How do you teach kids about ecology when the natural world is shrinking around them?

In fast growing Florida, one solution is to take environmental studies outside the walls of a classroom.

Middle School Students Take The Law Into Their Own Hands

May 17, 2016
Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

Brownsville Middle School students visiting the Police Academy recently got a stark warning from recruit Albert Hightower: “I have friends who’s dead; I have friends who’s in jail…Do not, do not let the environment you’re in right now dictate what you become,” Hightower said, drawing on his own experiences growing up near Brownsville, in Liberty City.

Mort Elementary School is one of Tampa’s lowest-performing elementary schools situated in one the most troubled neighborhoods in Hillsborough County.

In 25 years though, officials are hoping it will be a model of success.

To Get Kids To Breakfast, Schools Try Take-Out

May 6, 2016
Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

Walk into any classroom at Deerfield Beach Middle School and you won’t have trouble spotting the students who missed breakfast. “They’re the ones who are antsy during first and second period,” said Principal Francine Baugh, “waiting for lunch to begin.”

There are many qualities of a great teacher. Two big ones? Kindness and a willingess to make learning fun. At least that's what Marlem Diaz-Brown's fourth-graders say.

For our 50 Great Teachers project, we've searched all over for teachers like her. Which brought us to Sunset Elementary School in Miami ... and "Mrs. D-B."

Go Fund Me / Caitlin Walsh

What began as one principal’s decision to change a fundraising event from tackle to a flag football game has flared into a controversy over sexism and tradition entangling scores of frustrated students and parents, the Palm Beach County School Board and the Jupiter Town Council.

A School Field Trip, For Parents!

Apr 28, 2016
Sue Stocker/Sun Sentinel

Faced with the issue of low parent involvement, Plantation Elementary decided to turn the field trip on its head.


On Monday it was the parents who climbed on board a school bus while the students spent their day in class.


I spoke to the principal of the school, Judith Pitter, about where she got the idea for a parents-only field trip.



Where did you get the idea for a parents-only field trip?

Nicole Poulin

What should a school do when parents don’t want their kids to take a standardized test?  Public school students across Florida are in the midst of testing season, and state law says the tests are mandatory; there’s no formal mechanism to “opt out.” But plenty of Florida parents are instructing their children to do just that.

Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

Next year’s state budget boasts what Governor Scott has called record funding for K-12 education. After deep cuts spurred by the Recession, per-pupil spending, known as FEFP, or Florida Education Finance Program has indeed hit a new high—but not when you account for inflation.

For Working Parents, Spring Break Is No Vacation

Mar 28, 2016
Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN News

Both Wanda Gomez’s sons thought the warm weather made it clear where they needed to spend a balmy afternoon last week.“They said, today’s a pool day, but like, we cannot go to pool, because...I have to work,” Gomez says. Such is spring break for a working single mother.

Community Groups Demand Action On School Discipline Reform

Mar 18, 2016
Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

Churches and community groups from around the city gathered in North Miami Monday night to demand public officials do more to reform discipline practices in local schools.

Digesting The Presidential Debates...In AP Government Class

Mar 11, 2016

In the past, teacher Kevin Mullin always told students that a strong ground game wins elections. Enter Donald Trump, Mullin says, “And we’ve been talking a lot about brokered conventions, and about the role of superdelegates.” Mullin, who teaches AP government at MAST Academy, a science-focused magnet school on Key Biscayne, says this year’s primary has given real-world context to scenarios that his students usually learn only for the sake of the AP exam.

Allen Eyestone / Palm Beach Post


A man suspected of making bomb threats to two Palm Beach County high schools earlier this year was arrested in Georgia Tuesday. Palm Beach schools have already received more than twice as many violent threats this year as they did all of last school year.

Mike Stocker

About 21 minutes into the documentary “Sweet Dillard,” the camera captures a moment of high drama in the band room of Fort Lauderdale’s Dillard High School. Christopher Dorsey, the school’s music teacher, checks his cell phone and says calmly, “We’ve been invited back to Ellington.”

A cheer goes up from the kids in the band. Because “Ellington” is the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition, an annual high school jazz festival and competition that takes place at New York City’s Lincoln Center.