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:
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 email@example.com 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.
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