September 04, 2009
Vol. 3, Issue 17
Florida’s AP and SAT Participation on the Rise
Florida saw increases in both participation and performance on the SAT this year according to information released on Aug. 25 by the College Board. The state’s combined SAT reading and math score climbed two points to 995 in 2009, with a record 100,179 students taking the college entrance exam.
The results also indicate that Florida’s Hispanic and African-American students are outperforming their national counterparts on the reading and mathematics sections of the SAT by 42 points and seven points, respectively. Florida’s participation on the SAT continues to outpace the nation with 58 percent of graduates having taken the test compared to 46 percent nationally. Minority student participation also continues to be high, representing 48 percent of all test takers, compared to 40 percent for the nation.
For the fourth year in a row, Florida had the greatest one-year increase in the number of public school Advanced Placement (AP) exam-takers when compared to all other states. In addition to large increases in the number of test takers, the state also experienced a 13.7 percent increase in the number of AP exams being scored 3-5 (passing range) compared to a 9.4 increase for the nation, according to the College Board.
Minority student participation has helped to fuel our state’s growing AP success. Florida continues to have the greatest number of African-American AP test takers and the greatest number of AP exams scored 3-5 when compared to all other states. Florida also ranks third among all states in the number of Hispanic AP test takers and the number of test takers scoring a 3-5.
For more details on Florida’s performance on the SAT and AP, visit www.fldoe.org/evaluation.
Florida Students Challenged to Work on Real-World Engineering Solutions
Chancellor of Public Schools, Dr. Frances Haithcock joined Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp Aug. 25 to announce that Florida is one of 25 states nationwide participating in the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Real World Design Challenge (RWDC). The annual event provides high school students in grades nine through 12 the opportunity to work on real-world engineering challenges in a team format. The RWDC presents student teams with a challenge that confronts one of the nation’s leading industries; this year the focus is on aeronautics and energy usage.
Participating students will have a chance to apply the lessons of the classroom to the technical problems that are being faced in the workplace, and utilize professional quality computer-aided design software to develop their solutions. Teachers participating in the challenge are also able to obtain professional development opportunities as well as software engineering tools valued at nearly $1 million.
To learn more about the Real World Design Challenge, visit http://www.scied.science.doe.gov/RWDC/index.html. Districts and schools interested in participating may contact Sally Sanders with the Florida Department of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2009 Fitness Challenge Winners Announced
Governor Charlie Crist announced eight elementary and eight middle schools as the winners of the 2009 Governor’s Fitness Challenge. The announcement was made in Tampa on Aug. 20 during a meeting of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. The Governor also launched a new Fitness Challenge Web site at www.GovernorsFitnessChallenge.com that will allow students easier access to register for the Fitness Challenge, track their progress and see the results.
Eight public or private schools with at least 50 percent of students participating in the challenge were randomly selected to receive $2,500 to purchase sports or fitness equipment. Eight additional public schools that met the 50 percent participation requirement and also demonstrated improvement in students’ fitness performance areas were randomly selected to receive $5,000. Activities for the Fitness Challenge were developed in conjunction with in-kind support from Titus Sports Academy, a sports conditioning and training center. A grant from SunTrust Banks of Florida Foundation provided the award funding for the winning schools to purchase sports or fitness equipment.
Elementary and middle schools throughout the state are encouraged to participate in the 2009-10 Governor’s Fitness Challenge. For more information or to register, visit www.GovernorsFitnessChallenge.com.
Winners of the 2009 Governor’s Fitness Challenge are as follows:
- $5,000 School Recipients
- Gemini Elementary, Brevard County
- Parkway Elementary, Miami-Dade County
- Frontier Elementary, Palm Beach County
- Freeport Elementary, Walton County
- Bell Middle, Gilchrist County
- Cecil E. Gray Middle, Lake County
- Dunnellon Middle, Marion County
- Callahan Middle, Nassau County
- $2,500 School Recipients
- Barbara Hawkins Elementary, Miami-Dade County
- Manatee School of Arts & Sciences, Manatee County
- Laurel Nokomis School, Sarasota County
- Westside Elementary, Volusia County
- Nautilus Middle, Miami-Dade County
- Andover Middle, Miami-Dade County
- Dowdell Middle, Hillsborough County
- McLaughlin Middle School & Fine Arts Academy, Polk County
National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest Deadline Right Around the Corner!
The National Association for Pupil Transportation invites all public, private and parochial school students in grades K-8 to participate in the National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest. Posters and slogans must harmonize with the 2009 poster contest theme “Cross in View, It’s the Right Thing to Do!” and must contain original drawings, have a positive approach that demonstrates proper school bus safety behavior and be the exclusive work of the student. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 18, 2009, and all submissions should be sent to the Florida Department of Education, School Transportation Management, 325 W. Gaines St., Room 824, Tallahassee, Fla., 32399-0400.
For more information about the National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest, visit http://www.napt.org/.
Read for the Record on October 8
The simple question, “Will you read me a story?” can be your invitation to celebrate the joy of reading with a child. Read for the Record is an opportunity to bring school children together with other youth and adults to all read the same book on the same day. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a very popular book by author Eric Carle, will take center stage on Oct. 8, 2009, as Teen Trendsetters around the state will share the book at the elementary schools where they mentor. Visit www.readfortherecord.org to register your school to Read for the Record on Oct. 8!
As part of the celebration, Volunteer USA is partnering with the Pearson Foundation to sponsor a fun essay contest that encourages elementary teachers and Teen Trendsetters mentors to submit their best event idea based on characters in the book. The prize for the top 10 winning entries is a set of 100 books to be given to local Pre-K or kindergarten classes as designated by the winners. The deadline to submit entries is Sept. 17, 2009, and should be sent by e-mail to Contest@VolunteerUSAFund.org.
New Driver License and ID Requirements Set To Take Effect
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has unveiled a statewide education campaign, Gather.Go.Get, to help citizens prepare for upcoming changes to driver license and identification (ID) card requirements. Beginning Jan. 10, 2010, Floridians renewing or obtaining a new license or ID will need to show proof of identification, Social Security number and two items with a residential address.
A new Web site, www.GatherGoGet.com, has been created that explains how and when to gather documents, go to a driver license office and get a new card. Spanish and Creole versions are available.
For more information about the new requirements, visit www.GatherGoGet.com.
Floridians Urged to Register Emergency Contact Information
With the start of a new school year, now is an ideal time for educators, administrators, parents and students to take advantage of a free service that offers families and loved ones peace of mind. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Emergency Contact Information Program is an easy and secure way to voluntarily provide law enforcement with the names and phone numbers of two contacts to be notified in case of an emergency. Only law enforcement can access the information and assures timely notification in an urgent situation.
From the privacy and comfort of your own home or office, register emergency contact information using your driver license or ID card number by logging on to www.flhsmv.gov.eci. Registration can also be done in person at any driver license office throughout the state; search for locations at http://www.flhsmv.gov/offices/.
Opportunity Knocks for the College-Bound
The American Opportunity Tax Credit, a new program from the federal government, can help parents and students pay expenses for the first four years of college. The program expands and renames the already-existing Hope credit and can be claimed for tuition and certain fees paid for higher education in 2009 and 2010. It is a tax credit of up to $2,500 of the cost of qualified tuition and related expenses. Taxpayers who pay qualified tuition and related expenses and whose federal income tax return has a modified adjusted gross income of less than $80,000 ($160,000 or less for joint filers), are eligible for the credit.
For information about the American Opportunity Tax Credit, visit http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=211309,00.html. For an explanation of other education-related credits and deductions, see Internal Revenue Service Publication 970 at http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/index.html.
Federal Loan Forgiveness Program Available for Public Service Employees
Through the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, Congress created the Public Loan Forgiveness Program whereby borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on their eligible federal student loans. Borrowers must have made 120 payments beginning after Oct. 1, 2007, on those loans under some repayment plans while employed full-time by certain public service employers. Eligible public service employment includes public education, early childhood education, school library or other school-based services, and many others.
For more information about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, visit www.ed.gov/DirectLoan.
Brevard Schools Foundation Snags $140,000 Donation for Math and Science Programs
Harris Corporation recently donated $140,000 to the Brevard Schools Foundation to support mathematics and science programs in Brevard County Public Schools. The funds will be used for art and science fairs, staff development for teachers and administrators, Science Saturday programs in elementary schools, robotics programs, Odyssey of the Mind, Future Problem Solvers and other programs. Harris Corporation also encourages the involvement of employees in mentoring students and sponsors enrichment initiatives.
For more information, visit the Brevard Schools Foundation at www.bsf.brevardschools.org.
Flagler County School Wins School Breakfast Grant
Bunnell Elementary in Flagler County was recently awarded a mini-grant from Action for Healthy Kids with support from the Kellogg’s Corporate Citizenship Fund. The school was one of only 41 schools in 17 states to receive between $500 to $2,000 to increase average daily student participation in school breakfast by 25 percent during the 2009-2010 school year. Bunnell Elementary’s winning proposal includes a “Grab-n Go” component for all students to receive a healthy breakfast in the classroom and educational enrichment activities that enhance the school breakfast experience.
For more information about Action for Healthy Kids, visit http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/.
Broward College President Honored with Diamond Award
Broward College President J. David Armstrong was honored with the 2009 Diamond Award by the South Florida Business Journal. The award pays tribute to the achievements of 10 leaders in the local business community. The recipients will receive their awards at a gala event on Oct. 8 in Ft. Lauderdale.
Former Seminole Community College Trustee to Receive Award
Dede Schaffner, who served on the Seminole Community College (SCC) Board of Trustees for 10 years, has been named the recipient of the 2009 Southern Regional Trustee Leadership Award by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). She will receive the award at the annual meeting of the ACCT in San Francisco Oct. 8-10. As the regional award recipient, Schaffner will be eligible for the prestigious M. Dale Ensign Trustee Leadership Award also to be presented at the meeting.
Schaffner, who is an alumna of SCC and chairman of the Seminole County School Board, served three terms on SCC’s Board of Trustees. A respected advocate of public education, Schaffner also serves on the board of directors for SCC’s Foundation and along with her late husband, Bill, started the first Dream Auction to raise scholarship dollars for SCC students.
Citi Foundation Awards Miami Dade College School of Business its Third Grant to Help Strengthen Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners
Miami Dade College’s School of Business has been awarded its third grant in two years from Citi Foundation in the amount of $50,000. The grant will be used to establish the Small Business Education Program: Opportunity for Success, a beneficial training project for entrepreneurs and small business owners. The college’s business program will be able to extend its community outreach efforts by recruiting participants from low income areas and offer seminars in both English and Spanish.
In previous years, the Citi Foundation has awarded the College grant dollars to be used for similar entrepreneurial-based programs that were mostly targeted to minority business owners in inner-city neighborhoods. This year’s project, which is scheduled to begin in late 2009 or early 2010, will target participants from various communities throughout Miami-Dade County.
For more information about the Small Business Education Program at Miami Dade College, visit www.mdc.edu/business.
Florida Reading Association 47th Annual Conference
Sept. 10 – 13, 2009
Shingle Creek Resort
The Florida Reading Association’s 47th Annual Conference, Reading Rockets You to the Future, will be held Sept. 10 –13, 2009, at the Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla. Topic areas will span grades PreK-12 and will cover all aspects of literacy. Literacy leaders Dr. Janet Allen, Dr. Richard Gentry, Dr. Judith Irvin and Dr. Dorothy Strickland will be presenting sessions. To learn more, visit www.flreads.org.
Florida Association for Staff Development Leadership Conference
September 21 – 23, 2009
Tradewinds Island Grand Resort
St. Petersburg Beach, Fla.
The annual Florida Association for Staff Development (FASD) Leadership Conference will be held at the Tradewinds Island Grand Resort in St. Petersburg Beach, Fla., Sept. 21 – 23, 2009. Educational personnel who have an interest in receiving, delivering or supporting high-quality professional development are invited to join FASD members to participate in activities related to implementing professional development; teacher and school leadership principles which align with high quality professional development; and structures for supporting new educators. The conference will offer a blend of learning opportunities from experts as well as school-based practitioners. For more information, please visit www.fasdonline.org.
Florida Council for the Social Studies' 52nd Annual Conference
Sept. 24 –27, 2009
PGA National Resort and Spa
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
The Florida Council for the Social Studies' 52nd Annual Conference, Go For Broke!, will be held Sept. 24 – 27, 2009, at the PGA Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Supervisors meetings will be held September 24 – 25. Pre-conferences will be held September 25, and will focus on literacy, economic and financial literacy, technology and civic education. To learn more, visit www.fcss.org.
2009 37th FAME Annual Conference: Connecting to the Digital Literacy Hub
September 30 – October 2, 2009
Marriott Orlando World Center Resort
The 37th Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME) Annual Conference is a professional development opportunity for those in the education field. Participants will experience the worthwhile opportunity to freely exchange educational information and ideas. Media specialists, teachers, reading coaches, administrators, public librarians and support staff are encouraged to attend. To learn more about the conference, please contact the FAME Offices at email@example.com or call (850) 531-8351.
Florida Art Education Association 57th Annual Conference
Oct. 15 – 17, 2009
The Florida Hotel and Conference Center
The Florida Art Education Association presents its 57th annual conference for visual art educators in Orlando. With over 130 workshops, general sessions and special events, it is the largest professional development event and networking opportunity for visual art educators in Florida. For more information, visit www.faea.org or call (850) 345-6284.
Florida Council of Teachers of English Professional Development Institute
Oct. 15 – 17, 2009
Renaissance Orlando Hotel Airport
The 2009 Florida Council of Teachers of English Annual Professional Development Conference, “Balancing Reading and the Language Arts,” will be held Oct. 15 – 17, 2009, in Orlando. This year’s theme will inspire educators and help them explore ways of balancing the curriculum to meet the diverse needs of their students. For more information or to register, visit www.fcte.org.
Florida School Counselor Association 2009 Annual Convention
October 29 - 31, 2009
Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld
The 2009 Florida School Counselor Association Convention will include leaders from Florida and throughout the United States. Topics in student academic advancement, career and vocational awareness, as well as counselor education and development will be explored by industry advocates, state officials, counselor educators and professional school counselors. To learn more or to reserve your hotel, visit www.fla-schoolcounselor.org/.
Florida Counseling Association 60th Anniversary Convention
Nov. 19 – 21, 2009
Doubletree Miami Mart/Airport Hotel and Exhibition Center
The Florida Counseling Association will hold their annual convention in Miami in November. The theme, Celebrating All Facets of Counseling, promises continuing education, networking opportunities and renewal for counselors in Florida public schools. Early bird registration rates are still available through Sept. 15. To register or for more information, visit http://www.flacounseling.org/index.cfm.
PROMiSE Leadership in Mathematics and Science Instruction Project
In partnership with the Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (FCR-STEM), the PROMiSE Leadership in Mathematics and Science Instruction (LMSI) professional development project for elementary school leaders is currently accepting registration for training that will begin in Jan. 2010. The purpose of the LMSI project is to prepare Florida’s educators to align their instruction in mathematics and science to the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. The professional development takes place over the course of a year with cohorts of 75 teacher leaders and their principals attending four face-to-face sessions, each spanning two days, which focus on math and science content, instruction and assessment. Participants travelling more than 50 miles from the regional training sessions will have hotel, lodging and incidentals paid through PROMiSE.
Elementary principals are encouraged to register online at http://survey.lsi.fsu.edu/TakeSurvey.aspx?PageNumber=1&SurveyID=741H6m2 prior to Nov. 1, 2009. If selected, principals will be asked to identify a teacher leader who will participate in the training with them. For more information about PROMiSE, visit http://www.flpromise.org/. For inquiries about the project, contact Christi Moss at firstname.lastname@example.org.