News Slices:
Commissioner’s Teacher Task Force Holds Inaugural Meeting
Florida Teacher of the Year a Finalist for National Honor
Florida Applies for Race to the Top Grant
Florida Trend Names Dr. Eduardo Padrón as Floridian of the Year
2009 A Year of Success For Florida Education System
Florida College System Celebrates Success
Kindergarten Students Demonstrate Increased Early Literacy Skills
Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!
New Financial Education Program for Families Launched
Florida Black History Month Excellence in Education Award
Nominations for Children’s Week “Kids Only” Town Hall Meeting Due Soon

Seeds of Success:
Three Students Win State Contest
Santa Fe College Entrepreneur Incubator Graduates First Two Companies
Florida State College at Jacksonville Garners Grant for Job Training
Pensacola Junior College Coach Inducted Into National Hall of Fame

Branching Out:
Florida Association of School Nurses 15th Annual Conference
Plant Camp 2010
Black, Brown and College Bound: Meeting the Challenge of Higher Education
National Conference on Transporting Students with Disabilities and Preschoolers

 


January 22, 2010

Vol. 4, Issue 2


News Slices


Commissioner’s Teacher Task Force Holds Inaugural Meeting
Seventeen of Florida’s highly effective teachers met in Orlando Jan. 8 for the inaugural meeting of the Commissioner’s Teacher Task Force. The meeting was led by Dr. Adewale Alonge and Jasmine Ulmer, two task force members recently selected into the National Teaching Ambassador Fellowship Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The task force will identify characteristics of effective teachers and work with Department staff to develop plans to elevate teaching as a profession in the state. Each task force member has been previously recognized for their dedication and individual achievements within the profession and their proven track record of positively impacting student achievement. For more information about the Commissioner’s Teacher Task Force, including a list of members, visit www.fldoe.org/commissioner/ttf.asp. Visit www.ed.gov/programs/teacherfellowship/index.html for more information on the National Teaching Ambassador Fellowship Program.

Florida Teacher of the Year a Finalist for National Honor
Megan Allen, Hillsborough County educator and 2010 Florida Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year, has been named one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year program. Allen, a fourth grade teacher at Cleveland Elementary, was chosen for her ability to effectively communicate with other teachers about the importance of educating future leaders. The National Teacher of the Year will be announced in April by President Obama and honored in a series of events in Washington, D.C. The winner will serve as the spokesperson for the entire nation’s teaching profession, addressing government officials, business communities, parents, teachers and students at forums, conventions and meetings across the country. Congratulations Megan!


Florida Applies for Race to the Top Grant
On Jan. 19, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist submitted Florida’s application for federal Race to the Top funding on behalf of State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair and Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith and certified by Attorney General Bill McCollum. Sixty school districts, three lab schools and the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, as well as five local teacher union presidents signed official Memorandums of Understanding pledging their commitment to the reform initiatives outlined in Florida’s application request for $1.14 billion.

If Florida is successful in obtaining a grant award, half of the total award will be distributed to participating school districts according to a federal funding formula to implement locally-developed comprehensive education reform plans focused on accelerating student learning and improving the quality of education their schools provide. The remaining funds will support state-level projects benefiting all school districts statewide. Award notifications are expected to be announced in April, 2010.

To view a copy of Florida’s Race to the Top application, visit http://www.fldoe.org/arra/racetothetop.asp.


Florida Trend Names Dr. Eduardo Padrón as Floridian of the Year
Congratulations to Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, President of Miami Dade College, for being named Floridian of the Year for 2009 by Florida Trend magazine. Dr. Padrón was honored for his work in improving the recognition of the vital role of community colleges in the United States. Time magazine also recently recognized Dr. Padrón as one of “The Top 10 College Presidents” for helping revolutionize the role of two-year community colleges in the nation and for preserving the college’s mission to teach underserved populations. Padrón was the only college president from Florida and the only community college leader profiled by Time.

With more than 170,000 students attending eight campuses throughout the county, Miami-Dade College is one of the largest colleges in the nation. More minorities and Pell Grant recipients attend the college than any other undergraduate college in the country, and the college graduates more minorities, including the largest number of Hispanics and African-Americans, than any other institution in the United States. Dr. Padrón has been the president of Miami-Dade College since 1995. To read the complete article in Florida Trend, visit www.floridatrend.com/article.asp?aID=52170. The full report in Time magazine can be accessed at http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1937938_1937934,00.html.


2009 A Year of Success For Florida Education System
Florida’s education system experienced a year of both challenge and triumph in 2009. Results from national and state measures showed that, despite the current economic downturn, Florida’s students were able to build upon the state’s decade-long march of academic progress.

The year began when overall state scores in Education Week’s 2009 Quality Counts Report showed Florida’s education system was tied for 10th in the nation based on the publication’s six quality measures. As the year progressed, data showed that more than 92 percent of students who completed Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK) last year demonstrated overall classroom readiness, compared to 83 percent of students who did not complete VPK. Later in the year, 2009 FCAT results showed that the percentage of students in grades three through 10 reading at or above grade level rose to 61 percent, up 14 percentage points since 2001, and the percentage of students demonstrating math skills at or above grade level rose to 67 percent from 50 percent in 2001. These results clearly show that Florida students are continuing the state’s strong academic progress over the last decade.

For more information about the educational successes of 2009, visit www.fldoe.org/news/press_releases.asp.


Florida College System Celebrates Success
The Florida College System experienced a year of steady success in 2009, despite the state’s budgetary challenges. Florida’s Division of Community Colleges officially became the Division of Florida Colleges last year and led the nation’s southeast region in graduation and progression rates and maintained top ranks for leading America’s more than 1,200 community colleges in an array of degree categories.

The caliber of students within Florida’s College System remained strong with 92 outstanding college students being honored as members of the 2009 Phi Theta Kappa all-Florida Academic Team. Additionally, with the signing of the new GI Bill, Florida’s colleges experienced a 76 percent increase in veteran enrollment. Last year also saw the creation of 16 new baccalaureate degree programs within seven Florida colleges as approved by the State Board of Education to address the growing economic challenges of communities throughout the state.

Florida’s colleges will continue to serve as the primary point of access to higher education in Florida, with 58 percent of the state’s high school graduates pursuing postsecondary education beginning at a community college, and 81 percent of freshman and sophomore minority students in public higher education attending one of Florida’s 28 community colleges. For more information on the Florida College System’s year of success, visit www.fldoe.org/cc.


Kindergarten Students Demonstrate Increased Early Literacy Skills
Florida’s kindergarten students are entering classrooms with better foundational skills according to the 2009 Florida Kindergarten Readiness screening. Administered within the first 30 days of kindergarten, the screening measures a student’s knowledge and understanding in seven key areas considered essential for student success. Screening results are used to determine student readiness, guide classroom instruction and provide useful information to parents and teachers. For more information about the 2009 Kindergarten Readiness screening results, visit http://www.fldoe.org/news/2010/2010_01_06-2.asp or to see results by district, visit www.fldoe.org/news/2010/2010_06_01/kindergarten-screening-results.xls (Excel).


Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!
In honor of Celebrate Literacy Week Jan. 25 – 29, 2010, the Florida Department of Education’s Just Read, Florida! office and Scholastic Publishers are proud to announce the “Champions Read, Readers Lead” initiative geared toward motivating and rewarding community members who get involved in local schools as volunteers. Also, through the “Give a Day – Get a Disney Day” program sponsored by Disney and HandsOn Network, Celebrate Literacy volunteers will receive a one-day pass to a Disney theme park for their verified participation as a school volunteer during the week. Volunteers are encouraged to participate in activities centered around reading such as reading to students in classrooms, small groups or individually, and must complete a minimum of one hour of service to qualify for the free pass. For more information about the “Champions Read, Readers Lead” initiative, contact the Just Read, Florida! office at (850) 245-0503 or www.justreadflorida.com/literacyweek.asp. Information about the “Give a Day – Get a Disney Day” program can be found at http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/disneyparks/en_US/WhatWillYouCelebrate/index?name=Give-A-Day-Get-A-Disney-Day. Participating school districts will provide information to volunteers and schools from the HandsOn Network at www.handsonnetwork.org/disney.


New Financial Education Program for Families Launched
A new two-part financial education program designed to help young children and their families become better prepared at managing money was recently launched through a partnership between Volunteer USA and the SunTrust Foundation. The new programs will be distributed to schools in Broward, Escambia, Collier, Lee, Leon, Marion, Orange, Pinellas, Sarasota, Seminole and Volusia counties beginning this month and will include free training for teachers provided by Volunteer USA.

  • What’s on the Menu? Financial Education for Families incorporates a menu-based theme where parents help their children learn how to tally up restaurant bills and calculate tips. Evening workshops for the entire family will include additional take-home materials that will enhance the learning experience at home.
  • What’s on the Menu? Financial Education for the Classroom will provide lessons and worksheets focused on banking, budgeting and saving and are aligned with math and financial literacy standards. Complimentary materials that connect classroom work with math skills practiced at home will be provided for participating teachers.

For more information about the What’s on the Menu? Financial Education Program, visit www.volunteerusafoundation.org or contact Teecy.Matthews@volunteerusafund.org.


Florida Black History Month Excellence in Education Award
There is still time to nominate a Florida teacher for the Florida Black History Month Excellence in Education Award. Full-time African-American educators in elementary, middle and high schools across the state are eligible and can be nominated by a student, parent, teacher or administrator. One winner will be selected at each level and will receive a check for $1,500 at the Governor’s Black History Month celebration to be held in Tallahassee in February 2010. Entries are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, 2010. Visit www.FloridaBlackHistory.com to download complete guidelines and entry forms.


Nominations for Children’s Week “Kids Only” Town Hall Meeting Due Soon
You still have time to nominate a student to be a part of the Children’s Week “Kids Only” Town Hall Meeting. This unique forum for students provides an opportunity to pose poignant questions to the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet regarding important children’s issues. The 20-member Cabinet, led by Lt. Governor 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 Statewide Coordinator Jason Zaborske at (850) 251-7274 or e-mail info@childrensweek.org.


Seeds of Success

Three Students Win State Contest
Three Florida students have been named winners of the 2010 Florida State Radon Poster Contest sponsored by the Florida Department of Health. The students were selected from among a field of 185 entries, and their posters were entered into the National Radon Poster Contest which is sponsored by the National Safety Council and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The winners of the 2010 Florida State Radon Poster Contest are as follows:

  • First Place – Jennifer Wiltrout, a student at Windy Hill Middle School in Lake County.
  • Honorable Mention – Erin Dahlen, a student at Montford Middle School in Leon County.
  • Honorable Mention – Sara Mohess, a student at Windy Hill Middle School in Lake County.


Santa Fe College Entrepreneur Incubator Graduates First Two Companies
The Center for Innovation and Economic Development (CIED) at Santa Fe College recently graduated its first two companies as part of its Entrepreneur Incubator initiative. Citizens Co-Op, a community-owned natural foods grocery store, and Applied Food Technologies, a biotech company that addresses issues in the food industry, were part of the college’s efforts to have a positive impact on the local economy. The CIED promotes local business innovation by providing office space and resources; access to industry professionals in accounting, human resources, finance, business planning and marketing; and admission into the entrepreneur series offered by Santa Fe's Continuing Education program. For more information about the CIED, visit http://news.sfcollege.edu/read.php/2009/12/29/santa-fe-college-entrepreneur-incubator-graduates-first-incubating-companies.html.


Florida State College at Jacksonville Garners Grant for Job Training
The Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) recently received a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Labor to train people for “green jobs.” The “Pathways Out of Poverty” grant, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, provides for training and job placement services within the energy efficient and renewable energy industries. The College will use the grant to fuel economic recovery in Florida by reaching out in the community for individuals who are unemployed, high school dropouts and ex-offenders. For more information about the Pathways Out of Poverty grant at FSCJ, contact the college at (904) 598-5600 or visit http://jacksonville.com/business/2010-01-14/story/fscj_receives_22_million_grant_for_green_jobs.


Pensacola Junior College Coach Inducted Into National Hall of Fame
Bill Hamilton, Pensacola Junior College (PJC) Athletic Director and longtime PJC baseball coach, was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Hall of Fame on Jan. 7, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. Coach Hamilton has logged 23 seasons as a junior college head coach with the last 20 at PJC. He will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame prior to the NJCAA World Series tournament in Grand Junction, Colo. in May.


Branching Out


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, Fla., 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.


Plant Camp 2010
June 13 – 17, 2010
University of Florida
Gainesville, Fla


The University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants is seeking 24 science teachers who are interested in attending Plant Camp 2010. The camp is a free workshop for teachers who want to learn more about non-native plant and animal species in Florida and how they affect our native flora and fauna. Participants are selected through a competitive process that includes the applicant’s commitment and history of sharing new knowledge with students and colleagues. Visit http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/education/plantcamp/index.html for an application or contact Amy Richard, Education Initiative Coordinator at (352) 392-6843 or via e-mail at CAP-education@ufl.edu. Applications are due Feb. 19, 2010.


Black, Brown and College Bound: Meeting the Challenge of Higher Education
Feb. 24 – 26, 2010
Renaissance Hotel International Plaza
Tampa, Fla.


Students, parents, college and university administrators, community leaders – anyone interested in empowering students to overcome barriers to success – are invited to attend the Black, Brown and College Bound: Meeting the Challenge of Higher Education summit Feb. 24 – 26, 2010, in Tampa. The theme, “Reality Check: Status Quo or Route to Change for African or Latino Males,” will examine the academic, socioeconomic, political and personal factors impacting routes to higher education for underrepresented students. Early registration has been extended until Feb. 23, 2010. For more information about the summit, visit www.BlackBrownCollegeBound.com, www.hccfl.edu/bbcb.aspx, or contact Hillsborough Community College at (813) 253-7068 or via e-mail at bcockfield@hccfl.edu.


National Conference on Transporting Students with Disabilities and Preschoolers
March 5 – 10, 2010
Orlando, Fla.


The Transporting Students with Disabilities and Preschoolers 19th National Conference and Exhibition is an opportunity for school transportation and special education personnel to get workable solutions and practical answers to questions about transporting students with special needs. To learn more and to register, visit www.eduprogroup.com or contact Charlie Hood with the Florida Department of Education at Charlie.Hood@fldoe.org or (850) 245-9924.


 
 
 
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