February 23, 2007
Vol. 1, Issue 3
2007 College Goal Sunday
On Sunday, Feb. 25, Florida will once again take
part in College Goal Sunday. Sponsored by the Lumina Foundation, College
Goal Sunday is a national effort aimed at providing high school students
with assistance completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA), which is a required application for anyone who is interested
in receiving financial aid for colleges, universities, and vocational
schools. The event is specifically aimed at reaching low-income, first
generation, and minority students and assisting those students in filling
out the financial aid forms.
This year, 49 sites in 42 counties will participate
which is more than double the number of sites from last year. During
its first year, Florida ranked third in target audience attendance. Because
of last years success, Florida was selected as the training site
for the 10 new states beginning their College Goal Sunday program in 2008.
New Center For Math & Science Announced
Governor Charlie Crist on Wednesday announced the opening of the Florida
Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,
and the establishment of the Office for Math and Science in the Department
of Education. As part of Governor Crists announcement to increase
math and science achievement in Florida schools, he honored Florida State
University (FSU) as the award recipient to oversee the new research center.
Funded by the Florida Legislature with a two million
dollar grant, the Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics will conduct research and use these research-based
findings to support the Office for Math and Science in the Department.
The center will be led by Sir Harold Kroto, co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel
Prize in Chemistry and an ardent advocate for K-12 science education worldwide.
The Office for Math and Science will oversee the
development and implementation of new world-class math and science standards,
develop and deliver professional development for teachers, and coordinate
all state and federally funded programs in these subject areas. The Center
will support the Department of Educations efforts to increase the
rigor and relevance of secondary programs to increase the number of students
who graduate prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce.
Testing Around The Corner
Students throughout Florida are gearing up for the
Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test®, or FCAT. The test is an important
measuring tool that helps determine what students have learned based on
the Sunshine State Standards (SSS), and identifies where students may
need help. The FCAT SSS measures a students knowledge of reading,
writing, math and science benchmarks learning expectations set
for each subject and grade level. The test is custom-designed for Florida
students, by Florida teachers, and is not used in any other state.
Parents can obtain more information about the test, review
sample test questions and previously administered tests taken by actual
students by going to <%= FCAT_root %>/fcatkeys.asp. Following
are some tips to improve performance for students:
- Think positively. Some questions may seem hard,
but others will be easy.
- Relax and do your best.
- Read the directions carefully.
- Read carefully, and answer the questions you are sure about first.
If a question seems too difficult, skip it, and go back to it later.
- Be sure to fill in the answer bubbles completely. Do not make any
stray marks on the answer sheet.
- Check each answer.
- Check to make sure the test question number matches the answer
choice number on the answer sheet or answer book.
Following are some teacher tips provided by Florida
teachers regarding preparing for the test:
- Plan lessons creatively, teach the standards
and make learning fun.
- Utilize FCAT practice materials only as supplemental materials.
- Take pressure off students by letting them know you have confidence
- At testing time, advise students to get a good nights sleep,
eat breakfast, relax and show what they know.
Florida a Perfect
Education Commissioner John L. Winn recently announced
that Florida is the first state in the nation to be recognized by the
Data Quality Campaign for having the 10 elements necessary to build a
longitudinal data system. What is a longitudinal data system?
It is a system that follows each student from the time they begin school
until postsecondary education and the workforce.
The data includes the student's performance on
annual tests, grades in subjects, reading level and others. Rather than
focusing on one segment of a student's education such as elementary school,
states are called to follow students from the beginning, until the end
of their education. The Data Quality Campaign is a national, collaborative
effort that urges state policymakers to improve the collection, availability,
and use of high-quality education data to improve student achievement.
For the full story, visit www.fldoe.org/news/2007/2007_01_18.asp.
State Board of Education
The State Board of Education met in Tallahassee
on Tuesday to discuss the approval of the Education Commissioner job description,
2007-08 legislative agenda, teacher performance pay plans, class size
transfer calculations, charter school appeals, community college baccalaureate
proposals and other issues.
The Board approved the 2007 legislative priorities,
which include establishing a statewide bonus program in law to recognize
and reward outstanding educators and instructional personnel for improving
student achievement, strengthening the mentoring component of the Dale
Hickam Excellent Teaching Program and developing an incentive-based mentoring
program to encourage more teachers to participate, recommending that the
process for revising and adopting Sunshine State Standards be strengthened
in law, supporting Governor Crists goal to have a reading coach
in every Florida school, and recommending expanding weighted funding for
middle school students who pass certain high school courses. To view the
full report from the meeting, visit www.fldoe.org/news/2007/2007_02_20.asp.
SUNLINK Provides Resources At Your Fingertips
SUNLINK (www.sunlink.ucf.edu) is Florida's
K-12 online catalog of such items as books, publications, etc., and is used in more than 2,700 public
schools' library media centers. SUNLINK helps you find books and non-print
materials in your school, district, region or anywhere in Florida. Users
can search by title, author, subject, keyword, location, language, format,
reading level or any combination of these to find what you need. If the
title is in your school, you can get it from your library media specialist;
if not, you can ask for it to be borrowed from another school. You can
also find educational Web sites that have been selected for K-12 students,
avoiding the thousands of irrelevant hits a regular search engine may
SUNLINK also offers teacher resources, including
a daily lesson plan, tools for administrators, information for students
and parents and so much more. SUNLINK is funded by the Florida Department
of Education and administered through a grant to the College of Education
at the University of Central Florida.
Hillsborough County Schools Selected to Participate
in National Project
The College Board recently announced that Hillsborough County Public
Schools have been selected to participate in a project to overcome
the "advantage gap" among students in urban school districts.
The four-year project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
aims to increase the level of student aspirations and academic performance
while preparing more students for postsecondary success. For the
full story, visit www.fldoe.org/successstories/2007/02-09.asp.
College Leader Named to Florida Women's Hall of Fame
Maryly Van Leer Peck, president emeritus of
Polk Community College, was recently named to the Florida Womens
Hall of Fame.
Peck, 76, was born to a family of engineers and
earned three degrees in that field from Vanderbilt University and
the University of Florida. While in Guam as a missionary for 11
years, she ran a preparatory school and was dean of the College
of Business and Applied Technology at the University of Guam. In
1982, she became the first female president of a Florida community
college. She remained in that position at Polk until retiring in
Others named by Governor Crist to the Hall
of Fame included Kathy Herrmann Catino, chief executive officer
of the Shelter for Abused Women and Children in Naples, and Justice
College To Receive Leadership Grant
Broward Community College (BCC) is one of
10 colleges and universities in the United States recently named
as a recipient of an HP Technology for Teaching Higher Education
Leadership grant. The HP Award package is valued at more than $120,000.
All 10 of the
grant winners were previous recipients of HP Technology for Teaching
higher education grants and were invited to apply for additional
investment support. BCC received its Technology for Teaching grant
in 2005 and used the funds and equipment valued at $74,000 to redesign
the general biology laboratory curriculum.
BCC was selected for reinvestment because
of its success integrating HP technology into the classroom curriculum,
demonstrating a measurable, positive impact on student achievement
and proposing innovative plans to expand and sustain new approaches
to teaching and learning.
Teacher Compensation: A Blueprint For Success
May 14-15, 2007
Join the Florida Department of Education as we host the first national
conference on the redesign of teacher compensation. This event will
feature general sessions with keynote speakers, panels and roundtable
discussions from experts in the field at district, state and national
levels. Presenters include prominent researchers, United States
Department of Education staff, state legislators, district superintendents,
and representatives from other states. Education policy makers with
an interest in teacher compensation are encouraged to attend. Issues
to be covered include base salary, performance pay, incentive pay,
and more. Conference registration and agenda will be available after
2007 DOE Information Database Workshop
June 19-21, 2007
Mark your calendars for the DOE Information Database Workshop, June
19-21, 2007, at the Florida Hotel & Conference Center in Orlando.
This year, the conference will cover updates on procedures and requirements
related to the DOE Information Database system. Additionally, it will
provide an overview of the states current student, staff and
finance database requirements for technical and program staff in your
district. MIS, FTE, Finance, Student and Staff personnel are encouraged
to attend. The workshop will also provide an overview of the states
current student, staff, and finance database requirements for both
technical and program staff for districts. Register today at www.firn.edu/doe/databaseworkshop.
For further assistance, please contact Arlene Roberts
at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (850) 245-0400 or SC 205-0400.