Hurricane Dorian Tested Our Crisis Communication Plans. How Did Your District Do?
Hurricane Dorian was a disaster for the Bahamas, but it was just dress rehearsal for most Florida schools and now is a great time for an evaluation. How did you do with your Crisis Communications Plan? Did all systems work? Did everyone know their jobs? Did you get information out in a timely manner directly to your target audiences? David R. Voss, president of Voss & Associates, a full-service communications company focused exclusively on education, offers crystal clear recommendations for Florida school districts looking to formulate, evaluate or improve its crisis communications plan.
Florida public universities ace rankings
U.S. News and World Report has championed Florida’s colleges and universities for excelling in enrolling and graduating large proportions of low-income students in its latest rankings. U.S. News looked at six-year graduation rates of Pell Grant students adjusted to give much more credit to schools with larger Pell Grant student proportions, and the University of South Florida ranked 11th on the list, Florida International University 12th, while nine other state colleges made the social mobility top 100. Overall, the University of Floridaremains the top university in the state, public or private, ranking seventh in U.S. News’ list of top public schools and 34th among all universities. Florida State University and the University of Miami share the 57th ranking on the national university list, while FIU ranked 105th on the list of top public universities and 218th among all na tional universities.
Florida among states affected by Pearson hack
Florida is one of 13 states where students in a Pearson learning program had their data exposed to hackers, according to a new class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit claims that at least 1m students, in Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, had their personal records exposed. Attorneys Michael Kanovitz and Scott R. Drury filed the suit, which accuses corporate officials of waiting four months to inform teachers and students of the hack, which was flagged by the FBI in March 2019, at the end of last week in U.S. District Court – naming Pearson, Pearson Clinical Assessments, and NCS Pearson as defendants.
Separated migrant children experience severe trauma, watchdog finds
Migrant children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border last year suffered serious mental health problems, according to a scathing new government watchdog report published on Wednesday, the first substantial accounting by a government agency on how family separation under the federal government’s “zero tolerance” policy has affected the mental health of children. Separated children showed more fear, feelings of abandonment and post-traumatic stress symptoms than children who were not separated, according to the inspector general’s office in the Department of Health and Human Services. Alongside interviews with about 100 mental health clinicians who had regular interactions with children, investigators visited 45 facilities in 10 states during August and September of 2018, where there were almost 9,000 children in shelters – nearly 85% of whom were 13-17 in age, 13% were 6-12 and 2% were i nfants to age 5. Only four of the 45 shelters reviewed by the U.S. Health and Human Services inspector general met all staff screening requirements, and the inspector general found that the federal government had granted waivers from conducting child protective service reviews at four behavioral health residential facilities last year, in violation of the agency’s rules, including at facilities holding thousands of children at Homestead, Florida, and Tornillo, in Texas.
Palm Beach County implementing financial literacy courses
The Palm Beach County School District has already trained about 800 teachers to lead its financial literacy course, to meet Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new legislation requiring Florida school districts to offer financial literacy courses as electives. “We are trying to teach kids to become responsible money managers. We are trying to teach them to become informed consumers,” said Aaron Standish, the district’s K-12 financial literacy coordinator. Students are learning the six “standards” for financial literacy: earning income, saving, financial investing, credit and protecting and insuring. PBC ultimately hopes to have around 1,000 teachers trained and ready this year.
Teachers feel ignored in superintendent search
Volusia County Schools teachers are again complaining of feeling left out and disregarded by the School Board over the district’s search for a new superintendent. Though the Board’s process for finding a new leader, to replace interim Tim Egnor by January, includes a public survey, four community forums for people to come and offer their input, two focus groups for teachers and one for support staff, and a search committee composed of community representatives and people appointed by the School Board, Karen Weinrich, a teacher at Spruce Creek Elementary, says: “We feel ignored. We feel like you ask for our input, and it is ignored.”
Broward Schools could revamp TV station
Broward Education Communications Network, better known as BECON, could start selling air time on its TV station or distance-learning videos it produces locally. Kathy Koch, chief communications officer for Broward Schools, who oversees the station, said it may even start selling may even start a local newscast that focuses on news happening in Broward schools. “BECON is an under-utilized asset we have here in the district,” Koch told the School Board on Wednesday. “We have assets but some of them are old and some of the job descriptions are old. We need to determine how to turn BECON into a much bigger asset and bigger communication tool.”
Which Florida schools charge lowest tuition?
Florida residents attending four-year schools pay the lowest in-state tuition at Tallahassee Community College, Gulf Coast State College and Palm Beach State College, according to an analysis of federal data for the 2018-19 academic year.
SOCIAL & COMMUNITY
Post-hurricane statement from Mark Mullins
Brevard County Public Schools Superintendent Mark Mullins champions the work and preparedness of BPS’ Facilities and Educational Technology teams, school staff, custodians, teachers, support staff, administrators and on-site techs for working to getting schools and district offices prepared for Hurricane Dorian. “I am truly grateful for the valiant work of our shelter managers, maintenance, security, and operations teams, and our teachers for stepping up, particularly at a time of both personal and professional uncertainty, to prepare and protect our schools and to proudly serve our community, both pre- and post-storm,” he asserts.
Sarasota teachers could get help with accommodation
Plans to provide affordable housing for a small group of teachers in downtown Sarasota are progressing, with city planners approving the final design of a 130-unit building known as “Lofts on Lemon”. Around 40% of the units are reserved for affordable housing for teachers and other civil servants, including law enforcement officers, first responders and government employees. “This could be the last opportunity to build affordable multifamily units in the increasingly expensive downtown urban core,” Sarasota Housing Authority CEO William Russell said.