January 18, 2008
Vol. 2, Issue 2
Florida's Schools Among Top in the Nation
According to the 2008 Quality Counts report - a national comparison of state education systems - Florida ranked among the top 15 in the country. Since last year, Florida schools have jumped from 31st place in the nation to 14th. Florida was recognized for:
- Outstanding participation in Advanced Placement (AP) programs, specifically more students taking AP courses and passing AP exams
- Academic gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress
- Closing the achievement gap between white and minority students
- Preparing, attracting and recognizing quality teachers
- Preparing our students for the future by setting high standards and measuring progress
For more information, visit http://www.fldoe.org/news/2008/2008_01_09.asp
Governor Crist Recommends Education Budget
Governor Charlie Crist recently recommended $33.5 billion in funding for all phases of education. Included in this amount is $138 million to fully fund any K-12 reductions that would occur as a result of voter approval of Amendment 1 and a 5.46 percent increase in per-student funding - up $394, for a total of $7,606 per student. The proposed budget also includes funds for middle school physical education, reading coaches, virtual tutors, bonuses for outstanding teachers and prevents a tuition increase for community colleges and state universities. For more information,
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings Visits Tallahassee
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings marked the sixth anniversary of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in Tallahassee.
Secretary Spellings, Commissioner Eric J. Smith and Leon County Superintendent Jackie Pons
toured Sabal Palm Elementary meeting with students and educators to congratulate them on their achievement.
The school met national Adequate Yearly Progress requirements, and received school grades of an A and B for the
last two years. The school visit was the second stop on Secretary Spellings' national tour regarding the NCLB Act.
The Attorney General's Office and the Department of Education Announce CyberSafety Challenge
Attorney General Bill McCollum and Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith announced a
statewide CyberSafety challenge to superintendents and principals to sign their schools up for the Attorney
General's CyberSafety Education presentations. The challenge is part of Attorney General McCollum's goal to
reach every middle and high school in the state with his CyberSafety presentation.
Two challenge winners will be announced in May - the district that signs up the largest total number of schools for presentations and the district that signs up the highest percentage of its schools for presentations. The winning districts will receive special CyberSafety presentations hosted in person by Attorney General McCollum and Commissioner Smith next fall.
For more information, visit http://www.safeflorida.net/safeschools.
Haithcock New K-12 Chancellor
Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith recently appointed Dr. Frances Haithcock as the new Florida K-12 Public Schools Chancellor.
Chancellor Haithcock has more than 30 years of experience in Florida's education system. She began her career as a Plantation High School classroom teacher before she worked her way up to principal. While in Florida, she served six years as Deputy Superintendent and six years as North Area Superintendent for Broward County Public Schools. Most recently, she served as the Senior Director of EXCELerator Schools for The College Board, a program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is dedicated to prepare all students for college.
For more information, visit http://www.fldoe.org/news/2007/2007_12_19.asp.
Hazardous Weather Week
Florida's annual Hazardous Weather Awareness Week will take place Feb. 2-9, 2008. The week's activities include the announcement of the winners of the statewide essay contest for high school students conducted by the Department of Education's Just Read, Florida! office in partnership with the Division of Emergency Management. In addition, the annual Statewide Tornado Drill
will take place Feb. 6, 2008, from 10-10:30 a.m.
If you have any questions or need additional information regarding the statewide essay contest, poster contest, statewide tornado drill or other statewide activities, please contact Jill Jackson in the
Just Read, Florida! office at (850) 245-0503 or visit www.justreadflorida.com/hwaw/.
Best-selling Novelist Lisa See Will Speak at Valencia Community College
Los Angeles-based writer Lisa See is coming to Valencia Community College's East Campus on Jan. 24, 2008. See, whose novels include Dragon Bones, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love, will speak at 2:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center, followed by a book sale and signing.
Her novel, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, is currently number 24 on the New York Times Best Selling Paperback Trade Fiction list. It spent 23 weeks on the Fiction Paperback list in 2006 following its publication. For more information, please contact Wendy Givoglu at 407-582-2218.