8:00 am
Mon July 21, 2014

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: Two Siblings, Two Schools, Two Stories

Lolita and Lou Brown
Credit StoryCorps

Lou and Lolita Brown are brother and sister, born about eight years apart - just a big enough separation to give them very different life experiences.

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StateImpact Florida
6:58 am
Mon July 21, 2014

What We Learned This Year Watching Schools Prepare For Florida’s New Standards

Darlene Paul, principal of West Defuniak Elementary, speaks to a student during a visit to a third-grade classroom. Paul says she has been impressed with the academic success of young students who have been taught only using the new Florida Standards.
Credit Jackie Mader / The Hechinger Report

For the past year The Hechinger Report and StateImpact Florida have taken you into two schools to hear what preparations for Florida’s new Common Core-based standards sound like. The standards outline what students should know in math and language arts. When classes start this fall every grade in every Florida public school will use them. But are schools ready?

The Hechinger Report’s Jackie Mader and StateImpact Florida’s John O’Connor tell us what they’ve learned.

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2:12 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Florida Teachers Challenge Voucher Expansion

A Lee County social studies teacher and the state's main teachers union are filing a lawsuit to block a significant expansion of a private school voucher program.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in a Leon County circuit court contends that state legislators violated a requirement that bills cover only one subject. The Republican-controlled Legislature attached the voucher expansion to an unrelated bill on the final day of the 2014 session. They took that step because a stand-alone bill failed to get enough votes.

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5:35 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Florida Students Talk About The State's Race-Based Education Standards

Credit Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

Students and civil rights activists are still asking Florida to hold black and Hispanic students to a higher standard.

It’s been a little more than a year since the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County filed a federal civil rights complaint against the state’s race-based academic goals.

There have since been a number of protests by activists who oppose lower expectations for minorities.

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5:06 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

New State Scholarship Program Aimed At Keeping Top Scholars At Florida Schools

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 1:13 pm

Florida’s top high school graduates are getting a new financial incentive to go to Florida universities.

Tucked away in the state budget is a program aimed at rewarding Florida students designated as National Merit scholars, called the Florida National Merit Scholarship Initiative.

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3:37 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Former Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett Reaches Ethics Deal

Former Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett
Credit Gina Jordan/StateImpact Florida

Former Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett will pay a $5,000 fine as part of a proposed deal with Indiana ethics investigators, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by the Associated Press.

Bennett admits using state resources for his 2012 reelection campaign. But Bennett was also cleared of any ethics violations related to changes he sought to Indiana’s school grading formula in 2012.

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3:49 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Animal Cruelty Training Held For Law Enforcement Officers


An organization that advocates animal rights is hosting a free training today for Tampa area law enforcement on animal cruelty and staged animal fights investigations.

"This training is providing local enforcement the tools to identify and to prevent animal cruelty," said Kate McFall, Florida State Director of The Humane Society of the United States.

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StateImpact Florida
7:25 am
Mon July 7, 2014

How A Federal Program Will Help Florida Schools Go Wireless

To handle new online testing and high-tech lessons, many school district are using mobile carts equipped with Wi-Fi hotspots. This one is loaded with iPads.
Credit Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Curtis Lanoue teaches music in a trailer behind Oliver Hoover Elementary School in Miami. His colleagues have interactive smart boards in their classrooms.

Those are like 21st-Century chalk boards that can can plug into the school’s network — and the Internet.

But Lanoue doesn’t have a smartboard — or the Internet — in his portable classroom.

“YouTube might not be the greatest thing to let a kid use unattended,” he said, “but for the teacher to use it there’s a ton of resources on there.

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StateImpact Florida
2:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

How Better Supervision Might Mean Better Principals In Broward County

Shawn Cerra, principal of J.P. Taravela High School in Coral Springs, with the school's guidance director, Jody Gaver in 2012.
Credit Sarah Gonzalez / StateImpact Florida

A national foundation thinks school principals have more to learn.

The Wallace Foundation believes that the people who supervise principals spend too much time making sure they follow rules and procedures -- and not enough time mentoring them.

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StateImpact Florida
4:55 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Summer Boot Camp Might Solve A Ninth Grade Algebra Problem

Dywayne Hinds, Pinellas County schools director of middle school education, is helping target incoming ninth graders for a summer Algebra 1 boot camp.
Credit John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

About half of Florida ninth graders failed the state's Algebra 1 exam on their first attempt last year.

The class -- and passing the exam -- are a high school graduation requirement.

We'll find out today if those numbers improved when the Florida Department of Education releases this year's end-of-course results.

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2:31 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Scott's Pick for Sarasota School Board Seat Stirs Cries of Politics

Lead in text: 
By picking Bridget Ziegler, an insurance agent married to a Republican state committeeman, to fill a vacant board seat, Scott bypassed two other GOP prospects who have, taken together, spent more than 50 years in education. Ziegler, 31, attended two community colleges and Florida International University, but never obtained a degree at any of the three.
The Sarasota Democratic Party chairwoman, Rita Ferrandino, said it's one thing to play politics with airport boards and water district panels, but an entirely different matter to inject such overt poligamesmanship into one of the state's best-performing school districts. "The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach," she said.
8:39 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

FSU to Hire New Consultant as Presidential Search Resets

A new search firm will be brought in to help Florida State University find its next president, as students and faculty clamor for more say in the muddled process.

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5:27 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Evan Longoria Shakes Up Story Time in Seminole Heights

Rays infielder Evan Longoria combined books and baseball to kick off Reading with the Rays.

Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria went from infielder to storyteller this morning at the Seminole Heights Branch Library to kick off the seventh season of Reading With the Rays.  With a crowd of young readers gathered around, Longoria led story time and gave out Rays gear, including an Evan Longoria arm sleeve.

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5:58 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Immigrant Tuition Bill Signed Amid Political Sparring

The bill had already been passed by the Florida Legislature

With Hispanic voters likely to play a key role in the 2014 elections, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Monday allowing some undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at Florida's public colleges and universities.

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11:05 am
Mon June 9, 2014

How An Arts Program Is Changing A School's Culture

Leslie Augustin, 13, an eighth-grade student in the guitar class, gets individual attention from Jonathan De Leon, founder of the guitar program at the school
Credit Daniel Bock / Miami Herald

When Jonathan De Leon left his home state of New Jersey to teach at North Miami Middle School in 2007, he immediately saw possibility — both in the school and the students.

A post-graduate teaching job in an affluent neighborhood in Philadelphia quickly convinced De Leon that North Miami Middle — persistently a low-achieving school, according to the Education Transformation Office, an arm of Miami-Dade Schools that supports targeted schools — was the place he could make a significant impact.

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