Business Leaders Honored for Commitment to Education
Organizations and businesses from around the state were honored last Thursday evening in Tampa during the 2011 Commissioner's Business Recognition Awards ceremony. Hosted by the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Education Foundation, more than 80 education business partners were recognized for improving the academic success of all students by Florida Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith, along with members of the Florida Education Foundation and the State Board of Education. The awards program encourages successful alliances within the business community and among local school districts for the benefit of Florida's students. For more information about the Florida Education Foundation and to view a list of winners, visit http://www.floridaeducationfoundation.org.
FCAT and FCAT 2.0 Results Hold Steady
The statewide 2011 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test 2.0 (FCAT 2.0) Reading results for grades 4-10, FCAT 2.0 Mathematics results for grades 4-8, FCAT Mathematics results for grade 10, and FCAT Science results for grades 5, 8, and 11 show that the scores remained essentially the same as last year due to the process used to transition to new, more rigorous assessments. FCAT Science and the Grade 10 FCAT Mathematics were also administered this year, with results showing statewide student performance increases for all science-tested grades and a slight performance decrease at grade 10 in Mathematics. Next year, grade 11 Science and grade 10 Mathematics will be replaced with Florida End-of-Course (EOC) assessments and grades 5 and 8 Science will transition to FCAT 2.0.
Florida's statewide assessments are currently undergoing a transition from the FCAT to the new FCAT 2.0 and Florida EOC Assessments. These new assessments are based on Florida's updated, more rigorous curriculum standards adopted by the State Board of Education several years ago. To help complete the transition, a method was used this year to link the new FCAT 2.0 results to the old FCAT score scale, resulting in essentially the same percentage of students statewide scoring in each achievement level as last year. The linking process also allows for different results at the district and school level. New scale score and achievement level standards will be set this fall. To view this year's assessment results and learn more about the transition to FCAT 2.0 and EOC assessments, visit http://fcat.fldoe.org.
First-Ever Algebra 1 End of Course Exam Results Announced
The recent release of the Algebra 1 End-of-Course exam results marked a significant milestone in Florida's education reform efforts. First, the exams measured student performance on very clear, course-specific Algebra 1 content standards that allow teachers to study results, benchmark performance, and refine their instructional strategies as necessary. Second, the Algebra I EOC was given to students almost entirely via computer. This represented a very large-scale and successful statewide introduction to computer-based testing, meaning more time for students to learn the important algebra content and a quicker turnaround for results in the years ahead.
As this is a transition year for the new EOC assessment, results were reported on a special scale known as a T-score scale of 20-80. On this scale, a score of approximately 50 is at the statewide average, and Individual Student Reports will indicate whether a student's score falls within the high, middle, or low levels as compared to other students in Florida. For students who entered grade 9 in the 2010-11 school year and were enrolled in Algebra 1 or an equivalent course, each student's Algebra 1 EOC Assessment score must be used to calculate 30 percent of his or her final grade in the course. The method for applying this requirement will be determined and applied by each school district. For more information about End-of-Course assessments, visit http://fcat.fldoe.org/eoc/.
Virtual Curriculum Marketplace Now Available for Teachers
A new approach to help teachers navigate the crowded digital curriculum landscape is now available as the Florida Virtual Curriculum Marketplace (FVCM). The marketplace provides a single point of entry for Florida teachers to search for content that is educationally proven and aligned to Florida's Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (Common Core). Even though most educators use digital content daily, the challenge is the difficulty in finding appropriate and easy-to-use content on the Internet. With FVCM, teachers have access to district and school-licensed digital content from multiple sources and a wide variety of public and free sources. Every Florida educator has access at no cost to the FVCM and its free, user-generated and district-licensed resources. Informational training sessions will be offered throughout the summer to enable teachers to get a head start on their instructional planning before the new school year starts. To learn more about the marketplace and to watch a short informational video, visit http://www.learning.com/floridavcm.
Summer Literacy Adventure Encourages Kids to Read Outdoors This Summer
In conjunction with the Summer Literacy Adventure announced by First Lady Ann Scott, the Florida Departments of Education (DOE) and Environmental Protection (DEP) are encouraging students to head outdoors with a book from DOE's Just Read, Florida! 2011 Recommended Summer Reading List. Many of the books on this year's list are themed around travel, and children can use their imagination and the environment at Florida's state parks, greenways and trails to discover and learn about places near and far. And, through the "Find a Book, Florida" search tool, students can find books tailored to their own interests and reading level that will help them meet their Summer Literacy Adventure pledge to read a certain number of books. To access the Summer Reading List and participate in the Summer Literacy Adventure, visit the Just Read, Florida! website at www.justreadflorida.com. Students can identify books based on their interests through http://florida.lexile.com. For more information on Florida's State Parks, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org.
Volunteer USA Foundation Announces Family Literacy Grant
Volunteer USA has opened an Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) process to support high-quality family literacy projects during the 2011-12 academic year. Eligible programs interested in opening or expanding literacy experiences to families of diverse backgrounds - including families of deaf and hard of hearing children - may access the ITN application online. To learn more and download the application, visit http://www.volunteerusafoundation.org/What-We-Do/Family-Literacy-Initiative/Call-for-Family-Literacy-Grant-Applications. The deadline is June 30, 2011.
Nominations for District Data Leader Due This Summer
Nominations are currently being accepted for the Florida Department of Education District Data Leader of the Year Program. This program recognizes Florida school district superintendents who are leading the way in using education data to drive student improvement. Participating districts must nominate their district superintendent prior to Aug. 1, 2011. Only district superintendents are eligible to be nominated. If you have any questions about the 2011 District Data Leader of the Year Program, please contact the Office of Communications and External Affairs at (850) 245-0413 or email Damonica.Rivas@fldoe.org. The nomination form is available at www.fldoe.org/districtdataleader.
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