News Slices:
Guidance on New Fine Arts Graduation Requirement

Seeds of Success:
Florida High School Students Win Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest
DeSoto County High School Journalism Class Earns “All-Florida” Honors

Branching Out:


March 23, 2007
Vol. 1, Issue 5

News Slices

Guidance on New Fine Arts Graduation Requirement
Legislation passed last year requires all Florida students entering high school in 2007-08 to earn one credit of Fine Arts in order to earn a Standard Florida high school diploma. Courses that qualify under the definition of “fine arts,” and meet the new requirement include courses listed in the Course Code Directory under Art, Dance, Drama/Theatre, and Music. For more details, contact Bureau Chief Kate Kemker, Bureau of Instruction and Innovation, at or Director of Curriculum and Instruction Lillian Finn at You may also call (850) 245-0423 for more details.

2007 All-Florida Academic Team Announced
Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg and Community Colleges Executive Vice Chancellor Judith Bilsky recently announced the members of the 2007 All-Florida Academic Team in Tallahassee. The 110 students who comprise the All-Florida Academic Team represent 28 of Florida's public community colleges, one independent two-year college, and one independent university.

Students on the All-Florida Academic Team are nominated by their respective colleges to the All-USA Academic Team competition sponsored by USA Today and the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. College presidents or their designees are invited to submit nominations based on outstanding grade point averages; participation in honors programs; awards, honors, and recognition for academic achievement; and service to the college and the community. To see a listing of the team, visit

New Web Page Outlines Department of Education Commissioner Search
The Department of Education has created a Web page regarding the nationwide search process for a new Education Commissioner. The State Board of Education has outlined the process, which includes securing a search firm, recruiting candidates, conducting interviews and reference checks. In March, the Board revised the timeline to have the process complete by the fall. For updates on the executive search process, visit

AP Exam Reviews
Rising college tuition and stiff competition for admission to post-secondary institutions are contributing to the growing number of high school seniors taking Advance Placement (AP) courses and AP Exams. Students in Florida now have access to free, online AP Exam Reviews through the Florida Virtual School (FLVS). Students currently enrolled in an AP course can greatly increase their chances of receiving a passing score on the AP Exam by participating in one of FLVS’ AP Exam Reviews. FLVS has 10 online AP Exam Reviews for such subjects as Art History, Biology, Calculus, European History, and others.

These AP Exam Reviews are self-paced with access provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All FLVS courses and AP Exam Reviews are available to students free of charge. Students can register online for courses today and start the course within 24 hours. More than 5,000 Florida students have already taken advantage of the online exam reviews. To learn more, visit


Seeds of Success

Florida High School Students Win Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest
Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning recently announced the winners of the state finals of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest, which took place at the R.A. Gray Building, in Tallahassee in celebration of National Poetry Month. To see the winners, go to

AAA Auto Club Honors Local Fifth-Grader
Oakland Park Elementary School fifth-grade student Trevor Martin was named the AAA School Safety Patrol “Patroller of the Year” by AAA Auto Club South. AAA Auto Club South honors one patrol winner in its territory, consisting of Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Puerto Rico, for the annual award. More than 100,000 patrollers were nominated for the recognition. For the full story, go to

Zoo Animals Help Promote Literacy
Third-grade students at Lake Forest Elementary School in Alachua County are taking a different approach to reading. The Rotary Reading Safari is an after-school literacy project that encourages students to read by allowing them to visit the zoo. During the visits, students read books about animals, visit a wide variety of exhibits, and in some cases, interact with them. For the full story, visit

DeSoto County High School Journalism Class Earns “All-Florida” Honors
Journalism students at DeSoto County High School were recently recognized by the Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA) for a job well-done on its magazine. Pedigree, published since 1977, was honored as the sole “All-Florida Literary Magazine.” The winning edition focused on the “Best of the Best,” and includes writings and artwork from the journalism students. Read the full story at

Super Saturdays Increase Parent Involvement
Bethune Elementary in Hollywood, Fla., recently set-in-motion a program aimed at helping increase parental involvement in student education. “Super Saturdays” ran from Jan. 27 to Feb. 17, and allowed parents to learn about using computers and other learning resources at their children’s schools. See the details at

Branching Out

i-SAFE America Internet Safety Education and Training Available for Florida School Districts
April 25, 2007
Over the past year, i-SAFE America, Inc. has partnered with the Florida Department of Education to provide a prevention-oriented Internet safety education program for students in grades K-12, which includes professional development, K-12 curriculum, leadership opportunities for students, and resources for parents and the community at large.

i-SAFE is a non-profit foundation whose mission is to educate and empower youth to safely and responsibly take control of their Internet experience. The program provides awareness and knowledge that enables students to recognize and avoid dangerous, destructive, or unlawful online behavior and to respond appropriately. Training for i-SAFE America is available and open to school district personnel. The next virtual training date is April 25 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. EDT, exclusively for Florida. Go to and include event ID number 20797 to register. If you prefer to learn through a series of video modules, which can be completed individually online at your own pace, go to For more information, contact Amy Kirn at or visit

13th School Attendance Symposium: Linking Attendance to Positive Engagement
Oct. 29-30, 2007
Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Sponsored by the Florida Department of Education, the Student Support Services Project, and the Florida Association of School Social Workers, the Symposium provides a statewide forum for sharing and promoting proven practices that positively impact school attendance and student achievement. The program agenda will also include information updates on state and federal requirements that impact school attendance policy, and district implementation.

Attendance specialists, child protection services providers, juvenile justice agencies, school health coordinators, teachers, parents, and principals should attend. For more information, or to register, visit


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