October 30, 2009
Vol. 3, Issue 21
Progress on National Math Assessment Maintained
Florida’s fourth and eighth grade students maintained their long-term academic gains in math achievement according to results recently released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The results showed that since 2003, Florida’s fourth and eighth grade students increased their overall math scores by eight points each compared to a five point gain for the nation’s fourth-graders and six points for eighth-graders. The results also show that Florida’s fourth grade minority students and students with disabilities continue to outpace their national counterparts.
Known as the “nation’s report card,” the NAEP is a congressionally mandated project overseen by the National Center for Educational Statistics to continuously monitor the knowledge, skills and performance of the nation’s children and youth. For more information about Florida’s 2009 NAEP math performance, visit www.nationsreportcard.gov. For charts depicting Florida’s NAEP math results, visit www.fldoe.org/asp/naep/naep2009math.asp.
National Gallery of Writing Launched to Highlight the Importance of Writing
The first official National Day of Writing was recently celebrated across Florida to bring attention to the importance of writing in our everyday lives. To showcase the event, the National Council of Teachers of English officially opened their National Gallery of Writing, a living archive of writing available online. Contributors are invited to upload writing samples ranging from short stories and articles to non-fiction work and research papers to the gallery. Nearly 900 galleries – representing big cities and small towns, colleges, schools at every grade level, and public libraries – have already been created with more than 1,500 pieces submitted.
For more information on the National Day of Writing and how to create your own gallery, visit www.galleryofwriting.org.
Florida Recognizes School Bus Safety Week
Schools throughout the state focused on the importance of school bus safety awareness and education as part of National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 19 – 23, 2009. The theme, Avoid Harm, Obey the Stop Arm, reminds motorists of the need to stop when the red lights flash and the stop arms deploy on school buses. During the week, school districts were encouraged to recognize dedicated transportation professionals and bus drivers who work hard to ensure the safe and dependable transportation each day of Florida’s one million students.
To help promote awareness of school bus safety, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides useful tips for drivers and students on its Web site at www.flhsmv.gov/SafetyTips/ChildSafety.htm. To learn more about school bus safety in Florida, visit www.fldoe.org/transportation.
November is Parental Involvement in Education Month
Research shows that family and parental involvement is vital to a student’s academic success. By providing a nurturing and supportive environment to a student, parents and families can positively influence a child’s development and encourage a love of learning throughout their lives.
More information for parents and families and their role in promoting student achievement can be found on the Florida Parental Information and Resource Center Web sites at http://fndfl.org/ or http://www.floridapartnership.usf.edu/.
Deadline for DOEs Web Site Re-design Contest Nearing
The Nov. 20 deadline for entries to re-design the student portion of the Florida Department of Education’s Web site is just around the corner! There is still time for students to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned in their Career and Technical Education courses to a real-world project.
Contest entries must be submitted via CD and include the name of the student, the student’s high school name and address, the teacher or advisor who assisted in the project and the name of the school district. Submissions must be postmarked by Nov. 20, 2009, and sent to the Florida Department of Education, Office of Communications, 325 W. Gaines St., Suite 1524, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400. For more information about the contest, including guidelines visit www.fldoe.org/students/Web-contest.asp or contact the Department of Education’s communications office at (850) 245-0413 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I Am What I Learn Video Contest
President Obama recently challenged students to take advantage of their education and imagine greater possibilities for their lives. Through the I Am What I Learn contest, students from across the country have been tasked to create a video explaining why education is important to fulfilling their dreams and outline the steps they will take to make them a reality. The video can be a public service announcement, video blog, music video, animated video, documentary or other genre, and should be no longer than two minutes in length. Entries must be submitted by Nov. 2, 2009, with public voting for the three top videos taking place throughout the month. The three winning finalists will each earn a $1,000 award and will be announced the week of Dec. 1, 2009.
Visit www.ed.gov/IAmWhatILearn for contest rules and to upload videos.
Samsung’s Four Seasons of Hope Essay Contest
The Samsung Four Seasons of Hope Essay Contest focuses on how computer electronics, equipment and software can enhance education and how access to these technologies and the use of social networking can change the way students learn. Students, teachers and parents are encouraged to nominate their favorite Florida school with a simple essay. Essays should be no longer than 100 words in length. For full contest details and to send in your essay, visit http://www.fourseasonsofhope.com/us/4seasons_hope/education.jsp. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 1, 2009.
Donate Books For a Good Cause
Volunteer USA is spearheading a drive to collect 25,000 new and used books for high school student volunteers to use in mentoring struggling second and third graders and they need your help. Individuals with new or gently used copies of the book, Magic Tree House, are encouraged to donate copies to the Teen Trendsetters Reading Mentors at 5970 SW 1st Lane, Ocala, FL 34474 or to the Volunteer USA Foundation at 516 N. Adams St., Tallahassee, FL 32301.
For more information on Teen Trendsetters, visit http://www.teentrendsetters.com/. For information on the Volunteer USA Foundation, visit http://www.volunteerusafoundation.org/.
Hillsborough Community College Leader to Step Down
Gwendolyn W. Stephenson, president of Hillsborough Community College (HCC), recently announced her planned retirement from HCC in June 2010. Dr. Stephenson has served 12 years as president of the institution and is credited with stabilizing the college’s finances, adding more than 170 new academic programs, and building its foundation, allowing for the distribution of more than $3.5 million in scholarships to deserving students. During her tenure, the college opened its fifth campus in Ruskin, which is recognized as the first Florida community college campus to receive the gold-level certified green designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. Dr. Stephenson will serve until a new president is selected by the college’s board of trustees.
Collegiate High School on Track for Edison State College
The Lee County School Board recently recommended and approved a collegiate high school to be housed on Edison State College’s campus in Ft Myers. The school will specialize in honors-level courses with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) instruction. Beginning in the Fall of 2010, the four-year curriculum will allow students to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associate degree. For more information about the Edison Collegiate High School – Lee Campus, visit http://edison.edu/news/detail.php?id=536.
Administrator of the Year Recognized by Florida Music Educators’ Association
The Florida Music Educators’ Association (FMEA) recently selected Mark Tormoen, principal of Vierra High School in Brevard County, as their 2010 Administrator of the Year. FMEA annually recognizes an administrator who demonstrates support of school music programs and music education. Tormoen will be honored at the FMEA conference in Tampa next January.
For more information about FMEA, visit http://www.flmusiced.org/dnn/.
Polk School District Employee Wins National Farmworker Award
Nilda Soto, a 19-year employee with the Polk County School District, was recently named the winner of the Excellence Award from the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) during their national conference earlier this month in Arizona. As part of her job as a farmworker employment specialist, Soto assists participants with training, education and related support services such as healthcare and childcare, legal and immigration issues, emergency assistance and translations. She also counsels individuals regarding barriers to obtaining stable employment and assists in job placement. For more information about AFOP, visit www.afoprograms.org/.
Brevard Educator Named Florida’s Elementary P.E. Teacher of the Year
Michelle Sirounis, a teacher at Lewis Carroll Elementary School in Merritt Island, has been named the 2009 Elementary P.E. Teacher of the Year by the Florida Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport. An educator for the past 24 years, Sirounis began teaching at Lewis Carroll Elementary in 2005 and has been able to secure a variety of grants to support physical education programs at the school. She also created successful afterschool running and wellness clubs and facilitates the school’s First Responders Team. Sirounis will be presented with the award at a statewide conference later this fall. For more information, visit the Alliance’s Web site at www.fahperd.org.
Lee County Head Start Program Wins Federal Grant
The Head Start program in Lee County Schools was recently awarded a Head Start Body Start grant by the National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play to enhance the outdoor play space of the district’s Early Childhood Center. The $5,000 grant will be used to increase physical activity, outdoor play and healthy eating for Head Start children and their families. For more information about the Head Start Body Start program, visit http://www.headstartbodystart.org/.
U.S. Department of Justice Awards Two Grants to Tallahassee Community College
Tallahassee Community College’s (TCC) Florida Public Safety Institute (FPSI) was recently awarded two grants from the U.S. Department of Justice to continue support for the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy. The grants, totaling $300,000, will allow FPSI to expand an already successful national criminal intelligence training program. For more information about programs in criminal justice and public safety at TCC, visit http://www.tcc.fl.edu/areas_of_study/criminal_justice_public_safety_programs.
State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota Provost Named Among Great 100 Nurses
Dr. Bonnie Hesselberg, provost at State College of Florida (SCF), Manatee-Sarasota Lakewood Ranch campus and dean of nursing at SCF, was recently named one of the Great 100 Nurses by the Florida Nurses Association (FNA). Hesselberg has worked as a nurse and educator for the past 30 years and was honored for her excellence in nursing practice at the 2009 FNA Centennial Celebration in September. While at SCF, she secured funding to expand a successful associate in science nursing program and helped develop a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program slated to begin in January 2010. For more information about the nursing programs at SCF, visit http://www.scf.edu/pages/172.asp. For information about the Florida Nurses Association, visit http://www.floridanurse.org/.
Miami Dade College’s Center for Service Excellence Wins Award
After launching only one year ago, the Center for Service Excellence (CSE) at Miami Dade College has already been recognized for helping business succeed in tough economic times. CSE was recently awarded the 2009 Adult and Continuing Education Commission Exemplary Practice Award from the Florida Association of Community Colleges. In partnership with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, the CSE provides courses, seminars and certificate programs to all employment levels, from entry to top management, on customer service improvement and assistance topics. For more information on the Center for Service Excellence at Miami Dade College, please call (305) 237-0662 or (305) 237-0684.
Lake-Sumter Community College Athletic Director Nationally Recognized
Mike Matulia, athletic director at Lake-Sumter Community College, was recently named one of 29 “Under Armour Athletic Directors of the Year” by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Matulia is the southeast U.S. region’s recipient and one of only four junior college/community college athletic directors in the nation to be recognized. The award program honors intercollegiate directors of athletics for their commitment and administrative excellence within a campus or college environment. For more information about NACDA, visit http://www.nacda.com/.
Florida Charter School Conference
Nov. 16 – 18, 2009
DoubleTree Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando on International Drive
Charters – Not just Another Public School! is the theme of this year's charter school conference in Orlando. The two-day conference will provide Florida charter school authorizers, administrators and teachers the opportunity to network, share best practices and gather information during breakout sessions and while meeting exhibitors who offer goods and services designed for the charter school community. Early registration is available until Oct. 30; on-site registration will be available thereafter. Visit http://www.charterschoolconference.com/ for conference and registration information.
Florida Counseling Association 60th Anniversary Convention
Nov. 19 – 21, 2009
Doubletree Miami Mart/Airport Hotel and Exhibition Center
The Florida Counseling Association will hold its 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. To register or for more information, visit www.flacounseling.org/index.cfm.
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 in Feb. 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.