School grades released statewide, gender disparities in enrollment, aid survey and more

Around the state:  School grades were released across the state, gender disparities vary across colleges and universities, teachers must get permission from principals to use certain material and parents in Duval are encouraged to fill out a crucial survey. Here are details about those stories and other developments from the state’s districts, private schools, and colleges and universities:

Palm Beach: A bicycling event honored a local man who was a pioneer in the education world.  Dr. Joaquin Garcia was honored on Sunday for his contributions to local schools in this county. La Vuelta Palm Beach 2023 was a community event with the first long-distance bike ride to benefit the school named in the late Garcia’s honor, which opened this fall. Dozens participated in the event. WPTV. Meanwhile, voters in Palm Beach may be asked to again raise the sales tax in order pay for construction projects at public schools. State requirements for the school district to share money with charter schools and the higher cost of construction has caused a $600 million shortfall in its capital budget of the next 10 years. Palm Beach Post.

Hillsborough: In Brandon, Black and brown students learned hair care through Curls for Queens, a Tallahassee-based hair care organization. Tampa Bay Times.

Duval: To secure federal funding for schools, the school system here is calling on all parents with children enrolled to actively participate in the 2023 Federal Impact Aid Survey. The survey can significantly contribute to funding for educational materials, textbooks and staff support. Parents are strongly encouraged to participate before the deadline, which is Dec. 20. CBS 47.  Meanwhile, a new center in Jacksonville will expand the clinical capacity for the diagnostic evaluation, management and treatment of children and adults with neurodevelopmental disorders. It is among 10 new projects that are receiving strategic funding at the University of Florida, according to President Ben Sasse. Linda R. Edwards, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine in Jacksonville, is optimistic that the Precision Autism Center of Excellence will have a significant effect on healthcare outcomes. “We are thrilled to be receiving this opportunity to provide additional support to individuals with autism,” Edwards said. “CBS 47.  Yahoo News.

Brevard: In the past, if a teacher saw a chance to step outside the textbook and use a video, poem, art project or word problem in a math class to help students better grasp a concept, they were free to do that. Now, due to HB 1069, which places responsibility of overseeing instructional material on principals, they must get permission before using “supplemental material.” The process can take weeks and the consequences could be dire, with one elementary school principal writing to her teachers in an email that if they did not request approval of the use of items like worksheets, websites or coloring pages that were not part of district adopted curriculum, they could face monetary fines, fail time or forfeiture of their teaching certificate and loss of their jobs. The inability to be flexible with lessons through the use of supplemental materials is having a profound impact on students and teachers, said Adam Tritt, an advanced placement English teacher at Bayside High School. “Any time a teachable moment comes up, which I could cover with a poem or an article or a short video, I actually have to get the permission, fill out a form and get permission through the principal, which means it has destroyed the teachable moment,” Tritt said. Florida Today.

Sarasota: Attention surrounding Bridget Ziegler’s life is the basis of mounting pressure for her to quit her public life with the school board. ABC Action News.

School grades: Long-awaited school grades arrived on Monday for Florida’s schools. Results from the state Department of Education showed that the Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Pinellas school districts earned B grades overall. Pinellas Superintendent Kevin Hendrick pointed to “tremendous” results at various campuses, including Tyrone Middle, the district’s only F-rated school last year. Tyrone rose to C, one of 10 middle schools to improve their grades. “These school grades serve as a baseline for districts and provide a starting point for future achievement,” state education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. said in a statement. Tampa Bay Times. In Alachua County, schools received a B grade. Main Street Daily News. In Miami-Dade, A grades were received. CBS Miami.

Colleges and universities: A cohort for LGBTQ students at the University of South Florida that is part of the school’s “living and learning communities” celebrated five years since its creation. “The only agenda that we have here is to love each other, to respect each other, and make friends,” said Trikkha, a psychology major. WUSF. Across most college campuses in the United States, one fact has been consistent for decades: Female students outnumber male ones. The gender disparity is not the same at all Florida campuses, with the gap varying from school to school. Palm Beach Post.

Opinions on schools: The Florida Education Association estimates that there are over 5,000 teacher vacancies in Florida’s public schools, which represents a critical shortage. Arthur Harley, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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BY Camille Knox