News Slices:
Preliminary Data Suggests VPK Is Better Preparing Children For Kindergarten
Commissioner Blomberg Announces Reading and Mathematics NRT Scores For Third Through 10th Grade
Two of Florida’s Community Colleges Rank First Among Top 10 Technology-Savvy Community Colleges
Florida Middle School Students Break World Record
Music Demonstration Schools

Seeds of Success:
Troops To Teachers Program Receives Award
Dessert Wins Scholarship for Alachua County Student
Sarasota Second Grader Wins 2007 River of Words Contest
Inlet Grove/Suncoast Robotics Championship Finalist

Branching Out:
2007 Just Read, Florida! K-12 Leadership Conference
2007 K-12 Conference and Innovation Fair
8th Annual Meeting of Schools and Medicaid: A Dynamic Partnership

 


May 18, 2007
Vol. 1, Issue 9

News Slices

Preliminary Data Suggests VPK Is Better Preparing Children For Kindergarten
Preliminary data released at the State Board of Education meeting in Orlando revealed that children who participated in the state’s Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education program performed better on the Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener (FLKRS) – a screening instrument given to children within the first 30 days of kindergarten – than children who did not participate in the program. Further, children who attended the VPK program less than 85 percent of the time still scored higher on the FLKRS screening measures than children who had no exposure to the program. The preliminary 2005-2006 VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rates, which measure how well a private or public VPK provider prepared four-year-olds for kindergarten, were also released. The Department of Education, Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) worked collaboratively to develop a searchable, online database with readiness rate reports for individual VPK providers available at https://vpk.fldoe.org.


Commissioner Blomberg Announces Reading and Mathematics NRT Scores For Third Through 10th Grade
Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg announced the reading and mathematics Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Norm-Referenced Test (NRT) scores for third through 10th grade. Each year, a portion of the FCAT includes a national NRT, which is used to measure how Florida students are performing compared to students nationally. In each grade, Florida students scored better than the national average score of 50. “Teaching the Sunshine State Standards in our schools is helping our students remain nationally competitive,” said Commissioner Blomberg. “When we equip our children with the proper learning tools we help them to succeed on a multitude of levels.” To read the full story, visit www.fldoe.org.


State Board of Education Meeting
The State Board of Education met May 15 in Orlando to discuss a number of issues, including the executive search for the next Commissioner of Education and to obtain an update on repeating F schools. State Board members also learned more about the projects relating to the Office of Mathematics and Science and heard from former astronaut Sally Ride. For the full update from the State Board meeting, visit www.fldoe.org/board/meetings.


2008 Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced
The Department of Education recently recognized the five finalists for the 2008 Florida Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year. The finalists were selected from district winners across the state and represent more than 180,000 Florida educators. Each finalist was selected on the basis of superior ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding school and community service.

The five finalists are:

  • Richard Ellenburg, a science lab teacher at Camelot Elementary School, Orange County
  • Deborah Fahmie, a music teacher at Cypress Elementary School, Osceola County
  • Robert Johnson, a high school social studies teacher at Port Charlotte High School, Charlotte County
  • Dr. Sandy Melillo, a high school English/TV production teacher at Northeast High School, Broward County
  • Diane Tomko, a high school gifted language arts teacher at Flagler Palm Coast High School, Flagler County
  • The 2008 Florida Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year will be named Thursday, July 12, during a ceremony honoring Florida’s teachers at Hard Rock Live® at Universal CityWalk®, Orlando.


    Two of Florida’s Community Colleges Rank First Among Top 10 Technology-Savvy Community Colleges
    This year’s top 10 technology-savvy community colleges have been named by the Center for Digital Education and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). The rankings are based on the third national Digital Community Colleges Survey, which evaluates how colleges implement technology to help make campus operations efficient.

    Florida Community College at Jacksonville took first place in the large college category, and Indian River Community College tied for first place with Laramie County Community College (Cheyenne, Wyoming) in the mid-sized college category.

    Nearly 200 community colleges across the country participated in the survey. Colleges were grouped into three categories based on student enrollment: less than 3,000 students were considered small, between 3,000 and 7,500 were considered mid-sized and more than 7,500 were considered large.

    Community college officials responded to a set of 24 multiple-choice questions and five narrative questions regarding online services and technology provisions offered to students, faculty and communities. Colleges provided Web addresses and background data for final verification and validation.


    Florida Middle School Students Break World Record
    Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg recently announced Guinness World Records™ confirmed that Florida middle school students successfully broke 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, highlighted the importance of reading to middle school students. The record attempt aired via a live public broadcast and Web cast from Disney-MGM Studios at 11:25 a.m. on Sept. 28, 2006, when 186,054 middle school students statewide read an excerpt from the book “Peter and the Starcatchers” written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Florida students broke the previous record of 155,528 students throughout the United Kingdom who read William Wordsworth’s poem “Daffodils,” on March 19, 2004. Guinness World Records™ is currently considering the record for entry in its annual book.


    Music Demonstration Schools
    The Music Demonstration School project was developed in 1988 by the Florida Department of Education (DOE) in cooperation with the Florida Music Educators’ Association (FMEA). Its purpose is to identify, recognize, and promote statewide school music programs at the elementary, middle/junior, and high school levels that balance diversity, high performance standards, and instructional quality in music education. Currently, 78 schools have been selected as Music Demonstration Schools, and 33 have been chosen for Honorable Mention recognition since the project’s inception in 1988. For a listing of these schools, visit the FMEA Web site at www.flmusiced.org.

    If you wish to apply to become a Music Demonstration School, please submit your application by May 24. Schools that submit applications are evaluated and approved by the DOE according to criteria developed by The National Association for Music Education (MENC) and the FMEA. Schools that meet these criteria are committed for a three-year period to assist school officials, teachers, and other interested persons in observing quality programs and obtaining information for program improvement.

    All applications should be submitted to Dr. Linda Lovins, Performing and Fine Arts Program Specialist, Florida Department of Education, 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 432, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400.


    Seeds of Success


    Troops To Teachers Program Receives Award
    The Florida Department of Education, U.S. Department of Education and Department of Defense program Troops to Teachers has been selected to receive The Met Life Foundation/Civic Ventures BreakThrough Award. The selection process was highly competitive with more than 80 nominations submitted. The Troops to Teachers program was selected as one of 10 Award winners because of its inspiring practices in hiring and retaining individuals age 50 and over to meet important social needs.

    The Department will be announced as a recipient of The BreakThrough Award on May 31st at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. For more information on the Troops to Teachers program, visit www.proudtoserveagain.com.


    Young Epidemiology Scholars Competition
    Brian Clement, a Lake Brantley High School senior in Altamonte Springs, is one of 12 southeast regional finalists in the Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) competition. He was chosen for his research on "Prevalence and Characterization of Primary Drug Resistance in Individuals with Newly Diagnosed HIV Infection.” Brian is one of two Florida students to capture this prestigious award. For more on the story, visit www.fldoe.org/successstories/2007/04-25-3.asp.


    Dessert Wins Scholarship for Alachua County Student
    Gainesville Eastside High School Institute of Culinary Arts senior Merry Anthony-Deford captured fifth place in the finals of the National High School Chef of the Year Competition. Her recipe for success was a Strawberry and Blackberry Mousse Swirl dessert. For the full story, visit www.fldoe.org/successstories/2007/04-25-2.asp.


    Clay County Students Advance To International Science and Engineering Fair
    Recently, 14 Clay County students participated in the State Science and Engineering Fair held at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. Nine of the 14 received awards and two will be moving on to the national competition. To see the award winners, go to www.fldoe.org/successstories/2007/04-25.asp.


    Sarasota Second Grader Wins 2007 River of Words Contest
    Seven-year-old Jose Perez from Fruitville Elementary School in Sarasota County has won the poetry grand prize Category I, K-2, in the 2007 River of Words Contest. To read more, go to www.fldoe.org/successstories/2007/05-01-2.asp.


    Inlet Grove/Suncoast Robotics Championship Finalist
    The robotics team from Inlet Grove High School and Suncoast High School won the 2007 FIRST Robotics Championship Finalist trophy and the Archimedes Division Champion trophy. The team, comprised of 17 students and adult engineer mentors, built a 120-pound robot in eight weeks for the competition. For more, read www.fldoe.org/successstories/2007/05-01.asp.


    Branching Out


    2007 Just Read, Florida! K-12 Leadership Conference
    Aug. 5-8, 2007
    Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, Orlando

    The 6th Annual Just Read, Florida! Leadership Conference will be held Aug. 5-8, 2007, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando. This year’s conference promises to be the most exciting event ever with more than 4,000 principals, assistant principals, reading coaches, and district administrators sharing what works for improving literacy in Florida’s schools through more than 300 breakout sessions. For more information, please contact Karen Crawford at kcrawford@cmc-associates.com or visit www.justreadflorida.com/conference.


    2007 K-12 Conference and Innovation Fair
    Oct. 2-5, 2007
    Caribe Royale, Orlando

    The 2007 K-12 Conference and Innovation Fair is presented in conjunction with the Florida Education Foundation and will focus on (1) innovative approaches to improving student achievement; (2) secondary public school career, collegiate, and magnet academies; and (3) redesigning teacher compensation. This conference will be an opportunity to highlight the state’s best model academies and programs to other schools looking to implement such programs of their own, and discuss how various ways of compensating our teachers lead to the improved achievement of our students. District staff, administrators and teachers are encouraged to attend. For more information, or to register, visit www.fldoe.org/schools/conference.


    8th Annual Meeting of Schools and Medicaid: A Dynamic Partnership
    Oct. 17-19, 2007
    Lake Buena Vista Resort, Orlando

    The 8th Annual Meeting of Schools and Medicaid: A Dynamic Partnership will be held at the Embassy Suites-Lake Buena Vista Resort, 8100 Lake Avenue, Orlando, Fla., Oct. 17-19. This meeting is designed for school district personnel who are actively involved or interested in the implementation and administration of the Medicaid program in schools. The program will present information related specifically to the Florida Medicaid certified school match fee-for-service and administrative claiming programs. Sessions will be offered to accommodate varying levels of Medicaid experience and will include time for exchange of ideas and policy clarification. Online meeting registration will be available June 1, 2007, at http://ssn.usf.edu/medicaid/conference_oct2007. Online registration with receipt is required to confirm your attendance. The registration deadline for the meeting and the deadline for reserving sleeping rooms at the Embassy Suites at the group rate of $109.00 is Sept. 23, 2007. Call the hotel directly at (407) 239-1144 or (800) EMBASSY to reserve your room(s) and ask for the “Medicaid & Schools Meeting” rate. Contact Melinda Moon at (850) 414-8338 for more details.

     

     
     
     
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