February 5, 2010
Vol. 4, Issue 3
Record Pre-K – 12 Education Budget Unveiled
Gov. Crist highlighted his 2010-11 proposed budget for Pre-K – 12 education last week in St. Petersburg by recommending a record level of funding to continue learning gains achieved by Florida students over the past decade. The $22.7 billion proposal incorporates state, local and federal funds and includes an increase of more than $535.5 million over the current fiscal year. The budget proposal includes:
For more information about the Governor’s proposed budget for 2010-11, visit http://www.ebudget.state.fl.us/.
- A 2.61 percent increase in per-student funding, up $179 from current funding levels, for an average of $7,045 per student for the 2.6 million K-12 students expected during the 2010-11 school year. The per-student funding would, if adopted, be the second highest funding level ever for Florida students.
- An increase of $44.8 million, for a total of $411.9 million, to provide a high quality early learning experience for an anticipated 152,795 eligible four-year-olds through the state’s Voluntary Prekindergarten Program.
- $57.1 million to reward teachers who earn national certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Florida’s Dale Hickam Excellent Teaching Program provides a salary supplement, approximately $5,000, for 10 years.
- A 33-percent increase in funds for the School Recognition Program which rewards schools that improve a letter grade or earn an “A” school grade, by providing $100 per student, up from $75 in the current year.
- Increase bonuses and remove the monetary cap, through legislation, for teachers of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education courses whose students achieve a qualifying score on exams.
State Board Chairman to Serve on National Task Force
Florida State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair has been selected to serve as chairman of a national year-long study group to examine key issues in which educators and the military have shared goals. The study group, Common Ground: Education and the Military Meeting the Needs of Students, is conducted by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) and will study the coordination between K-12 education and the military on issues such as improving high school graduation rates, building an understanding of postsecondary education choices, expanding career exploration and assessment opportunities and improving the health and fitness of high school students. A report will be issued in Oct. 2010, and will be disseminated to local, state and federal policymakers in the education and military communities. For more information about NASBE, visit http://www.nasbe.org.
New Interactive Book Club Launched
Literacy League, a new interactive reading initiative for middle school students, was recently launched by the Florida Department of Education to give young readers a platform to discuss books with their favorite authors. Students in grades six through eight will have the chance to read selected books and submit questions in a variety of formats directly to participating authors through a podcast series housed on Florida’s iTunesU site. The new statewide book club starts off with author Julianna Baggott, writing under the pen name N.E. Bode, and her award-winning book, The Anybodies.
Each quarter the Department will connect prominent authors through a podcast question-and-answer session about the featured book. For the first session, students have until March 1, 2010, to send their questions in text or video format to LiteracyLeague@fldoe.org or mail their questions to the Department of Education’s Communications Office at 325 W. Gaines Street, Suite 1524, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400. The next book selection will be announced in April.
For more information about the Department of Education’s Literacy League, visit http://www.fldoe.org/literacyleague. Florida’s iTunesU site provides free multimedia content to schools, parents, administrators and teachers both in Florida and around the world. To visit Florida on iTunesU, visit http://www.floridaitunesu.com.
Sunshine Week Essay Contest Announced
Governor Charlie Crist invites all Florida students in grades nine through 12 to participate in the 2010 Sunshine Week essay contest. Sunshine Week is observed March 14-20, 2010, and celebrates Florida’s laws dedicated to making state and local government more accessible to the public. Essays should be no longer than 500 words and must explain the importance of one or more of the civil liberties found in the First Amendment and how Florida’s open government laws protect those liberties. For complete information about the Sunshine Week essay contest, visit http://www.FLGov.com/og_home. The deadline to submit an essay by either e-mail or mail is 5:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010.
FACTS.org Marks Milestone
FACTS.org, the Department of Education’s statewide student advising system, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. When the system was first unveiled in 2000, it focused solely on advising community college students interested in transferring to a university. For the past decade, FACTS.org has transformed into a comprehensive one-stop-shop location for students to plan their high school and postsecondary pathways. The system enables students to explore careers, plan their high school courses, track their progress toward graduation, check their eligibility for Bright Futures and other scholarships, learn about Florida’s postsecondary opportunities, apply online to state colleges and universities, and apply online for state and federal financial aid. As FACTS.org moves into its second decade, plans include a college readiness evaluation component and upgrades that will provide users with information tailored to their interests and personal academic plan. For more information about FACTS.org, visit http://www.FACTS.org.
Students Encouraged to Go Higher, Get Accepted
Twenty-seven Florida colleges and more than 270 high schools will participate in the 2010 Go Higher-Get Accepted statewide campaign this year. Go Higher-Get Accepted is designed to increase the number of high school seniors enrolling in college by offering guidance and support to students throughout the application process.
As part of the campaign, colleges around the state will sponsor events in the coming months to help students examine specific college majors and programs. A key focus will be providing parents and students with hands-on assistance with admission applications, finding and paying for financial aid and workshops to assist students and families with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Colleges sponsoring Go Higher-Get Accepted events will also offer a $500 scholarship, supplied by the Foundation for Florida Colleges, to an eligible high school senior who attends an event and enrolls at the participating college.
For more information about Go Higher-Get Accepted and a list of events and participating schools, visit http://www.FACTS.org.
Florida Celebrates National School Counseling Week
National Counseling Week was celebrated in Florida this week to highlight the impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve success in school and plan for college or a career. School counselors are able to help parents focus on ways to further the educational, personal and social growth of their children while also working with teachers and other educators to help students explore their potential. National School Counseling Week, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association, was proclaimed by Gov. Crist to focus on the unique contributions of school counselors within Florida’s school systems. For more information on the important role of school counselors, visit http://www.schoolcounselor.org/content.asp?contentid=271
Cards of Care for Haiti Project Launched
Volunteer USA Foundation, in partnership with the National Disaster Recovery Fund, invites students throughout Florida to send pictures and cards of love and inspiration to children and families affected by the recent earthquakes in Haiti. Anyone wishing to participate can send cards to Volunteer USA Foundation – Cards of Care for Haiti, 5970 SW 1st Lane, Ocala, FL 34474, and should include their name and contact information.
Free lesson plans are also available to help teachers use the earthquake and other real-life disasters as examples of how Americans assist with humanitarian and recovery efforts and to provide a platform to discuss the need for all families to develop and practice personal disaster plans. For more information about the project or to learn about disaster preparedness for families and schools, visit http://www.nationaldisasterrecoveryfund.org or http://www.volunteerusafoundation.org.
Florida Virtual School Announces New Technology Tool
A new development at the Florida Virtual School is designed for students to practice algebra concepts using meStudying, an iPhone/iPod touch application. The application is a collaborative effort between the Florida Virtual School and gWhiz, LLC, a leading educational application developer and is available in the Apple iTunes AppSM Store. meStudying delivers more than 300 questions in multiple choice format to help students review core algebra concepts, such as graphing, polynomials, and the division and factoring of polynomials, learned in class. The application offers both review and practice test modules with self-paced tests that provide immediate insight into areas of mastery and difficulty. For more information about the meStudying application, contact Jodie Pozo-Olano at (540) 349-2311 or Jodie@Sequoiapr.com.
Celebrate Literacy, Florida! Public Service Announcement Winners
This year’s Celebrate Literacy, Florida! public service announcement (PSA) contest winners were in Tallahassee Jan. 25 to receive their awards from literacy-partner Walt Disney World. The winners were announced as part of the weeklong celebration that highlighted the significance that literacy plays in the educational process and the lifelong benefits it provides to individuals who make reading a daily part of their lives.
Winning schools of the Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! PSA contest were awarded gift cards including $1,000 for first prize, $500 for second prize and $250 for third prize. This year’s PSA winners are as follows:
- First Place: South Lake Elementary, Brevard County
- Second Place: Clay Hill Elementary, Clay County
- Third Place: Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, Deaf Elementary Gore Hall
- First Place: Teague Middle, Seminole County
- Second Place: East Ridge Middle, Lake County
- Third Place: Dunnellon Middle, Marion County
- First Place: Marchman Technical Education Center, Pasco County
- Second Place: Cypress Lake High School, Lee County
- Third Place: Deltona High School, Volusia County
Miami-Dade Professor is Florida’s Professor of the Year
Miami-Dade College Professor Sandra Shultz has been named the 2009 U.S. Professor of the Year for the state of Florida by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Dr. Shultz is a professor in the college’s Department of Biology, Health and Wellness and was recognized for excellence in teaching and her ability to positively influence the lives and careers of students. For more information about the U.S. Professor the Year award, visit http://www.usprofessorsoftheyear.org.
Gulf Coast Community College Responds to Job Training Needs
In response to increased demands from state and local employers, Gulf Coast Community College’s Technology Division developed a new certificate program and is expanding an existing Associate in Applied Science degree program. The new Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) Technology certificate will allow graduates to pursue careers as process controls engineers or technicians, systems integrators, robotic technicians, industrial programmers or industrial sales engineers. For more information about the new CIM programs, visit http://www.gulfcoast.edu/technology/cim/default.htm.
Hillsborough Community College Offers Biotechnology Course
Hillsborough Community College, in partnership with the Center for Excellence for Bimolecular Identification and Targeted Therapeutics at the University of South Florida and the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center, is offering the first course in its Associate of Science in Biotechnology degree program. Graduates will be able to pursue careers as entry-level technicians in the pharmaceutical, medical device manufacturing, research and development, and agriculture industries. For more information on this program, visit http://flate-mif.blogspot.com/2010/01/first-biotechnology-course-at.html or http://www.fl-ate.org/projects/bitt.html.
Brevard Teacher Wins National Recognition
Linda Cornman, an Adapted Itinerant Physical Education Teacher with Brevard County Schools, has won the Every Body Can! Adapted Physical Education Activity Video Contest sponsored by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). Cornman’s video, Turkey Trot, was selected as the winner in the Public Service Announcement category and will be shown during the Recognizing Outstanding Leaders Awards Evening at the AAHPERD Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., in March 2010. For more information about AAHPERD, visit http://www.aahperd.org/.
Lee County School Gets Grant
Bonita Springs Middle School in Lee County was recently awarded a Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant totaling $4,565. Funds from the grant will be used to enhance the school’s Edible School Yard Garden with the purchase of plants, mulch, gardening tools, carts and fertilizer. Students and school staff have created an innovative edible outdoor classroom where hands-on activities and lessons aligned with the Sunshine State Standards are taught. Individuals interested in touring the garden or to learn about the Edible School Yard Garden program can contact Bonita Springs Middle School at (239) 992-4422.
Florida Student Places First in National Competition
Charlton Cheng, a junior at Ferguson High School in Miami-Dade County, recently placed first in the engineering division of the National Agriscience Fair sponsored by the National Future Farmers of America Organization. Cheng won for his research study titled, What is the Most Efficient Variation of a Wind Turbine in Suburban/Farmland Areas? He was recognized by the Commissioner of Education and the Florida Cabinet on Jan. 26 in Tallahassee.
Black, Brown and College Bound: Meeting the Challenge of Higher Education
Feb. 24 – 26, 2010
Renaissance Hotel International Plaza
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 http://www.BlackBrownCollegeBound.com, http://www.hccfl.edu/bbcb.aspx, or contact Hillsborough Community College at (813) 253-7068 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Conference on Transporting Students with Disabilities and Preschoolers
March 5 – 10, 2010
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 http://www.eduprogroup.com or contact Charlie Hood with the Florida Department of Education at Charlie.Hood@fldoe.org or (850) 245-9924.
7th Annual Addressing Challenging Behavior Conference
March 17 – 20, 2010
Sheraton Sand Key Resort
Clearwater Beach, Fla.
The Supporting Young Children’s Social Emotional Development conference, sponsored by the National Training Institute on Effective Practices, will provide intensive workshops on practical strategies for supporting a positive approach to the social and emotional development of young children, including behavior challenges in early childhood settings. For more information about sessions, presenters, travel and registration, visit http://www.addressingchallengingbehavior.org.
University of Central Florida Book Festival
April 16 – 17, 2010
University of Central Florida Arena
The University of Central Florida (UCF) will be hosting 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 http://www.bookfestival.ucf.edu or call (407) 823-2835.
Florida Association of Staff Development Spring Forum
April 19 – 20, 2010
Crowne Plaza Melbourne Oceanfront
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 http://www.fasdonline.org.
Plant Camp 2010
June 13 – 17, 2010
University of Florida
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 CAPemail@example.com. Applications are due Feb. 19, 2010.