News Slices:

Seeds of Success:

Branching Out:

"I believe in the power of human beings to find a way to reach out and touch and help everyone be successful."

John L. Winn, Commissioner
Dropout Prevention Task Force, Belleview Biltmore Resort, Clearwater,
Jan. 16, 2007


January 26, 2007
Vol. 1, Issue 1

Welcome to the newly revised Monday Report. The Monday Report was an official Department of Education publication that was distributed weekly. This newly titled publication, The Core, will serve as the Department of Education electronic publication providing education-related news, and will be distributed via e-mail biweekly. We hope you enjoy reading your first copy of The Core.

News Slices

Longtime Educator Retires
Education Commissioner John L. Winn recently announced that he will retire effective Feb. 28, 2007. The longtime educator was appointed Commissioner of Education in September 2004, after serving as Chief of Staff to then Education Commissioner Jim Horne. He began his career with the Department of Education in 1984 after years as a middle school and community college teacher. Winn’s first teaching assignment took him to Putnam County, where he taught at an all African-American elementary school prior to desegregation.

Program Encourages Students to Explore Interests and Take Charge of Their Futures
K-12 Public Schools Chancellor Cheri Pierson Yecke, Ph.D., recently announced that school districts can now access a list, which identifies the major areas of interest that could be offered by every Florida high school. The list of major areas of interest will be part of high school coursework required for incoming ninth grade students in the fall of 2007. Choosing major areas of interest are part of new secondary school reform measures included in the A++ Plan for Education aimed at increasing the rigor and relevance of Florida high schools. Students will be able to choose from 442 approved major areas of interest and have the flexibility to modify their areas of emphasis if they wish. To view the list of major areas of interest, visit or contact Mary Jane Tappen at

Guinness World RecordTM Attempt Reaches Milestone
Florida has officially submitted its final documentation to Guinness World Records in its attempt to break the record for the "Most People Reading Aloud Simultaneously in Multiple Locations." The event, “Breaking a World Record: Reading Aloud!,” overseen by the Just Read, Florida! office, aimed to bolster reading among middle school students. Read the story at

Annual Essay Contest Promotes Culture of Preparedness
The Department of Education's Just Read, Florida! office has partnered with the Division of Emergency Management and several other emergency management partners, to conduct the annual statewide short essay contest for high school students as part of the 2007 Hazardous Weather Awareness Week, February 11 through 17. More on the story at

Department Releases Charter School 10-Year Anniversary Report
The Florida Department of Education recently released a report commemorating the 10th anniversary of Florida charter schools, which provide parents with an additional public education option. The report highlights the history of charter schools in Florida, provides student demographic information, and compares achievement of students in charter schools with those in traditional public schools. Read more at

Seeds of Success

Holly Wallace receives National Educator AwardPolk County Teacher To Receive National Educator Award
Lincoln Avenue Academy educator Holly Wallace was recently recognized as an outstanding Florida teacher. Wallace, a fourth grade teacher, will receive the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award in April during the annual Milken Family Foundation National Educator Conference, an all-expense-paid professional development conference, in Los Angeles.

Polk Student and Administrator Recognized at National FFA Convention
A Polk County student and administrator were recognized during the 79th National Future Farmer’s of America (FFA) Convention held in Indianapolis this fall. Lauren Lewis, a 2006 graduate of Haines City High, placed third nationally in the public speaking event. More on the story at

Walt Disney World Awards $245,000 to Central Florida Teachers and Schools
Outstanding Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, and Seminole County Teachers and Schools received $245,000 during the Annual Teacherrific Awards. Read more at

Branching Out

Families Building Better Readers
These workshops are for parents of primary and middle grade students. Participants will learn about simple activities they can do with their children to improve reading performance. For more information, e-mail or visit for the full listing of upcoming workshops in your area.

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