News Slices:
State Graduation Rates Reach New Heights; Dropout Rate Continues to Decline
Florida Recognized for Data Collection and Quality
Florida Virtual School Creates New Learning System
Hillsborough County Schools Recipient of Major Grant
WeatherFest 2010 To Be Held in Tallahassee
Nominate Students for Children’s Week “Kids Only” Town Hall Meeting
Arts for Life! Scholarship
The Effectiveness of Nonviolent Civic Action Essay Contest

Seeds of Success:
Two Florida Educators Named Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows
Brevard County Elementary School Scores Big
Orange County School Garners Donation
Lee County Student Wins Safety Poster Contest
Pensacola Junior College Marketing Team Wins State Awards
Lake-Sumter Community College Instructor Named “Professor of the Year”
Tallahassee Community College Snags Awards in Model UN Conference
Technological Education Awards Announced

Branching Out:
Technical Assistance Meeting for Potential Supplemental Educational Services Providers
Florida Grants Developers Network K-12 Winter Conference
Florida Future Educator’s of America Conference
47th Annual Junior Science, Engineering and Humanities Symposium
Florida Association of School Nurses 15th Annual Conference

 


December 11, 2009

Vol. 3, Issue 24


News Slices


State Graduation Rates Reach New Heights; Dropout Rate Continues to Decline
Florida’s graduation rate reached a record level this year by climbing more than three percentage points to 76.3 percent, despite the removal of GED recipients from the calculation. The progress experienced this year is attributed to increased graduation rates among Hispanic and African-American students (up 4.5 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively), almost double the 2.3 percent increase experienced by White students last year.

The graduation rate is calculated using a formula recommended by the National Governor’s Association (NGA) which includes standard and special diplomas but excludes all GEDs. In September 2009, the State Board of Education approved a new statewide high school grading formula which incorporates graduation rates into the grading of high schools using the NGA graduation rate calculation. Beginning this year, the NGA rate replaces Florida’s previous calculation formula which included all GEDs.

Florida’s dropout rate continued its decline to a record low of 2.3 percent. This is a decrease of 0.3 percentage points compared to last year and 0.7 points since 2004-05. Compared to last year, Hispanic and African-American students decreased their dropout rate by 0.6 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively. White students decreased their dropout rate by 0.3 percentage points during the same time period.

For more information about Florida’s 2008-09 graduation and dropout rates, visit http://fldoe.org/eias/eiaspubs/word/gradrate0809.doc (Word).


Florida Recognized for Data Collection and Quality
Florida was one of only 11 states recently recognized by the Data Quality Campaign for having a comprehensive longitudinal data system that effectively tracks student progress from preschool through college. States were evaluated based on 10 key elements necessary to build a high quality data system. For the third year in a row, Florida has met each one of the rigorous criteria. The campaign also identified important actions that each state will need to take in promoting the use of data. Based on key elements of Florida’s Next Generation Strategic Plan, the state has, or is in the process of implementing all outlined recommendations. To view the Data Quality Campaign survey on state longitudinal data systems, visit www.dataqualitycampaign.org/resources/768.


Florida Virtual School Creates New Learning System
The Florida Virtual School recently announced a partnership with Giunti Labs to create a state-of-the-art Learning Content Management System (LCMS). The new system will enable current course content to be transformed into personalized learning opportunities for each student via a range of delivery methods – traditional, virtual school setting, mobile devices or the learning management system supported by their school. For more information about the LCMS at the Florida Virtual School, contact Jodie Pozo-Olano at (540) 349-2311 or Jodie@Sequoiapr.com.


Hillsborough County Schools Recipient of Major Grant
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently awarded Hillsborough County Schools a $100 million Intensive Partnership grant to support effective teaching and raise student achievement. The district won the award after a competitive application process that recognized the district’s commitment to significant reform and the collaborative working relationship between the school district and the Classroom Teachers Association. The grant will be used over the next seven years.

“My most sincere congratulations go out to Superintendent MaryEllen Elia and the Hillsborough County School District for this tremendous achievement and to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whose philanthropic efforts have raised international awareness that every student deserves an opportunity to succeed,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “This incredible grant will enable one of Florida’s largest and most progressive school districts to enact innovative reforms that have the ability to strengthen and reenergize the teaching profession. By capitalizing on the positive relationships it has built with local education stakeholders and its forward-thinking approaches to education, the district has truly proven itself to be deserving of such an award. I’m eager to see the outcomes of Hillsborough’s groundbreaking work and the impacts their reforms will have on the future of education in our nation.”


WeatherFest 2010 To Be Held in Tallahassee
Families throughout Florida are invited to experience WeatherFest 2010, a one-of-a-kind weather-focused event taking place Jan. 30 in Tallahassee. Parents and children can tour the National Weather Service office, participate in a simulated severe weather event and explore emergency management support vehicles. Mark your calendars and visit www.srh.noaa.gov/tlh for more information.


Nominate Students for Children’s Week “Kids Only” Town Hall Meeting
The Children’s Week “Kids Only” Town Hall Meeting provides a forum for students from across the state to pose poignant questions to the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet about important children’s issues in Florida. The 20-member Cabinet, led by Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, will hear from a student panel selected from a statewide pool of applicants. The event will take place Tuesday, April 13, 2010, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and is free and open to the public.

To nominate a middle or high school student to participate on the 12-member student panel, download the Student Panel Application at www.childrensweek.org/townhallmeeting. Completed Student Panel Applications must be received by Monday, Feb. 1, 2010. For more information about the "Kids Only" Town Hall Meeting, download the “Kids Only” fact sheet at www.childrensweek.org/events/factsataglance.pdf (PDF) or contact Jason Zaborske at (850) 251-7274 or e-mail info@childrensweek.org.


Arts for Life! Scholarship
The Foundation for Excellence in Education is accepting applications for the Arts for Life! scholarship from graduating high school seniors for their outstanding achievement in the arts. To be considered for the scholarship, public, private or home education program students must submit a completed application, a brief essay explaining “How the arts have positively influenced my life,” and a sample of their work in creative writing, dance, drama, music or visual arts. Each of the 25 winners will receive a $1,000 cash scholarship toward their pursuit of the arts in higher education, and have an opportunity to showcase their arts discipline through performance and exhibition at a luncheon in their honor. The deadline to submit an application is Feb. 1, 2010. Contact the Foundation for Excellence in Education at (850) 391-4090 or visit www.ExcelinEd.org for more information.


The Effectiveness of Nonviolent Civic Action Essay Contest
High school students in grades nine through 12 are encouraged to submit an entry for the Effectiveness of Nonviolent Civic Action essay contest sponsored by the National Institute of Peace. Essays must be no longer than 1,500 words and consist of three sections which lay out and develop a position in response to the essay contest question. Each student must have a contest coordinator who can review their essay and act as the key contact between the participant and the Institute. One national award totaling $10,000 will be conferred as well as two other national awards worth $2,500 and $5,000 respectively, in addition to 53 state awards each worth $1,000. The deadline for submitting an essay is Feb. 2, 2010. For more information, including the essay question, comprehensive guidelines and submission requirements visit www.usip.org/npec. A study guide can also be found at www.usip.org/npec/sg10.pdf (PDF).


Seeds of Success

Two Florida Educators Named Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows
Kevin Simmons, a high school science teacher at Eagle’s View Academy in Jacksonville and Anthonette Peña, an eighth grade science teacher with Palm Beach County Public Schools were recently selected as National Science Foundation Fellows through the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program. Both educators were among a national pool of 24 K-12 science, technology and mathematics teachers who will provide practical insights and real world perspectives to the legislative and executive branches of the Federal government. For more information about the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowships, visit www.trianglecoalition.org/ein.htm.


Brevard County Elementary School Scores Big
Virginia Hamilton, a teacher of gifted and academically talented students at Tropical Elementary School in Brevard County recently won the Oasis of the Seas Getaway contest sponsored by Good Morning America. Canine Commandos, a program Hamilton created seven years ago, was recognized for the school’s fifth and sixth grade students’ work in obedience training for dogs typically overlooked for adoption because of undesirable behaviors. As a result of the publicity from winning the contest, Hamilton was contacted by the Iams Company offering to partner with the program. For more information on Canine Commandos, contact Virginia Hamilton at Hamilton.virginia@brevardschools.org.


Orange County School Garners Donation
Tangelo Park Elementary School in Orange County recently received $51,000 from Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., through its Bacardi Cares campaign. With help from the school’s Community Partner in Education Harris Rosen, President and Chief Operating Officer of Rosen Hotels and Resorts, the donation will allow the school to upgrade technology in classrooms and replace cafeteria and classroom furniture. Bacardi also donated art supplies for every student in support of the school’s motto “Excellence is the Only Option.”


Lee County Student Wins Safety Poster Contest
Tangi Perry, a fifth grade student at J. Colin English Elementary School in Lee County was recently named the state winner for the Florida WalkSafe™ Poster Contest. The WalkSafe™ program is an elementary school-based program that teaches children the benefits of walking to and from school safely. Tangi won the contest by creating a poster using the theme Walk with your Eyes that depicted two “eyes” walking across a street. She will receive a pair of sneakers and a laptop computer, and her poster will be adopted as the official WalkSafe™ logo for next year. To see the winning entry and for more information about WalkSafe™, visit www.walksafe.us/news.html.


Pensacola Junior College Marketing Team Wins State Awards
The Pensacola Junior College marketing team won nine top awards at the Florida Association of Community Colleges Annual Convention Nov. 18 – 20 in Orlando. The team won first place awards in electronic the newsletter, poster, press release/story pitch, direct mail and redesign categories, and second place awards in advertising/print, catalog, athletic media guide and single sheet flyer. For a complete list of winners, visit www.fldoe.org/successstories.


Lake-Sumter Community College Instructor Named “Professor of the Year”
Sybil Brown, a mathematics instructor at Lake-Sumter Community College, was named the Florida Association of Community College’s “Professor of the Year” at their annual convention held Nov. 18 – 20 in Orlando. Brown was recognized for her teaching style, subject knowledge and presentation skills as she competed with two other finalists during the conference. She has been a full-time instructor at the college since 2005.


Tallahassee Community College Snags Awards in Model UN Conference
Tallahassee Community College’s (TCC) Model United Nations, an internationally recognized academic team that participates in simulations of the United Nations, recently earned high marks at the Southern Regional Model United Nations Conference in Atlanta, Ga. Despite vigorous competition by 43 colleges and universities from across the nation, TCC was awarded a Distinguished Delegation Award for its representation of the Kingdom of Norway and an Honorable Delegation Award for its representation of Palestine. Students debated international politics and policy, and discussed topics such as the regulation of multi-national corporations in free trade zones, the return and reintegration of refugees and the democratization of the United Nations structure. For more information about TCC’s Model United Nations, visit http://www.tcc.cc.fl.us/about_tcc/student_affairs/departments/
campus_life/student_clubs_student_organizations_council_soc/
model_united_nations_mun
.


Technological Education Awards Announced
The Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), a National Science Foundation Regional Center for Advanced Technical Education located on the Brandon campus of Hillsborough Community College, recently presented three awards at the Manufacturers Association of Florida’s Sixth Annual Summit. The FLATE awards recognize contributions made by industry leaders and educators in training and educating a technology workforce in Florida.

Recipients of the awards are:

  • Industry Distinguished Service Award – Mike Ennis, a manufacturing engineer with the Harris Corporation and adjunct professor at Brevard Community College. Ennis teaches applied mechanics in the Harris-BCC associate of science degree in engineering technology.
  • Manufacturing Secondary Educator of the Year – Jim Mathews, an engineering technology teacher at Sarasota High School. Mathews has more than 25 years of manufacturing and technology experience as an engineer, strategist and manager of technology businesses.
  • Manufacturing Postsecondary Educator of the Year – Norm Brahs, head machining instructor at Atlantic Technical Center in Coconut Creek. Brahs has been an energetic and enthusiastic leader in the Florida First Robotics competitions and works closely with Sarasota High School in creating an apprentice program.

For more information about the FLATE awards, visit http://www.fl-ate.org/news/press-releases/Florida%20Manufacturers%20Awards.pdf.


Branching Out


Technical Assistance Meeting for Potential Supplemental Educational Services Providers
Jan. 11, 2010
The Peabody Orlando
Orlando, Fla.

Potential applicants and current providers interested in becoming state-approved Supplemental Educational Services providers for the 2010-2011 school year are invited to attend a technical assistance meeting on Jan. 11, 2010, in Orlando. The meeting, hosted by the Department of Education’s Bureau of Student Assistance, is specifically designed to assist providers in the application and approval process. For more information about the meeting, visit www.fldoe.org/flbpso/nclbchoice/ses/ses_meeting.asp or contact Anna Moore at (850) 245-0479 or via e-mail at anna.moore@fldoe.org.


Florida Grants Developers Network K-12 Winter Conference
Jan. 21 – 22, 2010
Ocala Hilton
Ocala, Fla.


The Florida Grants Developers Network K-12 will hold its Winter Conference in Ocala Jan. 21–22, 2010. Topics related to federal and state grant programs will be discussed and analyzed by leading school district grant professionals. For more information, visit www.fgdnk12.org.


Florida Future Educator’s of America Conference
Jan. 22 – 24, 2010
Caribe Royale Hotel
Orlando, Fla.


The Florida Future Educator’s of America (FFEA) will hold their annual conference for high school and postsecondary chapters in Orlando Jan. 22 – 24, 2010, with the theme “To Teach a Child is to Change the World.” Florida Teachers of the Year and other award winning educators will lead informative and hands-on sessions that promote education as a career. For more information about the conference, including registration, visit http://www.fldoe.org/profdev/conference.asp or contact Chadwick Myrick at (800) 832-2435 or edrecruit@fldoe.org.


47th Annual Junior Science, Engineering and Humanities Symposium
Jan. 24 – 26, 2010
University of Florida
Gainesville, Fla.


Twenty students in grades 11 and 12 will present their research projects in competition for scholarship prizes at the 47th Annual Junior Science, Engineering and Humanities Symposium at the University of Florida (UF) Jan. 24 – 26, 2010. The symposium also features visits to more than 65 labs across the university campus, science presentations by UF faculty, oral and poster presentations by students in grades 9 – 12, and music and theatre performances. Individuals wishing to attend can register by visiting www.cpet.ufl.edu/jsehs. For more information, contact Deborah Paulin with UF’s Center for Precollegiate Education and Training at (352) 392-2310.


Florida Association of School Nurses 15th Annual Conference
Feb. 5 – 6, 2010
Orlando Marriott in Lake Mary
Lake Mary, Fla.


The Florida Association of School Nurses 15th Annual Conference will be held in Lake Mary Feb. 5 – 6, 2010. The conference will provide an opportunity for school nurses to network and learn from their colleagues and others in the medical field. For more information, visit http://www.fasn.net/2010stateconference.html.


 
 
 
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