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The Florida Department of Education is investigating the Sarasota County School District after a state judge found the district placed a number of children into programs reserved specifically for students with severe cognitive disabilities.

Booker Middle School students and creative writing teacher Joanna Fox, at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the school's updated Dragonfly Cafe.
Cathy Carter

In a courtyard gazebo at Booker Middle School in Sarasota, dozens of kids with berets on are eating cake. Parents and assorted family members mingle with school staff as creative writing teacher Joanna Fox arrives, brandishing a giant pair of scissors. A ribbon is stretched across her classroom door.

Sarasota County School Board Member Bridget Ziegler at a meeting Tuesday night
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF

The Sarasota County School Board has approved a deal for some University of South Florida college courses to be offered at local high schools.

Sergeant Steve Kim of the Sarasota County Schools Police Department with students at Bay Haven School of Basics Plus.
Sarasota County Schools

Within weeks of the mass school shooting in Parkland, the Florida Legislature passed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. The law requires a police officer or sworn school guardian be present on all public school campuses.

Sarasota High School / Sarasota County Schools

The Sarasota County School Board has voted to keep its new gender guidelines following weeks of acrimony over the issue of parental notification.

The instructions were sent to Sarasota County schools in October.

Sarasota County Schools

A Sarasota County School Board member had a tough time keeping his composure during an emotional apology at Tuesday's board meeting. 

Sarasota High School / Sarasota County Schools

School districts across Florida are grappling with how to implement a new law adopted after the mass school shooting in Parkland.

In the next  academic year, all schools in the state must have at least one school resource officer on campus.

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Residents of Manatee and Sarasota counties will vote on whether or not to support their respective school through property taxes in a special election on March 20.

Sarasota County Schools

Officials with Sarasota County Schools are reaching out to the community for their thoughts and suggestions on how to improve the school's security in preparation for a meeting with Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday.

Barely 24 hours into the campaign, the district had already received nearly 400 responses.

Cathy Carter

Each spring, third graders in Florida's public schools are required to take a reading exam, and a failing grade could result in a student being held back.

Supporters of the mandatory state test say it helps catch struggling readers early.

But in Sarasota County, educators and community leaders think third grade intervention isn't soon enough.   

The Sarasota County School district is putting a new spin on the typical town hall meeting. On Wednesday, families can interact with school officials on a computer, tablet or smart phone.

The district's Digital Town Hall will be broadcast on its website, local cable TV, and on Facebook Live.

Pixabay.com

The School Boards in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties have voted to authorize legal action to challenge a controversial new education bill.

Tampa Bay area school districts are still deciding whether to join them.

Pixabay.com

The Florida Department of Education has released school grades for the 2016-17 school year.

State Judge Rules On Sarasota 'Best And Brightest' Challenge

Jun 14, 2016

A Sarasota school speech pathologist asking for a statewide teaching bonus has earned support from an administrative judge.

Cordelia Brown works at Brentwood Elementary School and scored in the top 20th percentile when she took her SAT test.

Even so, the district denied her eligibility for a bonus from the state's "Best and Brightest" program, saying she wasn't a classroom teacher.

These bonuses are awarded on the basis of college admissions results.

Brown says one of the reasons she moved to Florida was because of the state's scholarship program.

Wikimedia Commons

Tampa Bay area school districts have received an Obama administration directive regarding transgender students.

A joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice calls for every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity.

The families of three high school students who died after being hypnotized by a former principal will receive $200,000 each from the Sarasota County School District under a settlement agreement unanimously approved by the School Board on Tuesday.