News Slices:
New Education Commissioner
Former Commissioner of Education Retires
Second Report From Buros Institute On Third Grade Reading FCAT
Commissioner Smith Announces 2007 Kindergarten Readiness Results
Sixteen Florida Students Selected into Disney’s Dreamers Academy
Palmer Electric Company Makes Donation to Seminole Community College Foundation
Just Read, Florida! Announces 2008 Hazardous Weather Awareness Week Essay Contest
Stop the Spread of Germs
 

Seeds of Success:
Bonita Springs Middle Earns National Award
Marion County Teacher Named State Art Teacher of the Year
Alachua County Environmental Team Collects Scholarship For Their Clean Up Efforts
 
 

Branching Out:
Review Florida Science Standards
FMEA In-Service Clinic-Conference
2008 Effective Strategies Institute
Just Read, Florida! K-12 Leadership Conference

 


December 14, 2007

Vol. 1, Issue 24

News Slices

New Education Commissioner
Dr. Eric J. Smith began his tenure as the new Florida Commissioner of Education in December. The State Board of Education (SBE) voted unanimously to select him to serve as Florida’s chief educational officer responsible for providing full assistance to the SBE in enforcing compliance with the mission and goals of Florida’s K-20 education system.

“Dr. Smith has the skills and experience that Florida’s education system needs, and I look forward to working with him in the future,” said SBE Chairman T. Willard Fair.

Dr. Smith began his career in Florida more than 30 years ago as a classroom teacher. His commitment to affecting positive change in the field of education led him to several administrative positions in Florida school districts and eventually to 16 years of serving as a district superintendent in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. His goals have remained constant throughout his career: to increase academic achievement of all students and to reduce the disparity in achievement among student subgroups. His success in consistently meeting these goals in individual districts bears testimony to his own passion to change students’ lives, the urgency he brings to the challenges involved, and the leadership he demonstrates in ensuring the involvement of all stakeholders.


Former Commissioner of Education Retires
Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg recently retired from the Florida Department of Education, following more than three decades of service to Florida's education system. Blomberg was appointed Commissioner of Education by a unanimous vote of the State Board of Education in January 2007 after serving as Chief of Staff to then Education Commissioner John Winn.

Under Commissioner Blomberg’s tenure, the Department addressed the variations in the 2006 FCAT third grade reading results and launched an external advisory group to review and analyze Florida’s assessment tool. The Department also launched the www.myfloridateacher.com Web site, established Kindergarten readiness rates and assisted with unveiling the Ready To Work program. For more information on former Commissioner Blomberg, visit www.fldoe.org/news/2007/2007_11_30-2.asp.


Second Report From Buros Institute On Third Grade Reading FCAT
The second report from the Buros Institute regarding the 2006 third grade reading Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) results was recently released. The independent report confirmed the Department’s determination that the inflated scores for the 2006 third grade reading FCAT were an anomaly, and the exceptions were the direct result of an equating issue dealing with the placement of an anchor reading passage. The report also referenced several recommendations made previously to ensure this type of anomaly does not occur in the future. The Department has implemented these recommendations for the 2007-08 FCAT, and will continue to employ these findings on all future test administrations. For more details, visit www.fldoe.org/news/2007/2007_12_10-2.asp.


Commissioner Smith Announces 2007 Kindergarten Readiness Results
Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith recently announced the results of the 2007 Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener (FLKRS). This year’s results show a continued increase in the percentage of students demonstrating early literacy skills. The FLKRS measures Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) outcomes, that is, what students should know and be able to do by the end of the VPK program as defined by the VPK Education Standards. The screening results are used to determine the school readiness of students entering Kindergarten, inform classroom instruction and provide useful information to parents and teachers. For more information, visit www.fldoe.org/news/2007/2007_12_12.asp.


Sixteen Florida Students Selected into Disney’s Dreamers Academy
Sixteen Florida students were selected into Walt Disney World Resort’s Disney’s Dreamers Academy, an innovative program that will provide 100 teens the opportunity to go as far as their dreams and imaginations will take them. The program was created for high school teens from across the nation, and designed to immerse the students in creative and non-conventional career opportunities. This is the first-ever career enrichment program of its kind. The Academy will take place in the Walt Disney World Resort, Jan. 17-20, 2008. For more information on Disney’s Dreamers Academy, visit http://wdwnews.com. To log in, please use username – Disney; and password – magic.


Palmer Electric Company Makes Donation to Seminole Community College Foundation
Palmer Electric Company recently announced the donation of $50,000 to the Seminole Community College Foundation for the Wharton-Smith Center for Construction. The donation, which is eligible for a state matching fund of $33,500, will be used to enhance and expand the College’s newly launched Construction Management Program at the Center for Economic Development in Heathrow. For more information, visit http://www.seminolestate.edu/.


Just Read, Florida! Announces 2008 Hazardous Weather Awareness Week Essay Contest
Just Read, Florida!, in partnership with the Florida Department of Community Affairs, Division of Emergency Management and several other emergency management partners, is conducting a statewide short essay contest aimed at high school students as part of the 2008 Hazardous Weather Awareness Week, Feb. 2-9, 2008. Students in grades nine through 12 in all school districts are invited to participate in the statewide essay contest. Each school winner’s essay must be submitted to Just Read, Florida! by the principal of their school no later than Jan. 11, 2008, to be eligible for the contest. Each regional student winner and their teacher will be awarded cash prizes and weather radios for their achievements. For more information, resources and a complete list of contest rules and deadlines, please visit www.justreadflorida.com/hwaw.


Stop the Spread of Germs
Educators and school staff can help slow the spread of colds and flu this flu season by sharing a few simple tips. Be sure to cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water to dramatically reduce the spread of germs and number of sick days taken. For hygiene materials, guidance information and tools on flu prevention, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at www.cdc.gov/flu/school/index.htm.


Seeds of Success


Bonita Springs Middle Earns National Award
Bonita Springs Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society™ (NJHS) Chapter has been awarded an Outstanding Service Project award by the National Honor Society™ and the National Junior Honor Society™ for its “Operation NICU” initiative. Members of the NJHS chapter at the school devised a project to help babies in The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). For more information, visit www.fldoe.org/SuccessStories/2007/11-16-2.asp.


Marion County Teacher Named State Art Teacher of the Year
Marion County art teacher Ruth Dexheimer was recently awarded the 2007 “Outstanding Elementary Art Educator” by the Florida Art Education Association. With more than 33 years of experience in the classroom, she serves as the art teacher at Madison Street Academy of Visual and Performing Arts in Ocala. Ms. Dexheimer has taught there since joining the district 10 years ago. For more information, visit www.fldoe.org/SuccessStories/2007/11-21.asp.


Alachua County Environmental Team Collects Scholarship For Their Clean Up Efforts
The Alachua County Environmental Team is one of just 16 in the nation to be recognized in the Lexus Environmental Challenge for land-related projects. The challenge, sponsored by Toyota, is a nationwide education program and contest about the environment that empowers teens to create a better world. Through this program, middle and high school students can participate in four initial environmental challenges about land, water, air, and climate. For more information, visit www.fldoe.org/SuccessStories/2007/11-21-2.asp.



Branching Out


Review Florida Science Standards
The Department of Education Office of Mathematics and Science is providing public meetings, where members of the public will be allowed to provide input regarding the proposed new science standards. Below are scheduled dates and locations. All times are from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. For more details, visit www.fldoestem.org/center13.aspx.

Jan. 3, 2008
The Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership
http://www.schultzcenter.org/
4019 Boulevard Center Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32207

Jan. 8, 2008
Everglades High School
17100 SW 48 CT.
Miramar, FL 33025

 

FMEA In-Service Clinic-Conference
Jan. 9 – 12, 2008
Tampa Convention Center

Districts are invited to send music teachers to participate in the upcoming conference sponsored by the Florida Music Educators’ Association (FMEA) in cooperation with the Florida Department of Education. Conference activities begin at the Tampa Convention Center on January 9, and end with a series of All-State concerts on Jan. 12, 2008.

The FMEA In-Service Clinic-Conference is the largest professional development conference for music educators held in any state east of the Mississippi River. The FMEA conference will offer more than 200 individual workshops and seminars for a variety of topics ranging from FCAT skills to assessment in the classroom and issues related to special learners.

The conference is designed so every music educator – new or experienced – will find sessions of high interest. Sessions are also designed to support the issues foremost on every school campus in the state, particularly those related to literacy and other FCAT goals. The Elementary, Middle School, and High School All-State rehearsals and concerts are also an exciting and instructional part of the conference.

Information about registration and lodging is available online at www.flmusiced.org. Online pre-registration deadline is Dec. 3, 2007.


2008 Effective Strategies Institute
Jan. 15-18, 2008
Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort
Daytona Beach, Fla.

The 2008 Effective Strategies Institute will be held Jan. 15-18, 2008, at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort in Daytona Beach, Fla. The Institute is sponsored by the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC), the Florida Department of Education, 21st Century Community Learning Centers of Florida, the University of Florida, Communities in Schools of Florida, Inc., and the Florida Association of Alternative School Educators.

The Institute will feature three nationally renowned keynote speakers, including Dr. Krystal Kuykendall and U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Consuelo Kickbush. There will be more than 60 workshops representing district, state, and national research-based instructional strategies and best practices in dropout prevention and Exceptional Student Educational programs.

District administrators, teachers, student services personnel, and program coordinators who provide services to students at risk of not graduating from high school are encouraged to attend.

To register and submit proposals for presentation, please visit the National Dropout Prevention Center Web site at www.dropoutprevention.org/ndpcdefault.htm, and click on “2008 Effective Strategies Institute.” The registration fee is $195.00 before Dec. 21, 2007. After that date, the registration fee will be $225.00. Institute attendees are encouraged to make room reservations at the host hotel by Dec. 31, 2007, to obtain the conference rate of $134.00 per night.


Just Read, Florida! K-12 Leadership Conference
June 29 – July 2, 2008
Orlando World Center Marriott
Orlando, Fla.

The 2008 conference offers a variety of opportunities for educators and administrators. More than 300 breakout sessions will be geared toward providing essential information to school leadership in the area of reading and literacy. There will be numerous sessions presented by fellow principals, reading coaches, and district leaders, giving you the opportunity to hear about the great literacy initiatives taking place in schools throughout our state. Go to www.justreadflorida.com/conference to learn more or register today!


 
 
 
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