News Slices:
New Web Tool for Parents Launched
High School Performance Reaches All-Time High
2010 Holiday Reading List
Florida Colleges Garner Best Practices Awards
Space Shuttle Tiles Available from NASA
Middle School Students Encouraged to eco-Volunteer with Florida State Parks
Arts for Life! Scholarship
Volunteer USA Foundation “Behind the Cupboard Door” Contest
Celebrate Literacy Week Public Service Announcement Contest Closing Date Looms
Deadline Approaching to Enter the 2011 Severe Weather Awareness Week Poster and Video Contests

Seeds of Success:
Valencia Professor Tops in the State
Miami-Dade Professor Named Professor the Year
Lee County Educator Named Music Educator of the Year
Duval Principal Wins Leadership Award
Brevard High School Awarded STEM Grant

Branching Out:
School Choice Expo
Transitions 2011: High School to Higher Education
Florida Educational Technology Conference
48th Annual Junior Science, Engineering and Humanities Symposium
National At-Risk Education Network National Conference

 


December 10, 2010

Vol. 5, Issue 26


News Slices


New Web Tool for Parents Launched
The Florida Department of Education has launched a new web resource designed with parents in mind. The new “Success Measures” website will help parents understand how changes to Florida’s standards and assessments in the months and years ahead will impact their children. The most valuable element of the new site is the “Success Measures Pathways Tool” that can be used to generate a personalized report detailing what is being taught and tested for their student. Parents need only enter the school year, grade level and courses their student will be taking. The new Pathways Tool then generates a brief report detailing the assessments aligned with the courses, as well as a thorough listing of the content covered on those assessments. To utilize the new tool, visit www.fldoe.org/SuccessMeasures.



High School Performance Reaches All-Time High
Florida high schools achieved at record levels under an enhanced high school grading system used for the first time this year. Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of Florida high schools earned either an “A” or a “B” grade for the 2009-10 school year. The new grading system is designed to grade schools based not only on student performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) but also on their ability to graduate students, increase student participation and performance in advanced coursework, and better prepare students for college and career. For detailed information about the 2009-10 high school grades, visit http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org.



2010 Holiday Reading List
The 2010 Holiday Recommended Reading List encourages families to read together during the winter holidays and share the gift of literacy. The list of suggested literary works is posted on the Department of Education’s Just Read, Florida! website at www.justreadflorida.org and covers a broad array of seasonal topics such as lights, snow, winter animals and the many holidays celebrated by Florida families at the end of the year. The website also offers parents tips and tools to nurture a reading-friendly environment at home, links to county and municipal public libraries, and daily literacy activities designed to make the most of the time parents and families spend reading together.

Families can also use “Find a Book, Florida” to supplement the holiday reading list by searching for books tailored to a child’s specific interests at http://florida.lexile.com. Thousands of fiction and non-fiction titles are available and can be found by matching a child’s reading ability with a book’s text complexity using Lexile® measures, the most widely adopted reading metrics.



Florida Colleges Garner Best Practices Awards
Three Florida colleges have earned the Best Practices Award from the Florida College System. Miami Dade College, Palm Beach State College and St. Petersburg College were honored for their outstanding work in the areas of academic affairs, student affairs and workforce education, with particular emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Chancellor Dr. Will Holcombe presented the awards during the 61st Annual Florida Association of Community Colleges Convention in Jacksonville on Nov. 17, 2010.

The winners are:

  • Academic Affairs
    Project V-Coach Summer STEM Academy
    Miami Dade College
  • Student Affairs
    Math Science Summer Institute
    Palm Beach State College
  • Workforce Education
    Engineering Technology
    St. Petersburg College

More information about the Best Practices Awards can be found at www.fldoe.org/cc/retention.



Space Shuttle Tiles Available from NASA
As the Space Shuttle Program nears retirement, NASA is looking for ways to preserve the program’s history and inspire the next generation of space explorers, scientists and engineers by offering shuttle heat shield tiles to schools, colleges and universities interested in sharing technology and a piece of space history with their students. Seven thousand thermal protective tiles are available for eligible schools on a first-come, first-served, one per institution basis while supplies last. The tiles can only be requested through an online process using a school’s NCES or IPEDS number assigned by the U.S. Department of Education. The tiles are federal excess property; however, recipients are responsible for shipping and handling charges of $23.40. Complete information on how to acquire the tiles can be found at http://gsaxcess.gov/NASAWel.htm.



Middle School Students Encouraged to eco-Volunteer with Florida State Parks
Through a $50,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation, the VolunteerUSA Foundation along with the Florida Departments of Environmental Protection and Education, has developed a unique science-focused course for middle school students. The new eco-Volunteer program includes four lessons aligned with the Sunshine State Standards designed to promote an interest in science and foster the spirit of volunteerism in state parks. Once the courses are completed, students earn a free one-day pass to any Florida state park for themselves and their families. Teachers interested in the eco-Volunteer program can visit the VolunteerUSA Foundation website at www.volunteerusafoundation.org. Educators can also visit the Department of Education’s Just for Teachers website at http://www.fldoe.org/JustForTeachers/Instructional_Resources.asp to download free science-based lesson plans.



Arts for Life! Scholarship
Students graduating from public, private or home schools in 2011 are eligible to apply for the Arts for Life! Scholarship. Interested high school seniors who demonstrate excellence in visual art, music, dance, drama or creative writing may submit a completed application, a brief essay explaining “How the arts have positively influenced my life,” and a portfolio of work by Feb. 1, 2011. Twenty-five graduating students will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship. If you have questions, contact Lisa Kammel Raguso, Arts for Life! Program Director, at (850) 391-4090 or Lisa@ExcelinEd.org. For complete scholarship details, visit the Foundation for Excellence in Education website at http://excelined.org/Pages/Programs/Arts_For_Life.aspx.



Volunteer USA Foundation “Behind the Cupboard Door” Contest
Florida students in grades four through seven in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties are encouraged to enter the Behind the Cupboard Door contest sponsored by the Volunteer USA Foundation. Students should write an original poem or essay based on one of the cupboards left unexplored in the book “100 Cupboards” by N.D. Wilson. The entry must be typed and able to be read aloud in three minutes or less. Fifteen winners will have the opportunity to be honored at the Celebration of Reading Children’s Breakfast with the book’s author. The contest deadline is Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011. Full contest details can be found on the Volunteer USA Foundation website at www.volunteerusafoundation.org. If you have questions, contact Carolyn Vega-Melendez at (850) 559-2208 or via e-mail at Contest@VolunteerUSAFund.org.



Celebrate Literacy Week Public Service Announcement Contest Closing Date Looms
Florida students in grades K-12 have until Dec. 17, 2010, to create a 26-second public service announcement as part of the 2011 “Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! – Champions Read, Readers Lead” contest. Complete contest details can be found at http://www.justreadflorida.com/literacyweek.asp. If you have any questions, send an e-mail to justread@fldoe.org or contact Kevin Smith at (850) 245-0503.



Deadline Approaching to Enter the 2011 Severe Weather Awareness Week Poster and Video Contests
There is still time for students across the state to enter the 2011 Severe Weather Awareness Week Poster and Video Contests. The Florida Division of Emergency Management and the American Red Cross encourage Florida students to submit an entry for the poster and video public service announcement contests by Jan. 10, 2011, that shows how to be prepared for the natural hazards that affect the Sunshine State. The winning entries will be featured during the 2011 Severe Weather Awareness Week campaign and students will win tickets to Disney World, weather radios and other great prizes. Complete contest rules and information for both contests can be found at www.FloridaDisaster.org/SWAW/2011.


Seeds of Success


Valencia Professor Tops in the State
Dr. James May, a professor at Valencia Community College’s East Campus, was honored as the 2010 Professor of the Year by the Florida Association of Community Colleges (FACC). The award recognizes the top community and state college professors for teaching effectiveness and style, innovative methods and ideas, and professional development. Dr. May was one of three finalists who gave oral presentations at the FACC annual convention in Jacksonville on Nov. 18, 2010. He was recognized for his fresh approach to teaching subject/verb agreement, his demonstrated expertise, and for creating a website to teacher other instructors how to incorporate new technologies into their classrooms. Congratulations!

Miami-Dade Professor Named Professor the Year
Miami-Dade College professor Elizabeth Nicoli-Suco has been named the Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. The award celebrates outstanding instructors across the country for their excellence in undergraduate teaching and positively influencing the lives and careers of students. Nicoli-Suco, a math professor at the college’s Wolfson Campus, was recognized for her track record of success in teaching mathematics and motivating all levels of students, from college-prep to Calculus. Kudos!

Lee County Educator Named Music Educator of the Year
Gretchen Wahlbert, a music educator at Veterans Park Elementary in Lee County, has been named the 2011 Florida Music Educator’s Association (FMEA) Music Educator of the Year. The FMEA Awards and Recognition Program honors individuals who make outstanding contributions to music education. Wahlberg was honored for serving her students, community and the profession in an exemplary manner. She also is extensively involved in sharing her knowledge about music education with colleagues throughout the state and nation. Bravo!

Duval Principal Wins Leadership Award
Todd Simpson, principal of Reynolds Lane Elementary School in Duval County, is the winner of the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award from the Council for Educational Change. The award recognizes exceptional school leadership in student achievement, parent/community involvement, and empowering school-based leadership. The award is named in honor of the late Leonard Miller, a well-known education advocate, and is presented annually to a Florida school principal involved in programs sponsored by the Council. Congratulations!

Brevard High School Awarded STEM Grant
Palm Bay High School in Brevard County has earned a $2,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) grant from AT&T to support an afterschool engineering program. The “STEM at Work” grant brings volunteer engineers from the Harris Corporation and students together to foster interest in the STEM fields. Over the next three months, students will spend more than 60 hours in the afterschool workshop program to build robots that will compete in the University of Central Florida Robotic Match for FIRST Robotics next year.

Branching Out

School Choice Expo
Jan. 22, 2010
Florida State Fairgrounds
Tampa, Fla.


As part of Florida School Choice Month in January 2011, the School Choice Expo will bring together parents, educators and interested stakeholders to learn about and celebrate school choice in Florida. The schedule will include presentations, choice showcases, music, celebrity speakers, student performances and much more. More information can be found at www.floridaschoolchoiceexpo.com or by contacting Julia Somers at Julia.Somers-Arthur@fldoe.org or Noelle Bonard at Noelle.Bonard@fldoe.org.


Transitions 2011: High School to Higher Education
Jan. 28, 2011
Lynn University
Boca Raton, Fla.


Educators interested in helping students with learning differences transition from high school to higher education can join national experts to discuss tactics and strategies for success at the Transitions 2011 Conference on Jan. 28, 2011. The conference is designed for guidance counselors, administrators, special education teachers, parents and students and will feature breakout sessions on a variety of learning differences. For more information, visit http://www.lynn.edu/about-lynn/news-and-events/events/transitions-2011?searchterm=Transitions+2011


Florida Educational Technology Conference
Jan. 31 – Feb. 3, 2011
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, Fla.


The 2011 Florida Educational Technology Conference will be held Jan. 31 – Feb. 3 in Orlando, and offers a wealth of information for all education professions in how to integrate technology throughout the curriculum. More than 200 concurrent sessions and nearly 70 professional development workshops will be available. Local and national technology experts will also provide lectures and hands-on workshops. For more information, visit http://fetc.org.


48th Annual Junior Science, Engineering and Humanities Symposium
Feb. 6 – 8, 2011
University of Florida
Gainesville, Fla.


Preparations are underway for the 48th Annual Junior Science, Engineering and Humanities Symposium taking place Feb. 6 – 8, 2011 at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, Fla. As part of the symposium, up to 25 11th and 12th graders will present their research papers in competition to win scholarships to the university of their choice and to present their papers at the national symposium in May 2011. Also featured are visits to more than 65 labs across the UF campus, science presentations by UF faculty, non-competitive oral, science and poster presentations, teacher classroom research presentations and music or theater performances. For more information, contact Deborah Paulin with UF’s Center for Precollegiate Education and Training at (352) 392-2310 or at http://www.cpet.ufl.edu/jsehs/default.html.


National At-Risk Education Network National Conference
Feb. 22 – 24, 2011
Edgewater Beach Resort
Panama City, Fla.


The National At-Risk Education Network will hold their 8th Annual National Conference Feb. 22 – 24, 2011, in Panama City, Fla. The conference will focus on successful programs and practices for at-risk learners. The keynote speaker to kick off the conference is nationally-known writer and educator Lynn Stoddard, author of “Educating for Human Greatness.” For more information about the conference, visit http://atriskeducation.net.


 
 
 
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