Department of Education Launches Commissioner’s Summer Reading Adventure
A partnership between the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of State will give students looking to gain a head start to the 2010 school year a new tool to help them broaden their imaginations, stay engaged and learn throughout the summer. The Commissioner’s Summer Reading Adventure encourages students to use an interactive resource called “Find a Book,” a free online book search developed by MetaMetrics® that will help them create reading lists based on their interests and reading ability, and make it easier to locate their selections at local public libraries. Tens of thousands of fiction and nonfiction books, including titles from this year’s Just Read, Florida! Recommended Summer Reading List, are available in “Find a Book.” The book search is unique in that it matches a book’s text complexity with a student’s reading ability using Lexile measures, the country’s most widely adopted reading metrics.
For more information about Lexile measures and to search for books using “Find a Book,” visit www.Lexile.com. To borrow books found in “Find a Book” – and to participate in summer reading activities – use the WorldCat link in the book search or locate your nearest public library at www.flelibrary.org using the “Find a Library” search tool. For the Department of Education’s Just Read, Florida! Recommended Summer Reading List, visit http://www.justreadfamilies.org/.
Access To Summer Reading Books Available Through Sylvan Dell
Sylvan Dell, publisher of children’s books, is now offering free online access to selected titles on the 2010 Just Read, Florida! Summer Reading List. Children can enjoy the e-books from their home computer or in a classroom environment. Interested schools, districts and teachers have two levels of e-Book access which feature English and Spanish text and audio – access to the six Sylvan Dell books on the recommended reading list or access to the complete 50-title eBook site license. To view the six recommended reading list titles, log on to www.sylvandellpublishing.com/sitelicense.php?sc=JXPYI3. For more information about Sylvan Dell’s eBooks, visit www.sylvandellpublishing.com.
2010 School-Related Employee of the Year Finalists Named
Five inspiring employees have been named as finalists for the 2010 Florida School-Related Employee of the Year Award. Each finalist was chosen for their unique ability to help their schools be successful and the outstanding service they provide to the teachers and students they work alongside. The statewide winner will be announced next month by Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith.
The finalists are:
The Florida School Related Employee of the Year Program recognizes outstanding education support personnel for the significant contributions they make to their schools and district school systems. Award selection is based on the nominees’ efforts go beyond the basic requirement of their duties and that contribute to the academic success of students. The statewide winner receives an award of $1,000 from the Department of Education. Each finalist receives $500 and each district nominee receives $200.
Distinguished Title I Schools Honored
At its meeting on May 18, 2010, the State Board of Education recognized nine Title I schools for their superior performance in raising student achievement and promoting academic progress for all students. Each of the schools met 100 percent of federal Adequate Yearly Progress requirements and achieved the school performance grade of “A” or “B” for five consecutive years. Title I Distinguished Schools serve as models for and provide support to other Title I schools, especially those in need of improvement. For more information on these special schools, including student achievement data and a description of the strategies that led to their improvement, visit www.fldoe.org/board/meetings/2010_05_18/covercommreport.pdf (PDF).
2010 Literacy Leaders Announced
The Florida Department of Education’s Just Read, Florida! office recently announced the winners of the 2010 Literacy Awards. Fifteen statewide winners were chosen from 164 district nominations based on their commitment to literacy and their proven ability to promote and teach others about the fundamental skill of reading. Florida school districts were invited to nominate outstanding literacy leaders in four categories for consideration as regional finalists. After a comprehensive selection process, the top two in each category were interviewed and a winner selected. Each regional winner received a commemorative certificate and statewide winners received a plaque in appreciation of their enduring commitment to literacy. For details about the 2010 Just Read, Florida Literacy Awards, including the statewide and regional winners, visit www.justreadflorida.com/literacy-awards.asp. Congratulations to the winners!
Florida Awarded Federal Grant For Data System
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Florida $10 million to expand the state’s longitudinal data system to include links to pre-K, postsecondary and workforce data. The grant, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, supports the development and implementation of data systems that allow states to examine student progress from early childhood through postsecondary education or a career. For more information about the grant, visit http://nces.ed.gov/programs/SLDS/fy09arra_announcement.asp.
Digital Literacy Gets Boost From Public-Private Partnership
A new partnership between Microsoft and Workforce Florida, Inc., will provide free technology training and certification through the state’s 24 Regional Workforce Boards. The Microsoft Elevate America initiative complements Workforce Florida’s ongoing efforts to bolster digital access and literacy, and provides resources for individuals and employers seeking talent development resources. The program is expected to provide up to one million vouchers nationwide for Microsoft e-learning courses and select Microsoft certification exams at little or no cost to recipients. For more information about the Elevate America initiative, visit http://elevateamerica.floridajobs.org.
Deadline For Input On The Florida Educator Accomplished Practices Coming Soon
Education professionals, teachers and parents are urged to offer their suggestions for revising the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAP). The standards form the core basis for all Florida teacher preparation programs. The revisions will further refine the state’s standards for effective instructional practice and establish the core practices for teacher appraisal systems under the state’s Race to the Top plan. Visit www.fldoe.org/profdev/FEAPSRevisions/ to view the draft and submit your feedback by June 15, 2010.
School Resource Grant Available
A grant that provides a one-year free trial of e-books for schools and libraries is available from Sylvan Dell publishers. The grant gives access to 50 book titles, each of which come with auto-flip, auto-read and selectable English and Spanish text and audio. Participating users are given a desktop icon that can be placed on all building computers and secure school or library websites, as well as a six-digit site code for easy access, and schools are encouraged to send set-up options home with children to enable families to have access from home. Applying for the grant is easy – interested libraries and schools, including private schools and homeschool groups, only need to complete the short online application for the one-year free site license that provides unlimited access to all eBooks. For more information about the grant, visit www.sylvandellpublishing.com/ResourceGrant.htm.
ThinkQuest International Competition 2011
The ThinkQuest International Competition challenges teams of between one and six students to solve a real-world problem by applying their critical thinking, communication and technology skills. Participants may enroll in the following competition events: ThinkQuest Projects, Digital Media, and Application Development.
In the ThinkQuest Projects event, participants will:
In the ThinkQuest Digital Media event, participants will:
In the ThinkQuest Application Development event, participants will:
The competition is tentatively scheduled to run from August 2010 through April 2011. For more information about the competition, age divisions, evaluation guidelines, and prizes, visit the ThinkQuest Competition portal at www.thinkquest.org/competition/.
Seeds of Success