News Slices:
National Results Showcase Florida’s Reading Success
Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten Program Students Better Prepared for Kindergarten
High Performing Teacher Bonuses Act
Outstanding School Leaders Honored
Million Voice Project
Grant to Improve School Health Policies Awarded to State Board of Education
Financial Education Program for Families
World Environmental Day Contest
Financial Aid Deadlines Loom

Seeds of Success:
Student Essays Win Two Florida Schools $50,000
Florida Teachers Selected for National Academ
Polk County Schools Recognized for Food Service Excellence
Hillsborough High School Wins Funds for New Program
Seminole State College Nursing Professors Tapped to Develop National Standards

Branching Out:
Online Suicide Prevention Training
Phi Theta Kappa All-Florida Academic Team Awards Ceremony
Promising Pathways: The Road to Best Practices in Autism Conference
University of Central Florida Book Festiva
Florida Association of Staff Development Spring Forum
School Choice Regional Parent Town Hall Meetings
VISIONS XVII Conference
2010 Florida Literacy Conference
Florida School Counselor Association Summer Academy
Interdisciplinary Center for Ongoing Research/Education (ICORE) Summer Institute

 


April 2, 2010

Vol. 4, Issue 7


News Slices


National Results Showcase Florida’s Reading Success
According to results from the 2009 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), Florida’s eighth grade students made significant progress in their overall reading scores this year, tripling the increase seen by the nation since 2007. Florida was one of only nine states to achieve significant increases in eighth grade reading scores, while our fourth-graders continue to outpace their national counterparts in reading by a large margin.

The 2009 NAEP Reading scores indicate that since 2003, Florida’s fourth and eighth grade students have increased their overall reading scores by eight and seven points respectively, compared to a four point gain for the nation’s fourth-graders and a one point gain for eighth-graders. Known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” NAEP measures and reports on the knowledge and skills of America’s fourth, eighth and 12th grade students, providing data about students’ performance in a variety of subject areas at national, regional and state levels. For more information about Florida’s 2009 NAEP Reading performance, visit www.nationsreportcard.gov. For charts depicting Florida’s NAEP Reading results, visit www.fldoe.org/asp/naep/naep2009r.asp.


Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten Program Students Better Prepared for Kindergarten
The 2008-09 Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK) Readiness Rate results show that more than 120,000 Florida students entered kindergarten better prepared this year as a result of their participation in VPK. Children who completed VPK last year performed better on key kindergarten readiness measures than children who did not participate. Additionally, children who only attended a portion of a VPK program outperformed children who had no exposure to the program at all.

All public school kindergarten students are evaluated during the first 30 days of kindergarten using two measures designed to determine readiness for kindergarten. For the 2009-10 school year, the statewide kindergarten screening consisted of a subset of the Early Childhood Observation System (ECHOS™) and the first two measures of the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading (FAIR). For more information about the 2008-09 VPK results, visit https://vpk.fldoe.org/Default2.aspx.


High Performing Teacher Bonuses Act
At the request of Gov. Charlie Crist, two pieces of legislation were filed for the 2010 Legislative Session designed to increase bonuses for educators teaching in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education programs. Senate Bill 1970, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Detert, and House Bill 1287, sponsored by Rep. Tom Grady, would remove the current $2,000 cap on bonuses for teachers in these three programs. In addition, the legislation requires that 100 percent of the funds generated by each program be returned to the generating program. The bill also limits the use of funds to teacher bonuses, examination fees and professional development within the respective program. If the available funds exceed required bonuses, school districts would be required to reallocate any remaining funds to increase bonuses for the teachers whose students generated the funds. To learn more about this bill and other important bills this legislative session, visit Online Sunshine, Florida’s legislative portal, at http://leg.state.fl.us/Welcome/index.cfm?CFID=135084721&CFTOKEN=98059725 or contact your local legislators.


Outstanding School Leaders Honored
Two of Florida’s most exceptional school leaders were recently honored by Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith and Public Schools Chancellor Dr. Frances Haithcock. Cynthia Denise Phillips-Luster, principal of James Stephens International Academy in Lee County was named Florida’s top principal, and Priscilla Ribeiro, formerly assistant principal of Cypress Bay High School and now principal of New River Middle School in Broward County, was named as the state’s top assistant principal. This year’s winning Principal and Assistant Principal of the year were recognized by Governor Charlie Crist as well as members of the Florida House and Senate. The winners were also invited to speak by Commissioner Eric Smith and Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS) Executive Director Bill Montford at this year’s FADSS spring meeting in Tallahassee. The Principal and Assistant Principal Awards for Outstanding Leadership recognize Florida’s top school administrators for their work to increase student academic performance, promote safe learning environments and establish partnerships with parents and community members. For more information about the Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership and the Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award, including a list of district winners, visit http://www.fldoe.org/profdev/rec_prog.asp.


Million Voice Project
Students interested in expressing their views about education and their perception of school can join the Million Voice Project, an initiative sponsored by the Pearson Foundation and leading national education associations. The Project is designed to capture the perspectives of one million students in grades 6-12 and has three components:

  • The MyVoice Survey – Students can share their ideas on how to improve teaching and learning through a survey from the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations. Survey results will foster innovative, meaningful and balanced school reform.
  • New research on student perception from the Pearson Foundation – Prominent thinkers, educators and policymakers will launch a research and writing initiative built around the results from the Million Voice Project. The findings will be published beginning in Sept. 2010.
  • Reporting for participating schools – Each school that participates will receive a customized report of their students and access to tools to help turn data into stronger student aspirations.

Visit www.millionvoice.org to learn more about The Million Voice Project, the MyVoice Survey and the eight conditions that make a difference in a young person’s education.


Grant to Improve School Health Policies Awarded to State Board of Education
The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) has awarded the Florida State Board of Education a $15,000 grant to help educate Liberty City residents on how to combat the prevalence of HIV and AIDS among area youth. Through the grant, the Florida Department of Education will work with the Urban League of Greater Miami to create a specialized toolkit for parents and community members that provides guidance on partnering to create or enhance programs aimed at improving sexual health outcomes among youth. For more information about the HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Program at the Florida Department of Education, visit www.fldoe.org/bii/cshp/Education/HIV_STD/Default.asp.


Financial Education Program for Families
Volunteer USA and the SunTrust Foundation are offering a new family-friendly education program to teach children about the value of money and the importance of wise spending and saving habits. The program includes free parent workshops and lesson plans for third through fifth grade teachers to guide students through the basics of banking, budgeting and saving, and using core math skills. For more information about the program, including lesson plans and worksheets aligned with the state’s math and financial literacy standards, visit http://www.volunteerusafoundation.org/What-We-Do/Training-for-Families-Teens/Financial-Education-for-Families-Program.


World Environmental Day Contest
Schools with students in grades six through 12 are invited to participate in the Project Earth World Environmental Day contest to highlight their school’s efforts to become more environmentally sustainable. Classes of students or clubs can submit a project that shows what steps their school is taking to understand and improve the environmental impacts of their campus and community. Entries must be submitted between March 8 and May 22, 2010, and the winner will be announced and its project featured on the Project Earth Web site on World Environment Day, June 5, 2010. If you have questions about the contest, send them to admin@ProjectEarth.net. For more information about the contest, visit www.projectearth.net.


Financial Aid Deadlines Loom
Several deadlines are fast approaching for scholarship applications. See below for more details:

April 15, 2010 – Application deadline for the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program.
The Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship was established by the United States Congress to reward outstanding high school seniors who show promise of continued academic achievement. The maximum award amount is $1,500 per year for this program offered through the U.S. Department of Education.

May 15, 2010 – Processing deadline to file the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid for the Rosewood Family Scholarship and the José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant.
Visit www.fafsa.ed.gov to access the application.

The Rosewood Family Scholarship provides financial assistance for a maximum of twenty-five eligible students who attend a state university, public community college, or public postsecondary vocational-technical school. Eligible students must be direct descendants of Rosewood families affected by the incidents of January 1923.

The José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund is a need-based merit scholarship that provides financial assistance to eligible students of Hispanic origin who will attend Florida public or eligible private institutions. Applicants for undergraduate study must apply during their senior year of high school.

May 30, 2010 – Deadline for Bright Futures reinstatement/restoration applications.
Eligible students who did not receive Bright Futures scholarship funds during the last academic year can apply for a one-time restoration or reinstatement of their scholarship. The circumstances of each individual will dictate the action to be taken. If you have questions about whether you qualify for a restoration or reinstatement, visit www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org, call (888) 827-2004 or send an e-mail to osfa@fldoe.org.

Information about Florida’s financial aid programs can be found at www.floridastudentfinancialAid.org.


Seeds of Success

Student Essays Win Two Florida Schools $50,000
Classrooms in two Florida schools will soon have new technology equipment thanks to inspiring essays submitted by their students and teachers. Sunrise Elementary in Orlando and Miami Coral Park Senior High School in Miami will each receive $50,000 through Samsung’s Four Seasons of Hope contest. The essay contest asked participants to describe how better technology would improve the learning environment at their schools and enhance the education process. Essay winners will receive a Samsung Go™ Netbook and their local schools will be outfitted with Samsung products, Microsoft software, DIRECTV educational television programming, cash grants and Best Buy gift cards. For more information on the Samsung Four Seasons of Hope contest, visit http://www.fourseasonsofhope.com/us/4seasons_hope/index.html.


Florida Teachers Selected for National Academy
Twenty Florida teachers have been selected to attend the 2010 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers’ Academy in July 2010. The Academy is a one-week, all-expense-paid intensive professional development program for third through fifth grade teachers to enhance their math and science content knowledge. Golfer Phil Mickelson and his wife Amy created the Academy in partnership with ExxonMobil with the goal of motivating students to pursue careers in science and math. For a list of teachers selected, visit http://www.fldoe.org/SuccessStories/2010/03-26.asp. For more information about the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers’ Academy, visit www.sendmyteacher.com.


Polk County Schools Recognized for Food Service Excellence
The Maryland-based School Nutrition Association has named the Polk Public Schools Foodservice Department as a 2009 District of Excellence. The recognition is based on nutrition, nutrition education, communications, marketing, administration and operations. Polk is the only Florida school district to be honored and is now eligible for the District of the Year Award which offers a grant up to $25,000. For more information about the award, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/Content.aspx?id=2408.


Hillsborough High School Wins Funds for New Program
Tampa Bay Technical School in Hillsborough County was awarded $3,000 from EnviroFocus Technologies, a local battery recycling company, to be used with the school’s new Alternative Power and Energy program. The program includes a study of alternate energy sources and how they are utilized to produce power and electricity. The school will purchase solar amenities and other items to get the program started.


Seminole State College Nursing Professors Tapped to Develop National Standards
Two nursing professors from Seminole State College have been selected from nursing faculty throughout the nation to participate in a national conference aimed at developing nursing education strategies. Latoya Wells and Marilyn Wells of the college’s Altamonte Springs Campus will take part in the Quality and Safety Education in Nursing Education Consortium Institute in Washington, D.C., later this month to develop a curriculum that ensures nursing graduates have the knowledge necessary to promote patient safety and quality of care. For more information about Seminole State College’s nursing programs, including the program’s 16 state-of-the-art health care labs and high-tech patient simulators, visit www.seminolestate.edu/nursing.


Branching Out


Online Suicide Prevention Training
www.bakeracttraining.org

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), in partnership with the Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida, has developed an online training course to help reduce incidents of suicide in the state. The course is based on research and best practice recommendations that are widely accepted among mental health professionals. The training is available to anyone at no charge and is offered alongside several training modules on Florida’s Baker Act. The courses and more information can be found at www.bakeracttraining.org. If you have questions about the training course, contact Jackie Beck with the DCF Bureau of Adult Mental Health at (850) 921-5699.


Phi Theta Kappa All-Florida Academic Team Awards Ceremony
April 8, 2010
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel
Orlando, Fla.


As part of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Annual Conference, Florida’s College System Chancellor Dr. Will Holcombe, in partnership with PTK Florida Region, will host an awards ceremony on April 8, 2010, in Orlando to recognize members of the PTK All-Florida Academic Team. Students will be honored for their academic achievement, leadership and service to the community. This year’s team includes 103 students who represent Florida’s state, community and junior colleges, one independent college and one independent university. For more information, including registration for the annual conference and the awards ceremony, visit www.fldoe.org/cc/Students/PTK_team/.


Promising Pathways: The Road to Best Practices in Autism Conferenc
April 10, 2010
Florida Gulf Coast University
Ft. Myers, Fla.


National experts in the research and study of autism and autism spectrum disorders will address a variety of topics such as the causes of autism, evaluation and treatment, early identification and intervention, and treatments for symptoms associated with autism. There is no charge for the conference and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available. For complete details, including registration information, visit www.fgcu.edu/events/promisingpathways/.


University of Central Florida Book Festival
April 16 – 17, 2010
University of Central Florida Arena
Orlando, Fla.


The University of Central Florida (UCF) will host its inaugural book festival April 16 – 17, 2010, at the UCF Arena in Orlando. The festival will bring more than 60 renowned local and national authors for exhibits, meet-the-author forums, book signings and sales, and a wide variety of activities especially for children. The event is open to the public and admission and parking are free. For more information on the UCF Book Festival, visit www.bookfestival.ucf.edu or call (407) 823-2835.


Florida Association of Staff Development Spring Forum
April 19 – 20, 2010
Crowne Plaza Melbourne Oceanfront
Melbourne, Fla


The Florida Association for Staff Development (FASD) Spring Forum will be held at the Crowne Plaza Melbourne Oceanfront in Melbourne April 19 – 20, 2010. All educational personnel are invited to join FASD members to participate in a variety of learning opportunities related to improved professional development that support student achievement. For more information, visit www.fasdonline.org.


School Choice Regional Parent Town Hall Meetings
April 27, 2010 – Parental Involvement
May 25, 2010 – Stop the Summer Slide


A series of town hall meetings provides parents with information about the variety of public school choices available for their child’s education and ways they can partner with schools to support academic success. The meetings, sponsored by the School Choice Parent Advisory Council in coordination with school district representatives and staff from School Choice Parent Resource Centers, will be held regionally in Quincy, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami and Tampa. For further information about the town hall meetings, including locations, visit www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/vpsc/.


VISIONS XVII Conference
April 28 – 30, 2010
Westin Hotel
Lake Mary, Fla.


The Florida Special Needs Association and the Florida Federation Division on Career Development and Transition announce their annual VISIONS XVII Conference, “A Life of Possibilities.” Sessions include middle, high and postsecondary school initiatives, career and technical education, business and employment, interagency collaboration and more. For more information about the conference, visit http://coe.fau.edu/fldcdt/. Conference questions can be directed to Gerald Frisby with the Florida Special Needs Association at frisbyg@daytonastate.edu. For questions about registration, contact Patrick Mulvilhill, Registration Chair, at (352) 262-2502 or PatMFL@aol.com.


2010 Florida Literacy Conference
May 5 – 7, 2010
South Seas Island Resort
Captiva, Fla.


The Florida Literacy Coalition will hold its 2010 Conference in Captiva on May 5 – 7, 2010, with the theme of Open Books Open Minds. Concurrent sessions will provide practitioners and volunteers with tools and resources that enhance literacy programs throughout the state. Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education for the U.S. Department of Education, will deliver the keynote address at the opening general session. For further information about the conference, visit www.floridaliteracy.org/floridaliteracyconference.html.


Florida School Counselor Association Summer Academy
June 25 – 27, 2010
The Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village
St. Augustine, Fla.


“School Counselors: Preparing for a New Decade” is the theme for this year’s Florida School Counselor Association Summer Academy. The Academy will provide relevant and quality professional development for school counselors on topics that include data, accountability, the electronic Personal Education Planner (e-PEP) and more. For more information about the conference, visit www.fla-schoolcounselor.org/2010Academy/.


Interdisciplinary Center for Ongoing Research/Education (ICORE) Summer Institute
July 11 – 23, 2010
University of Florida
Gainesville, Fla.


The University of Florida Center for Precollegiate Education and Training is now accepting applications for an exciting new professional development opportunity for Florida high school teachers. The Interdisciplinary Center for Ongoing Research/Education (ICORE) partnership aims to engage teachers in hands-on research with scientists to identify, understand and manage emerging pathogens, incorporate the ideas into classroom-ready modules, and present the results of their experiences to colleagues at professional meetings. There is no registration fee, however seats are limited. For further information, visit www.cpet.ufl.edu/ICORE/default.html or contact Julie Bokor at julie@cpet.ufl.edu or (352) 392-2310.


 
 
 
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