"Florida must move forward to implement higher and more rigorous standards for all subjects."
John L. Winn, Commissioner
February 9, 2007
Vol. 1, Issue 2
New DVD Gives Insiders
View of Florida Education System
The Department of Education has recently released a new parent information
DVD - Your Child, Your Public Schools. Its a free DVD
designed to help parents better understand Floridas school system
and to provide them with information to help them take an active role
in their childs education. The DVD covers such topics as FCAT Essentials,
Inside School Grades, and so much more. To obtain your copy of the DVD, simply contact
your local district volunteer coordinator or the Department of Education Bureau of
Family and Community Outreach at (850) 245-0847. You may also view the DVD at
College Board Recognizes Florida High Schools for Outstanding AP Programs
Florida ranks number one in the nation for the largest percentage of public school students taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams. During 2006, 36.4 percent of Florida's public school students participated in AP compared to 32.9 percent in 2005 and 24.2 percent nationally. There were 13,221 more students who took an AP exam, the largest increase to date, for a total of 90,681 participating students.
Additionally, several public Florida high schools were recently recognized by the College Board for their exemplary AP programs. For the second year in a row, Florida has more schools recognized than any other state in the nation. Schools recognized include the following: Alex W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts, West Palm Beach; Barbara Goleman High School, Miami; Coral Reef Senior High, Miami; Cypress Bay High School, Weston; Design and Architecture Senior High School, Miami; Miami Coral Park Senior High School, Miami; Miami Killean Senior High School, Miami; Palmetto Senior High School, Miami; New World School of the Arts, Miami; School for Advanced Studies South, Miami; Stanton College Preparatory School, Jacksonville; and Stranahan High School, Ft. Lauderdale.
To learn more about Florida's unique partnership with the College Board go to www.collegeboard.com/floridapartnerships.
State Board of Education Meeting
The State Board of Education met in Tallahassee on January 25th. The Board,
including re-appointed Chair T. Willard Fair and new member Dr. Akshay
Desai, unanimously appointed Jeanine Blomberg the Department Chief
of Staff - as Interim Commissioner of Education effective March 1, 2007.
John L. Winn will remain as Commissioner of Education until his retirement
February 28. The Board also laid out its plans for hiring a permanent
Commissioner, and aim to have the process completed by June. Other highlights
from the meeting include the approval of teacher performance pay plans
for various counties, discussion of legislative priorities, and approval
of revised Sunshine State Standards for Reading and Language Arts, to
name a few. For complete details of the Board of Education meeting, visit
Education Careers and Floridas Future
The Florida Future Educators of America
(FFEA) Conference was recently held in Orlando to promote education as
a career to students who are members of FFEA chapters in their high schools
or colleges. The conference, sponsored by the Department of Education
Bureau of Educator Recruitment, Development and Retention, offered competitions
such as an Essay, Chapter PowerPoint, Speech, Lesson Plan and Spirit Award
contest based on the student-selected theme, Teaching - Not just
a state of mind, but a way of life! Nearly 300 participants attended
the informative and hands-on sessions led by Florida Teachers of the Year
and other award winning Florida educators. During the conference, members
also elected Ginna Gonzalez as president-elect and Alexandra Roldan as
vice-president elect. The newly elected officers are both student members
at G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School in Miami. The annual conference
is typically held in January of each year.
Majors With Students
Eight-grade students from Robert H. Jenkins, Jr.
Middle School in Palatka recently met with Education Commissioner John
Winn to discuss selecting "majors" for their upcoming high school
careers (pictured right). The Commissioner spoke candidly with the students,
asking them what they would like to pursue as careers. The idea behind
the majors is to not only keep students engaged and excited
about high school, but to also help them begin planning their futures.
A high school major isnt the same thing as a college
major, and isnt a commitment to a lifelong or career decision. Students
have the opportunity to change their major area of interest
without penalty. Many students select a major by participating in a career academy. The Commissioner also recently met with students from
Hamilton County High School, Suwannee Middle School, New Smyrna Beach
High School and James Madison Middle School. During his visit to Suwannee
Middle School, Commissioner Winn made a surprise visit to 2007 Teacher
of the Year Finalist Melissa Brinson and her 7th grade Science class (pictured
left). To view the list of major areas of interest, visit www.FACTS.org
or contact Mary Jane Tappen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
County Teacher Named Teacher On the Trail
Thompson Elementary teacher Kim Slade has been named the 2007 Wells
Fargo Teacher on the Trail (TOTT). The TOTT program began in 1999
and has become a nationally acclaimed teaching project. Each year,
the TOTT selection committee chooses one teacher to come to Alaska
and be part of the annual 1,150 mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
The selected teacher spends approximately three weeks away from
family and teaching responsibilities, learning how to handle sled
dogs, writing lesson plans, and joining teen mushers on the trail
of the Jr. Iditarod, as well as helping on the trail of the Iditarod
Trail Sled Dog Race. The TOTT shares his/her experience with students
and educators around the nation, through the Internet, allowing
them to integrate the experience of the Iditarod into every day
classroom lessons. Mrs. Slade has been teaching at the elementary
level for 17 years, and currently serves as a math coach and resource
teacher throughout Indian River County. For Mrs. Slades lessons
and newsletters, visit the TOTT Web site at www.iditarod.com/teachers.
School First In Florida To Earn National Honors From The Kennedy
The Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network has selected
Cypress Elementary in Osceola County as one of only five schools
in the nation to be named as a Creative Ticket National School of
Distinction for 2005-2006 in honor of its outstanding school arts
programs. This marks the first time in history any Florida school
has received this award, which recognizes schools that have done
an outstanding job of making the arts an essential part of the education
of its students. Read more at www.fldoe.org/successstories/2007/01-24.asp.
Adopts Marine Unit
Approximately 100 Marines stationed in Iraq have been adopted by
students at Lakelands Southwest Elementary. Students have
been given soldiers names and will be corresponding regularly
over the coming months. The students will also be sending care packages
and inspirational pieces of artwork they created. A personal connection
between Southwest fourth grade teacher Katie Gill, organizer of
the project, and a Marine majors wife connected the school
to Bravo Company 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion that
is providing dam security in Iraq and the Euphrates River Valley.
More on the story www.fldoe.org/successstories/2007/01-18.asp.
An Inside Look at Florida Education
If you missed the new Teacher Talk television
series, you still have the chance to tune in. Nicole Flesvig, FDOE
Teacher Liaison, has a new series devoted to public education in
Florida, Teacher Talk: An Inside Look at Florida Education.
This monthly show is produced by the Florida Education Channel in
collaboration with the Florida Department of Education. The show
will feature a "Teacher Spotlight" segment, which focuses
on Florida teachers and their innovations both in and out of the
classroom. Viewers will also have the opportunity to learn about
what Florida schools and school districts have to offer teachers
and students alike. The first show aired on the Florida Education
Channel Feb. 8, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. The show will
be aired several times per week throughout the month. Currently,
the Florida Education Channel is available 24 hours per day via
the Internet as well as on DISH Network, channel 9418. Cant
catch it there? You can also see it on the Florida Knowledge Network,
and it will be available to districts via ITV. To view the Florida
Education Channel online, visit: www.fldoe.org/justforteachers.
Teachers, schools, and districts interested in being featured on
Teacher Talk can complete the online contact form available on www.fldoe.org/justforteachers.
Digital Educators to Receive Online Professional Development
PBS TeacherLine, the Florida Digital Educator Program and the Florida
Department of Education, Bureau of Instruction and Innovation, have
partnered to provide online professional development courses to
Master Digital Educators in the state. This joint effort is a part
of a statewide program that aims to improve the integration of technology
across the K-12 curricula for enhanced student learning. The courses
will be offered locally by WLRN, PBS member station, and PBS TeacherLine
provider in Miami. Veteran teachers from Florida who have earned
a master's degree and have been trained in online course facilitation
and community-building will lead participants through these courses.
For more information about PBS TeacherLine, visit www.pbs.org/teacherline.
To learn more about the Florida Digital Educator Program, visit
Final Call: We want to hear
from you. The Department of Education has provided an online survey
at www.fldoe.org to gauge your opinion about our Web site. Visit
our home page, or click
here to take the survey now!
Editors Note: The Department of Education
experienced a technical glitch on Tuesday, Jan. 30, when subscribers
received an inadvertent message from the listserv. We apologize
for any inconvenience this may have caused you.