education

Florida Statewide Student Testing Called Valid

Sep 1, 2015
Florida Department of Education / Flickr

 

A review of Florida's new statewide test has found the exam is valid and the results can be used to judge teacher and school performance, the Florida Department of Education announced.

But the review also found that after problems with computerized testing, "scores for some students will be suspect." The reviewers recommend that state test scores not be the sole basis to determine whether students graduate or if they are placed in remedial courses.

Robin Sussingham / StateImpact Florida

At last count, during the 2013-2014 school year, the number of homeless students had risen to more than 71,000 in Florida's public schools. For many of these children, a brand-new school uniform may be out of reach, though school officials say it makes a big impact on their attitude. One longtime charity in Lakeland is quietly helping to fill that need.

The new school year starts up soon and teachers are already preparing. A beginning teacher boot camp at Saint Leo University on Friday brought together 20 recent graduates who will take over a classroom this year. The idea is to give the new teachers a final low-down before students sit at their desks ready to learn. 

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

For the first time in decades, the majority of U.S. school children come from low-income families.

Florida has one of the highest rates in the country -- federal data shows just seven states have a higher percentage of low-income students.

stevendepolo / Flickr

Palm Beach County teachers soon could be able to stock their classrooms for free.

The Education Foundation of Palm Beach County says it hopes to open a school supply store in the spring for teachers working in Palm Beach County's poorest schools.

Christina Lambert with the foundation says teachers will be able to visit the store often.

“We hope that we’re able to provide an opportunity for these teachers to shop monthly," she says, "and to get about $200 worth of supplies each time they shop.”

Georgia Guercio / Wikipedia

The former head of the Broward Teacher’s Union is facing new criminal charges.

Pat Santeramo has been charged with mail fraud for misappropriating more than $35,000.

Investigators say Santeramo took money intended for teacher training, speakers or special projects and instead paid himself and another union employee.

He could serve up to 20 years in prison for each of the two charges.

His attorney says Santeramo will fight the charges.

It's just the latest criminal charges for the former union boss.

Miami Herald

Florida House members were so impressed by testimony about school uniforms earlier this year -- convenience, improved safety and better discipline -- that they offered up $10 million to districts requiring uniforms.

The Miami-Dade school board likes the idea too. They required uniforms for elementary and middle schools.

Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho says that’s easy money.

New Database Will Track Who Runs Charter Schools

Aug 4, 2015
comedynose / Flickr

Florida school districts will have a new way to track the financial and academic records of charter school operators.

For the first time, a new database is connecting charter schools to who runs them. The goal is to reduce the number of charter schools that close.

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers wants to create a paper trail. The group has launched a database that lists who is operating a school and includes performance data from the website GreatSchools.org.

Miami-Dade Adding Healthier Choices To School Menus

Aug 3, 2015
John O'Connor / WLRN

Miami-Dade school meals are going lean and green this school year -- with more veggies and heathier, low-calorie choices.

The district is adding smoothies made with Naked brand juices, greek yogurt and vegetarian lasagna.

But at an event Monday unveiling the new dishes, the district was most proud of its version of a Miami classic.

The “guavalito” is a whole grain, lower-sugar version of a guava and cheese pastelito, made by a local baker.

Students who are considered homeless by Florida schools can be living in hotels, trailer parks, in campgrounds or doubled up with friends or relatives. And with as many as 71,000 or more homeless students in the state the challenges can extend beyond the kids and families to include the schools.

For most kids school is a place of achievement and learning, or just a place to socialize with friends. But for kids without stable living arrangements it can mean much more than that.

Marsha Halper / Miami Herald Staff

This weekend the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Coconut Grove will be hosting its last Scientist Sunday at its current location before moving to its new home in downtown Miami next year.

The events are held on the first Sunday of each month and feature scientists who are doing research in the community through the museum's Science Communication Fellows Program.

U.S. Department of Education / Flickr
Judi Durand / National Urban League

Besides bringing presidential candidates to South Florida, this week’s National Urban League Conference in Fort Lauderdale is also bringing a variety of programs that could benefit South Florida’s residents.

One of these initiatives is the National Urban League’s Youth Leadership Summit. 

This annual summit will bring together nearly 600 youth leaders from around the country at Nova Southeastern University. 

Sattva / freedigitalphotos.net

Miami-Dade County Public Schools plan to eliminate out-of-school suspensions this year, preferring to keep kids in class and address behavior problems.

School districts around the country have made similar decisions because research and experience shows suspended students often find more trouble outside of school while on suspension. That can mean more neighborhood crime – and more suspended students getting arrested and charged.

The Schultz Center

At one point, the Schultz Center had state funding and a big, multi-million dollar contract with Duval County schools to help teachers improve their craft.

The Schultz Center has trained thousands of teachers since it was founded in Jacksonville in 1997. But when state revenues declined, the Schultz Center funding was cut.

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