason Bedrick, reimaginED. Young minds need to learn how to think, not what. Teach history, yes. But forcing things — agenda-bending, ideological service and the like — only add another murky veil to already complex material. Let them find the answers. Even middle schoolers do that. Bruce Anderson, The Ledger.  Not only will more schools jack up their prices now that they know they can bill taxpayers for hefty chunks, more private schools will set up shop to cash in. Especially because in Florida, it’s easy to open a school regardless of whether you’re qualified to run one. Fiscal watchdogs and voucher critics predicted this cash grab would occur — that schools would raise tuition, pricing out some of the very families that voucher advocates claimed they were trying to help. Scott Maxwell, Orlando Sentinel. Language matters when it comes to talking about student learning, achievement and accountability. The United States need a K-12 accountability system that focuses on justice, not deficits. Jennifer Randall, The 74th.

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BY Camille Knox