StateImpact Florida


Nancy Gavrish has taught for 36 years, art for the most part, to students at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne.

But lessons that worked for Gavrish at the beginning of her career weren't as effective later.

"I realized for years that I was not able to keep students’ attention like I used to," she said, "that demonstrations just weren’t doing it anymore."


Florida students could choose computer programming courses instead of a foreign language as part of a bill to help Florida schools add more technology and digital instruction.

The bill would require state colleges to accept two years of computer programming if the courses applied to a student's major. State universities would have the option of accepting those courses instead of a foreign language.

John O'Connor

Florida schools could get more money to upgrade classrooms, purchase new computers, tablets and other technology and train teachers and staff how to use them.

But they'll have to meet new goals set by the Florida Department of Education, submit annual technology plans and document how they're spending the money.

That's according to a bill supported by House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate Education committee chairman John Legg. The two Tampa Bay-area Republicans introduced the bill Friday.

Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

Former Gov. Jeb Bush visited classrooms, observed students using their iPads, and took questions from a debate class at a high school in Hialeah this week.

His tour of the Latin Builders Association Construction & Business Management Academy high school — which is the first charter opened with a business association — was part of National School Choice Week.

Bush wrapped up the tour in the debate class by answering questions from journalists so the students could see how a press conference works.


The chairman of the Senate's education committee said Gov. Rick Scott and lawmakers want to spend at least $40 million, and likely more, to upgrade schools' Internet capacity and add new computers, tablets and other digital tools.

Sen. John Legg, R-Port Richey, said education technology is a priority for Scott and both Republican and Democratic legislative leaders.

Legg said $40 million in Scott's proposed budget is a starting point.

Sattva /

In many schools, zero-tolerance discipline policies dictate harsh punishment — expulsion, suspension and arrest — for breaking rules.

But, as StateImpact Florida has been reporting, some districts are reconsidering zero tolerance after concerns about a rise in the number of children arrested on campus.

Florida Department of Education /

Florida’s A-through-F system for school grades has been fraught with controversy.

Supporters say the system is a way of holding schools and districts accountable. Critics worry the formula to calculate the grades doesn’t reflect how well schools really prepare children.

Now one school in Miami-Dade County has been told it probably won’t get the A it says it earned.

StateImpact Florida’s Sammy Mack spoke with the Miami Herald’s David Smiley about why Miami Jackson Senior High doesn’t want to accept a B:


John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Earlier this week we told you about a bill that would create a pilot program for single-sex elementary schools. Now, we asked Karen French, the principal of all-girls Ferrell Preparatory Academy, a public middle school in Tampa, about the differences in single-sex and traditional schools.

Q: I assume you’ve taught at both coed and single-sex schools. Is that right?

Gina Jordan/StateImpact Florida

A handful of public schools in Florida have either all-girls or all-boys classrooms. More could be coming.

Rep. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, is behind a bill that would have one school in districts throughout the state offer only single-sex classes. The proposed legislation would create a pilot project in designated districts for two years.

Sammy Mack

Nathan B. Forrest High — the Jacksonville school named for the Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader — has a new name.

The Duval County School Board voted to rename school #241 on Tuesday. Starting in the fall it will be Westside Senior High.

From the moment it was named in 1959, there’s been controversy over Forrest High, home of the Rebels.

In 2008 the school board elected not to rename the majority African-American school.  The votes fell along color lines.