Commissioner Robinson Recommends FCAT 2.0 and Algebra I End of Course Cut Scores
The FCAT 2.0 and the Algebra I End of Course assessments are based on the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards and are designed to test Florida's students on more rigorous material. The standards recommended by Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson reflect this, raising the bar for Florida's children from 3rd through 10th grade and ensuring they are on the path to graduating college and career ready. For the first time in Florida's history, graduation requirements are aligned with college readiness and the standards are consistent across grade levels. Parents, teachers and administrators will now be able to identify those children who need additional help earlier so they can graduate college ready. For more information about the recommended cut scores, visit http://www.fldoe.org/news/2011/2011_12_07-3.asp.
2011 Holiday Reading List Encourages Families to Share the Gift of Literacy
The 2011 Just Read, Florida! Recommended Holiday Reading List is now posted at http://www.justreadfamilies.org and includes a variety of interesting books by grade level, each with a holiday theme that will kindle the interest, imagination and love of reading for people of all ages. The site also includes tools parents can use to nurture a reading-friendly environment at home and in day-to-day activities, links to county and municipal public libraries, and tips for parents on how to make the most of the time they spend reading with their families. Families can also use the online tool, "Find a Book," at http://florida.lexile.com to supplement the holiday reading list with other books tailored to a child's interest and reading ability using LexileŽ measures.
Student Astronaut Challenge
The Florida Department of Education is proud to announce its first-ever Student Astronaut Challenge, a unique opportunity that offers high school students a chance to compete in aerospace science and be involved with a team that demonstrates knowledge and understanding in the field, problem solving and performance within a flight simulator. Eight five-person teams will be selected to compete from applications received by Jan. 27, 2012. Applications must include a scientific proposal for a zero-gravity experiment that will be conducted if that team is chosen. Selected teams will compete at the Challenger Learning Center in Tallahassee on May 19, 2012. Visit http://www.fldoe.org/JustForTeachers/ for official rules and an application form.
National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest
Fifth grade students throughout Florida are invited to submit an entry for the Missing Children's Day Poster Contest. Using the theme, "Bring Our Missing Children Home," students should design and draw a poster that reflects the theme and complete an application describing the importance of the theme. Each school can submit a poster for each 5th grade class that participates and the statewide winner will be chosen for entry into the national competition. The statewide winner will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Tallahassee for Florida Missing Children's Day in September 2012.
A complete packet of information can be found at: http://mecptraining.org/poster-contest/. If you have any questions or need additional information about this national contest, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Schools will need to submit their poster(s) to the Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse (MEPIC) by Jan. 31, 2012, for state-level judging to Jessica Davenport with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse, 2331 Phillips Road, Tallahassee, FL 32308.
National STEM Video Game Challenge
The 2012 National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Video Challenge is a new initiative in partnership with President Obama's Educate to Innovate Campaign, the U.S. Dept. of Education and Digital Promise, and is designed to unlock breakthrough technologies to transform teaching and learning. The Challenge is a multi-year competition with the goal to motivate interest in STEM learning among America's youth by tapping into students' natural passion for playing and making video games. The contest is open to students and game designers in four levels: middle school, high school, college and graduate students, and educators. Entrants have until March 12, 2012, to submit their games and ideas. For complete details, visit http://stemchallenge.org/Default.aspx.
Severe Weather Awareness Week Contests
The Florida Division of Emergency Management and the American Red Cross have teamed up to sponsor Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week Jan. 30 - Feb. 3, 2012. The campaign includes poster and video public service announcement contests. Fourth and fifth grade students are eligible to compete in the Severe Weather Awareness Week Poster Contest and should submit a poster that relates to the theme and illustrates an example of natural hazards that affect Florida. The 30-second public service announcement contest is open to students aged 11-18 (grades 6-8 and 9-12) and must incorporate a safety or preparedness message about Boating Safety, Extreme Temperatures or Rip Currents, and include corrective actions or safety messages. The deadline to submit an entry is Jan. 9, 2012. Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org/swaw/ for complete contest details and requirements.
Congress-Bundestag Vocational Exchange Scholarship
The Congress-Bundestag Vocational Exchange Scholarship provides 25 graduating high school seniors the opportunity to spend one year in Germany exploring their career interests. Each high school may nominate up to three students who possess the maturity and commitment necessary to be successful in an international exchange program. Applications are available at http://www.fldoe.org/workforce/programs/cp_bundestag.asp and must be submitted by Jan. 31, 2012.
What's on the Menu? Financial Education for Families
Are you looking for an easy and exciting way for students and their families to learn about everyday finances and smart money decisions? The "What's on the Menu? Financial Education for Families" program may be just what you're looking for. Teachers can also request free resources, including a classroom poster with tips, tricks and lesson plans that strengthen the connection between the classroom and real world financial situations, and access online materials that include lesson plans, videos and more. Sign up now at http://volunteerusafoundation.org/programs/families/parent-workshops-tools/financial-workshop-for-families/ to schedule a free family-style workshop or to download materials. Contact Samantha Taylor at Samantha.firstname.lastname@example.org or call (352) 237-6685 for your free poster. Visit http://volunteerusafoundation.org/ for more information and to register.
Time Running Out to Submit an Entry for the KidCare Act Out for Health Contest
The annual KidCare Act-Out for Health Contest is still accepting student entries for television public service announcements, billboards and essays. Students in grades 4-12 are eligible to design a billboard, write an essay or create a 30-second commercial that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Lesson plans for teachers are also available. The deadline to submit an entry is Jan. 6, 2012. For more information, visit http://www.actoutforhealth.org.
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