Next steps logo

Charity for students finds new home, art institutes close, artificial intelligence taught and more

Around the state: Some state school districts are teaching kids about artificial intelligence, a Pasco charity for students was displaced but found a new home, The Art Institute is closing its doors, club controversy continues in Alachua and Black history is being taught by community groups and churches. Here are details about those stories and other developments from the state’s districts, private schools, and colleges and universities:

Pasco: A Pasco charity that helps students look their best for school dances was displaced, with its founder worried she wouldn’t be able to open in time for fall homecoming. Thanks to help from local businesses, Marjorie’s Hope is again providing formal wear to teens. Debi Shackowsky founded the charity almost a decade ago in honor of her late sister, Marjorie, who was killed by a drunk driver in 1994. “When you see students stand before that mirror in their dress or the guys in their suits, it’s an ‘ah ha’ moment and there’s so many happy tears,” Shackowsky said. BayNews 9.

Flagler: The school board recently approved an audit of the Flagler Youth Orchestra, which reviewed all incoming and outgoing financial activity for fiscal years 2020-2022. The review was ordered by the board after questions arose about the fact that the orchestra had not been audited in its 18 years of existence. School board member Will Furry said that conducting this audit has “further strengthened” the strings program. The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Alachua: School district officials here may soon have another legal issue to address after the creation of a controversial club called G.A.I.N. at Gainesville High that may have violated state and federal laws. In this instance, the argument involves the removal of an appeal letter that should have been added to the School Board’s Sept. 19 agenda. The Gainesville Sun. Meanwhile, the Alachua Learning Academy was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a national Blue Ribbon Award of Education recipient. The public charter school is one of 353 schools recognized for 2023, and it is one of 14 schools in Florida and the only Alachua County public school to receive this recognition. The Gainesville Sun.

Art institutes close: Campuses for The Art Institute announced they would be closing campuses across the country. Some students say they received an email last week informing them about the closure. By Sept. 30, all eight of The Art Institutes remaining campuses will be closed. The Tampa campus had around 200 students with several dozen faculties. The school’s website says it will help students coordinate transfers to other schools, and make sure credits already earned are accepted. “I was literally just walking into school to go study when I found out about it,” said student Tony Audrey. NBC Miami. KHOU. Fox 13.

Artificial intelligence: Some school districts in the state are teaching students about artificial intelligence. One of them is Volusia County as part of a partnership University of Florida is spearheading with high schools to educate youth on the skills required for an AI-enabled workforce. The curriculum starts by teaching students how to identify and locate AI, learn how it can be applied across various fields and how to build AI applications. The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Black history: Community groups and churches statewide are throwing themselves into efforts to teach Black history after state officials moved to reject AP African American Studies. Residents are uniting in churches, parks and homes to learn the history of Black Americans, including drawing material from books that have been removed from the shelves of schools. The Hill.

Attorney advice: Attorneys tasked with advising school boards and superintendents on subjects such as library book selection are also puzzled, according to email chains showing school board lawyers struggling to determine what could get districts in trouble. Miami Herald.

Student-athletes: Advancements are being made to keep student-athletes safe from concussions. ABC Action News.

Protected speech: An injunction filing argues that Florida’s new law gags protected speech on college campuses. WWSB.

University and college news: Tenured faculty at the University of North Florida must undergo performance reviews every five years after the state Board of Trustees implemented a new state law. Trustees had to approve changes by Oct. 16 or face penalties. Union president Tobias Huning was the first to speak at the trustees meeting recently. “We find that the policy proposed here today is probably the most hostile and vile attack on faculty that many of us have seen in our entire careers,” he told the trustees. “And when we read the justifications for why this is happening and how it is happening, it really reminded me of why we have tenure in the first place — to protect ourselves from exactly that.” Jacksonville Today.

Opinions on schools: The nation’s economic security will be won or lost based on the ability of elementary schools to energize science education. Jeanne McCarty, The 74th.

Avatar photo

BY Camille Knox