May 13, 2011
Vol. 5, Issue 10
Florida’s First Lady Kicks Off Summer Literacy Adventure
With the help of students from Fairview Middle School in Leon County, Florida, First Lady Ann Scott launched the Summer Literature Adventure at the Governor’s Mansion on May 9, 2011. The program, a partnership between the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of State, was created as a way to encourage students to read and visit their local public libraries this summer. Research has consistently shown that students who read throughout the year are able to retain their knowledge and continue to learn while away from school. To participate in the Summer Literacy Adventure, students can visit the Just Read, Florida! website at www.justreadflorida.com to take the pledge. Students who take the pledge may also utilize a free online tool called “Find a Book, Florida” at http://florida.lexile.com to search for books based on their reading ability and interests. A recommended summer reading list and other valuable reading resources for students and families can also be found at www.justreadflorida.com.
Florida Department of Education Launches Education 360
A new video series hosted by the Florida Department of Education’s Teacher Liaison Kelly Seay is up and running after being launched on May 5, 2011. The new show, Education 360, will provide bite-sized snapshots about important education reform efforts currently underway in the Sunshine State. The first episode features Duval County Public Schools Math Teacher Tamar Woodhouse-Young and Putnam County’s Associate Superintendent Sam Foerster, both members of the Race to the Top Student Growth Implementation Committee, discussing their work to help shape Florida’s new teacher evaluation systems. For more information or to view episodes, visit http://www.fldoe.org/JustForTeachers.
Students Are Tops in FCAT Writing
Florida students continue to excel with more students earning high scores on this year’s FCAT Writing assessment. The latest release of writing results indicates that 81 percent of students in grade 4, 82 percent of students in grade 8 and 75 percent of students in grade 10 scored at or above 4 on the six-point grading scale. This compares with previous highs of 73 percent in grade 4 (2009), 80 percent in grade 8 (2009), and 72 percent in grade 10 (2010). These results continue a trend also seen in Florida’s performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Writing assessment, where there have been continuous increases in the state’s eighth grade writing performance. For more information about FCAT Writing, including this year’s results, visit http://fcat.fldoe.org/fwinfopg.asp.
New Website Provides Up-to-Date Information on Common Assessment System
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) has launched a new website that provides information and timely updates on the progress of the 25-state consortium in developing a next generation common assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English and mathematics. The website – www.parcconline.org – is part of the effort to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for college and careers.
The website has five main sections:
- About PARCC – Contains information on the goals, governance structure, key stakeholders, timeline and challenges.
- The PARCC Assessment – Information is presented about PARCC’s major design elements and development work. In the future, the site will include the assessment blueprints and related materials, along with archived and new Requests for Proposals (RFPs) as they are released.
- Implementation – Major policy and system-level issues are highlighted that states, districts, and/or schools need to address for a successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards and PARCC Assessments.
- In the Classroom – This section is dedicated to the classroom teacher and focuses on the instructional resources being developed through PARCC. Instructional resources on the Common Core State Standards from other organizations are also included.
- PARCC States – Each of the 25 member states has a page with information on the K-12 and postsecondary leaders managing the PARCC work in each state, as well as information on the state’s implementation of the Common Core State Standards.
Visit www.parcconline.org today to learn more about the latest developments in creating a common assessment system based on the Common Core State Standards.
Help Volunteer USA Get Free Books to Help Families
The Volunteer USA Foundation is seeking your help. They want to help 20,000 families obtain free books – and you can help. Simply read a short story or two online with your child or friends at http://www.wegivebooks.org/campaigns/love-read-learn. Each time you read, Volunteer USA will get a free book donated to its Love.Read.Learn! program, which provides family-friendly workshops to give parents skills to help their children succeed. When you visit the link, be sure to select “Support Volunteer USA’s Love. Read. Learn! campaign.
Florida Virtual School Offers Free Driver’s Ed Course
The Florida Virtual School has teamed up with the Florida Safety Council to offer a free Driver’s Ed course for all Orange County teenagers. In an engaging, interactive environment, students will complete the classroom training, including learning rules of the road, accident avoidance, and road signage. Once students pass the online portion of the course, they can begin behind-the-wheel training with a state-certified instructor at the Florida Safety Council. The new program is available for all teenage students, including those in public, private and home school programs, who are residents of Orange County. Students will also receive high school course credit for completing the program. For more information, visit www.meLearningFuels.com.
Sea World Thanks Teachers With Study Pass
For the 13th year, SeaWorld Orlando is offering a Teacher Study Pass to all active and certified K-12 educators. The Study Pass allows unlimited admission to SeaWorld Orlando through Dec. 31, 2011, with no blackout dates. In addition, teachers can purchase up to six tickets simply by bringing their Florida teaching certificate, recent paystub and photo identification to any ticket window at SeaWorld Orlando’s front gate. While there, they can also purchase discounted admission tickets for family and friends. For complete details, visit www.SeaWorldOrlandoTeachers.com.
Outstanding Math and Science Teachers Honored with Presidential Award
Two Florida educators are among the nation’s best as recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Timothy Kenney, from Mandarin Oaks Elementary School in Jacksonville, and Megan Tucker, from Kenwood Elementary School in Ft. Walton Beach join 83 other math and science teachers honored with the award. Winners receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation, an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for an awards ceremony, and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and President Obama’s administration.
Students Compete in State History Fair
More than 950 middle and high school students traveled to Tallahassee from all over the state to participate in the Florida History Fair state contest May 1 – 3, 2011. The students, representing 28 Florida counties, competed in historical paper, exhibit, documentary, performance and website categories after winning in their respective school districts. Sixty-six finalists from 13 counties will travel to the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., in June to take part in the National History Day competition. For a complete list of student winners, visit http://www.fldoe.org/successstories. Congratulations!
Seminole County School Earns National Recognition
Crooms Academy of Information in Seminole County is one of only nine career academies in the nation to receive the National Academy Foundation’s (NAF) distinguished academy status. The designation is given to a select few that have exhibited high fidelity to an educational model that prepares students for success in college, work and life. Crooms Academy will be recognized with the other nine schools during the NAF’s Institute for Staff Development in San Francisco in July 2011. Kudos!
Orange County Students Create Experiment for Endeavor Launch
Nineteen middle school students from Maitland Middle School wondered about the effect of microgravity on the ability of ethanol to kill E. coli bacteria, and posed their question to the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program sponsored by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. As a result, the Orange County students won the opportunity to have their experiment fly aboard the final mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavor. If the study proves that ethanol can kill E. coli in microgravity, it may protect the health of astronauts in space by providing them with a waterless way to disinfect their hands and living quarters. The group, dubbed “The Endeavor 19,” is comprised of Peter Parzola, Kaitlyn Confer, Garrett Gentle, Jordan Goslin, Lucy Greer, Adelia Heidrich, Madison Kerben, Jessica Lanier, Cassidy Livingston, Molly McGuigan, Cindy Menendez, Lauren Milgrim, Abbygail O’Brien, Jared Persons, Roche Pretorius, Thomas Sowards, Ayana St. Jean, Emily Vanderburg, and Ny-Kera Williams. Good stuff!
Volusia Students Qualify to Compete in Odyssey of the Minds World Competition
Seven fifth grade students from Woodward Avenue Elementary School in Volusia County will be competing in the Odyssey of the Mind World Competition May 27 – 30, 2011. The team qualified for the international competition when they placed second in Florida against 20 other teams. Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative opportunities for thousands of student teams from around the world to solve problems that range from building technical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics.
Seminole State Student Wins Transfer Scholarship
Seminole State College of Florida honors student Daniel Leon as one of only 60 students in the nation to be named a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar for 2011. Worth $30,000 annually, the scholarship is considered the largest in the nation for community or state college transfer students. The scholarship makes Seminole State the only college in the nation with six consecutive Jack Kent Cooke scholars since 2006. Daniel will attend American University in Washington, D.C., in the fall and major in international studies and arts management. He is also the recipient of a 2011 Guistwhite Scholarship, a 2011 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold scholarship, and an American University scholarship. Congratulations!
24th Annual Commissioner’s Business Recognition Awards and Tribute to Commissioner Smith
June 9, 2011
Grand Hyatt Hotel
The annual Commissioner’s Business Recognition Awards program celebrates private sector involvement in Florida public education. This year, more than 80 businesses and organizations from across the state will be recognized for their unwavering commitment and creative partnership with the state’s public schools. In addition, the Florida Education Foundation will pay tribute to Commissioner of Education Dr. Eric J. Smith for his years of service and bold leadership in improving public education in Florida. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.floridaeducationfoundation.org/, or contact Deb Schroeder at (850) 245-9692 or Deb.Schroeder@fldoe.org.
Engineering Technology Summer Institute
June 15 – 17, 2011
St. Petersburg College, Clearwater Campus
The Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), a National Science Foundation Center of Excellence for high-tech manufacturing, is hosting an Engineering Technology Summer Institute for educators June 15 – 17, 2011, at the Clearwater Campus of St. Petersburg College. The two-day professional development opportunity will focus on additive manufacturing (3-D printing) and 3-D modeling and design, as well as sessions on student recruitment and retention. The Institute is open to all full-time faculty in secondary or postsecondary public institutions who teach engineering technology, engineering, or related courses in Florida. There is no charge for the Institute and a $250 stipend may be available to eligible participants. The deadline to submit an application is May 1, 2011. For more information, visit www.fl-ate.org or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at email@example.com or (813) 259-6578 or Brad Jenkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Florida Alliance for Arts Education Leadership Summit
June 16 – 18, 2011
The Florida Alliance for Arts Education will host its annual Leadership Summit in Orlando on June 16 – 18, 2011, with the theme, “Arts Education is 21st Century Education.” The summit features breakout sessions by and for educators, administrators and advocates, the Arts Achieve! Model Schools Recognition, the Digital Media Festival Exhibit and much more. For more information, visit www.faae.org or contact Susan Burke, Executive Director of FAAE, at (407) 488-9951 or email@example.com.
National Agriculture in the Classroom Annual Conference
June 22 – 25, 2011
Marriott Harbor Beach Resort
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Language arts, math, nutrition, social studies and science teachers will benefit from the 2011 National Agriculture in the Classroom conference June 22 – 25, 2011, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Engaging interactive workshops and tours will showcase unique agricultural operations in South Florida and illustrate how educators can incorporate real-life agriculture applications into their lesson plans. Visit http://www.conference.ifas.ufl.edu/aitc/ for more information and conference registration.
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar
June 26 – July 29, 2011
Educators are invited to apply to attend the Summer Seminar offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities June 26 – July 29, 2011. During the five-week program, participants will study the economy of the North Sea region in northwestern Europe. The seminar will meet at the Institute for Historical Research at the University of London for the first week and at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in Wassenaar, The Netherlands, for the remaining four weeks. For an application and a full description of the seminar, visit http://www.umassd.edu/euro/neh_prosp_app.cfm.
Florida Association for Pupil Transportation Summer Symposium
June 28 – 29, 2011
Student transportation professionals and others from across the state are invited to attend the 63rd Florida Association for Pupil Transportation Summer Symposium June 28 – 29, 2011, in Ocala. The symposium comprises two full days of general and concurrent sessions and includes workshops on bullying prevention, school bus stop selection and safety, serving charter schools effectively, and using benchmarking and key transportation performance indicators to measure and improve performance. For more information, visit www.faptflorida.org/FAPT%20Summer%20Symposium.htm.
Panhandle Area Educational Consortium/FloridaLearns Foundation 44th Annual Leadership Conference
July 13 – 14, 2011
Bay Point Marriott Resort
Panama City Beach, Fla.
Educators from across the state are invited to the 2011 Panhandle Area Educational Consortium/FloridaLearns Foundation Leadership Conference July 13 – 14, 2011, in Panama City Beach, Fla. Participants will hear what education experts have to say, discover fresh approaches and find solutions to challenges facing schools and districts, connect with peers to discover best practices, and become motivated to begin another academic year with renewed enthusiasm. For more information, call (877) 873-7232 ext. 2260 or ext. 2320, or visit http://www.paec.org/leadershipconference/.
Florida Distance Learning Association Annual Conference
Sept. 23 – 24, 2011
Nova Southeastern University Orlando Campus
The Florida Distance Learning Association will host its annual conference at the Orlando campus of Nova Southeastern University Sept. 23 - 24, 2011, with the theme “Distance Learning: Best Practices and Beyond.” The conference seeks to raise awareness of the best practices in distance learning, promote greater participation in dialogue and exchange, and strengthen district education in the state and nation. For more information or to register, visit www.fdla.com or contact Conference Program Coordinator Tara Kobel at firstname.lastname@example.org.