News Slices:
A Message From Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg
Education Commissioner Releases FCAT Results for Reading and Mathematics for Third Through 10th Grade and Science for Grades 5, 8, and 11
Community Colleges Chancellor David Armstrong to Become Broward Community College’s Next President
Community Colleges Celebrates 50 Years
Florida History Fair State Contest Recognizes Students’ Historical Research
$10 Million Gift To Promote School Readiness Effort

Seeds of Success:
Broward County Seniors Among Winners of National Merit Scholarships
Florida Virtual School Latin Club Students Win at State Latin Forum
2007 Valedictorian Makes DeSoto County High School History

Branching Out:
No Child Left Behind School Choice Leadership Summit

 


June 1, 2007
Vol. 1, Issue 10

News Slices

A Message From Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg
In 2006, the Department of Education and school districts statewide were encouraged by the significant increases in last year’s third grade Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) reading scores. However, this year, we did not experience the same gains and instead saw decreases. I asked Department staff to review what may have caused the decrease from 2006 and after weeks of analyses, it became clear to me that there was a problem with the 2006 third-grade reading results.

We were able to determine that a set of questions known as the “anchor set,” which help to ensure the test is of similar difficulty from year to year, did not perform as anticipated. As a result, we will be rescoring the 2006 FCAT reading scores for third graders. This will not affect the school grades for 2006, but may delay the release of the 2007 school grades. We hope to have this process completed within the next several weeks.

We have full confidence in the results of this year’s FCAT and I assure you the Department will continue to seek ways to improve upon the testing system to ensure that this type of anomaly does not occur in the future. This week, I convened an external advisory group of superintendents, testing experts and district personnel to develop best practices for future use. From this point forward, an annual review of the FCAT process will be conducted by independent, outside experts to make certain that our processes maintain its transparency and consistency. The Florida testing system is one of the finest in the country, and I will work hard to continue our trend of setting the standards high.

To read the full statement from Commissioner Blomberg, visit www.fldoe.org/news/2007/2007_05_23-2.asp.


Education Commissioner Releases FCAT Results for Reading and Mathematics for Third Through 10th Grade and Science for Grades 5, 8, and 11
Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg recently announced Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) results for grades three through 10 in reading and mathematics and grades 5, 8 and 11 in science. Elementary, middle and high school levels all showed improvement in reading and mathematics compared to scores in 2001. Student achievement in grades 5, 8 and 11 all showed improvement in science compared to past years.

“Measuring the academic progress of our students is a critical step in determining their educational needs,” said Commissioner Blomberg. “Each year’s test results give us the ability to highlight academic success, identify opportunities for improvement and focus our resources where they are needed the most.”

Overall, 57 percent of students in grades 3 through 10 are reading at or above grade level (Level 3 and above) compared to 47 percent in 2001. Sixty-two (62) percent of Florida students are demonstrating mathematics skills at or above grade level (Level 3 and above) compared to 50 percent in 2001.

For the latest FCAT results, visit http://fcat.fldoe.org.


Community Colleges Chancellor David Armstrong to Become Broward Community College’s Next President
Florida Community Colleges Chancellor J. David Armstrong, Jr., was recently selected by the Broward Community College District Board of Trustees to serve as the college’s next president. Armstrong has accepted the offer pending contract negotiation and plans to begin his new position on July 9.

“Florida’s community college system is nationally-recognized – a testament to the leadership and vision of Chancellor Armstrong," said Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg.

For nearly 10 years, Armstrong has led Florida’s community college system and has increased access to postsecondary education, particularly in underserved populations. He has been able to secure equitable funding for the community college system from the Florida Legislature and has formed numerous partnerships with major business organizations. Under his leadership, community colleges began developing bachelor degree programs targeted to high demand, critical shortage areas in Florida’s workforce.

One area Chancellor Armstrong excelled in was developing leaders. The Chancellor’s Leadership Seminar, now in its seventh year, is a nationally-recognized professional development experience for mid-level college administrators who have the potential to become community college presidents.

Blomberg said she and the State Board of Education will decide on the selection process for the chancellor's position.


Division of Blind Services Awarded Florida Sterling Award
Commissioner Blomberg recently announced that the Florida Department of Education Division of Blind Services will receive the prestigious Governor's Sterling Award. The award recognizes organizations and businesses across Florida that have successfully achieved performance superiority within their management and operations. This honor will be bestowed during the Governor's Sterling Award Banquet at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes on June 1, 2007.

With more than 300 employees, 12 district and five satellite offices, the Braille and Talking Book Library, and the Orientation and Adjustment Center, the Division of Blind Services assists blind and visually-impaired Floridians in every Florida county and city. Their results exhibit high levels of performance and sustained improvement trends in areas of product and service outcomes, human resources and customer satisfaction.

For more on the story, visit www.fldoe.org.


Community Colleges Celebrates 50 Years
The Foundation for Florida's Community Colleges in partnership with the Florida Association of Community Colleges is hosting the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Florida's Community Colleges on June 6 at the Renaissance Hotel International Plaza in Tampa. The 6:30 p.m. reception will be followed by a 7:30 p.m. celebration dinner and program.

To commemorate the 50 golden years, the event will honor the past, celebrate the present, and focus on the future of Florida's Community Colleges.

Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, an Edison Community College alumnus, will be the guest speaker during this event. Other invitees include Gov. Charlie Crist, State Board of Education members, Community College Presidents or their designees, current and past participants of the Chancellor's Leadership Seminar, past state board members of the community college board, trustees, Florida Association of Community College board members, legislators and many others.


Governor Signs Bill To Require Physical Education For Students In Grades K-5
Governor Charlie Crist signed legislation that will ensure that public-school elementary students receive at least 150 minutes of physical education each week, or an average of 30 minutes each day. House Bill 967 is aimed at helping young students have good experiences with physical activity so they will choose a lifelong active lifestyle.

To ensure that educators have access to research regarding the most innovative teaching strategies, the bill requires the Florida Department of Education to review and revise the Sunshine State Standards regarding physical education to reflect state-of-the-art practices. The bill defines physical education as instruction that improves strength, agility, flexibility, movement, stamina, teamwork, fair play, and nutrition, and includes dance.


Florida History Fair State Contest Recognizes Students’ Historical Research
The Museum of Florida History, the state history museum in Tallahassee, hosted the annual Florida History Fair (FHF) state contest in early May at Tallahassee Community College. More than 700 students from 24 counties presented 414 entries in four categories: historical paper, exhibit, performance, and documentary. Fifty students from 13 counties will represent Florida at the National History Day competition, June 10–14, at the University of Maryland, College Park. Approximately 30,000 students statewide annually participate in the Florida History Fair in school, county, and state contests. To learn more about the FHF, visit www.flheritage.com/museum/programs/historyfair.


$10 Million Gift To Promote School Readiness Effort
The University of Florida’s Lastinger Center for Learning and The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, based in Miami, have partnered to launch a school-readiness effort called Ready Schools Florida. The two organizations will share a $10 million grant to improve learning by smoothing the transition to school for children who are likely to start school unprepared.

The grant was awarded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich., one of the world’s largest private foundations. For more information on the grant, visit http://news.education.ufl.edu/node/155.


Seeds of Success


Broward County Seniors Among Winners of National Merit Scholarships
Eight Broward County high school seniors were among 116 Florida winners of the National Merit $2,500 Scholarships. Approximately 2,500 distinguished high school seniors from across the country were chosen from a pool of more than 15,000 finalists in the 2007 National Merit Scholarship Program. To view the list of winners, go to www.fldoe.org/successstories/2007/05-07-2.asp.


Tamarac Students Collect and Donate Books to Help Rebuild Hurricane-Damaged Libraries in the Bahamas
Challenger Elementary School students in Tamarac, Fla., recently held a book drive to help restore hurricane-damaged libraries in the Bahamas. Students collected and donated more than 6,000 books that will be used to replenish the bookshelves of two of eight hurricane-ravaged libraries, whose books were damaged and destroyed. To read the full story, visit www.fldoe.org/successstories/2007/05-07.asp.


Florida Virtual School Latin Club Students Win at State Latin Forum
Seven Florida Virtual School (FLVS) Latin Club members who participated in the Florida State Latin Forum scored in the top 10 places in their individual challenge exercises. More than 1,100 students from 50 schools around the state participated in the three-day competition where they competed in academic, creative, and athletic events. To see the Latin Club member winners, visit www.fldoe.org/successstories/2007/05-14-2.asp.


Naples High School Junior Wins State Moot Court Championship
Russell Pierson, a junior from Naples High School, won the 3rd Annual State Moot Court Championship. The three-day competition was held in Tallahassee, Fla., at the Florida Supreme Court. Russell was involved in various activities to capture the grand prize, including writing a brief, oral arguments, and working on an appeals case. For more information on the State Moot Court Championship, read www.fldoe.org/successstories/2007/05-14.asp.


2007 Valedictorian Makes DeSoto County High School History
Valedictorian Denise Lam has made history in DeSoto County. Denise is the first student ever to receive her associate’s degree and high school diploma in the same year through the dual enrollment program. To learn more about dual enrollment programs, visit www.fldoe.org/articulation. To see the full story on Denise, visit www.fldoe.org/successstories/2007/05-17-3.asp.


Branching Out


No Child Left Behind School Choice Leadership Summit
July 25-27, 2007
Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando

The annual NCLB School Choice Leadership Summit will be held July 25-27, 2007, at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando by the Bureau of Public School Options in conjunction with the Florida Education Foundation. This year’s Summit will consist of many new topics and will prepare state-approved tutoring providers (Supplemental Educational Services) and school districts for a new and exciting year. The Summit will provide an opportunity for school districts and SES providers to highlight best practices and lessons learned. School districts are invited to participate in a forum to discuss new strategies and ways to partner with principals and community organizations to more effectively implement NCLB school choice for 2007-2008. For more information regarding the Summit, please contact Anna Moore at anna.moore@fldoe.org, or visit the Bureau of Public School Option’s Web site at http://www.firn.edu/doe/flbpso/nclbchoice/ses/ses_meeting.htm.


 
 
 
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