Thursday, May 31, 2007

Democrats want a recount -- on all FCATs

The fallout of problems with the 2006 third-grade FCAT scores continues with state Democrats now weighing in.

Florida House Democrats are calling for an overhaul of the state's education accountability system by next year, after problems with last year's third-grade reading FCAT were discovered this month. In a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday, the House Democratic Caucus said confidence in the state's accountability system has been shaken by the flaw, which is requiring the rescoring of 204,000 tests. The group, which represents 42 House Democrats, wants a complete audit of all FCAT results since 2000, not just a rescoring of last year's third-grade test.
Source: Miami Herald

Thursday, May 24, 2007

FCAT scoring error raises questions

Human error inflated last year's third-grade FCAT reading scores, state education officials said Wednesday -- an admission that again called into question the state's controversial high-stakes testing system. ''Last year's scores were probably higher than what we should have had,'' state testing director Cornelia Orr said -- just weeks after calling the students' performance in 2006 ``stellar.''

In response to the mistakes, 204,000 tests will have to be regraded and independent audits will become a regular part of the massive state testing program, Orr said. In addition, the state will convene a task force of testing directors and superintendents to decide what else needs to be done. However, there are no plans to forgo grading schools this year. Results from the rescored tests will be available before school grades are released next month.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

FCAT Scores Released

The FCAT scores for grades 4 and 5 were released. Once the individual student data is attained and reviewed, we will get the information out to the individual teachers and other selected staff.

Monday, May 21, 2007

School Safety Patrol

If you are interested in being apart of the 2007-2008 Safety Patrol Committee, please submit your name to Ms. Samuels no later than Monday, May 21, 2007. There will be a brief meeting on Thursday, May 24, 2007 at 3:05 - 3:15pm.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Schools Fall Short in Emergency Preparedness

WASHINGTON (AP) -- When it comes to preparing for emergencies, the nation's schools could be getting better grades.

While most school districts have plans for dealing with emergencies such as terrorist attacks, hurricanes or flu pandemics, those plans often fall short of what is needed, according to an analysis by the congressional Government Accountability Office.

50% of school districts don't have plans for continuing to educate students in the event of a lengthy school closure.

28% of school districts with emergency plans do not have specific provisions for evacuating students with disabilities in an emergency.

70% of school districts reported a lack of expertise and equipment, such as two-way radios and adequate locks for school buildings, as impediments to emergency planning.

State rates pre-K programs

This year, for the first time, parents can go online to see how well preschools that participated in the state's free pre-K program last year are teaching children. Schools were scored on how ready this year's 5-year-olds were for kindergarten.

Please click the title bar above or the VPK logo to access the state link.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

School Board Agenda

Please click the title bar or logo above to view this month's school board agenda.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Reading First Investigation

A congressional report was released on Friday stated that:
• Government contractors were paid by publishers.

• Contractors headed centers that advised states' reading programs.
• New restrictions must be implemented to guard against financial conflicts in programs.

The report zeroed in on four people who directed the program's regional Technical Assistance Centers: These individuals were linked individually or jointly with companies such as Houghton-Mifflin, Voyager, McGraw-Hill and Scott Foresman.

Of the group, Joseph Torgesen directed the eastern regional district at Florida State University from 2003 until the present. Torgesen is co-author of a McGraw Hill reading program that can be used under Reading First. The study found that from 2002 to 2006, Torgesen earned thousands of dollars in royalties and other payments from companies such as McGraw Hill and Pearson and Sopris West, which later was acquired by Cambium Learning.

Torgesen once questioned whether he should seek special permission from the department to review the new Scott Foresman curriculum for Maine. "I had a discussion with some folks in Washington yesterday who rightly pointed out that we might want to think about rewarding Scott Foresman for significantly strengthening their program."

Source: Associated Press

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Chicago schools cut 775 teachers

About 775 teachers in Chicago public schools learned Friday they are losing their jobs in a purge that district leaders say could improve the quality of instruction in the system's most challenged schools. The teachers were dismissed for various reasons, but the most common was an inability to manage their classrooms. Most of these teachers have been in the district less than five years and others who have worked for longer than that as full-time substitutes.

Principals always have had the right to dismiss teachers who have been in the district less than five years, but the current union contract makes the process easier.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

OPIS Survey

We are asking that ALL staff (Not just the teachers), please complete this requirement by clicking the link below or the logo above to start the survey.

OPIS Survey

Rebates to pay for school computers

Proceeds from a class-action lawsuit will pay for new technology in hundreds of Miami-Dade and Broward schools. Some of Florida's neediest schools will get an infusion of technology, thanks to a class-action lawsuit settlement between the state and Microsoft Corp.

More than $93 million in vouchers for computers and software arrived in school districts across the state last month. Miami-Dade received nearly $20 million, while Broward got $8 million. The Florida Department of Education estimates that nearly 260 schools in Dade and 130 schools in Broward are eligible for the funds.

Half of the money can be used to purchase hardware such as desktop, laptop or tablet computers, interactive white boards and printers. The other half must be used for software. The vouchers must be used by June 17, 2010. They may be applied retroactively to purchases made after April 15, 2003.

Source: Miami Herald

Monday, May 07, 2007

ESOL Grading Guidelines

In the forms section of the blog, you will find the ESOL grading guidelines which I think you will find helpful. These guidelines are also available by clicking the titlebar or South Park's Cartman.

1,400 miss school amid threat rumors

WESTON · Hundreds of Cypress Bay High students stayed home from school Friday amid rumors about a hit list and a bomb threat. A 10th-grade student had been suspended from school three weeks ago after he turned in a paper to an English teacher that raised "red flags" to school administration.

A special-needs student was angry about how administration handled a bullying situation last year when he was a ninth-grader. The rumors about bombs or guns were unfounded. Fears arose Friday that the student would return to campus, although he did not. Of the two-campus high school's 5,300 students, more than 1,400 were absent on Friday, about 1,200 more than normal. The school did not put out a formal message to the school community to quell the growing rumors, instead preferring to answer the flood of phone calls and e-mails on an individual basis.

Source: Sun-Sentinel

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Summer Heat

Please click on the logo or title bar to access information on this year's Summer Heat Program. There were also e-mails sent which described the math and botany courses.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

P.E. Bill approved by legislature

Florida lawmakers decided Friday to require elementary school students to take 30 minutes of physical education a day. While state law already encourages elementary schools to offer 150 minutes of physical education every week, the legislation will mandate it, beginning when the new school year starts this fall. Many districts don't meet this standard, according to a Senate report that found elementary school students take an average of 78 minutes of PE a week.

Source: Miami Herald

Thursday, May 03, 2007

FCAT Results - Grade 3

If all of the children remain and no new children enter Parkway, we expect 20 students will repeat third grade next year. Of the 20 pupils, 3 of the students will be enrolled in the third garde for the third time (Tier 3). On the percent scoring 3 or above, we dropped from 60 to 48 in reading and from 59 to 58 in math. Please click the title bar above to access more detailed FCAT information.

Summer Heat

Summer HEAT information can be viewed beginning on Friday, May 4, 2007.
The link to the website is located on the district's homepage at
Registration for all instructional personnel will be launched on Monday, May 14, 2007 at 5:00 P.M.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Christine Master at (305) 995-7616

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Grade 3 FCAT Results Today

Grade 3 FCAT Results to be released today. Details to come.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Summer Money for Staffings

It is the time of the year to make sure you have teachers available for summer staffings. Each teacher will be paid hourly for the time that staffings take place. Each staffing must have a SPED teacher and a general education teacher (who is familiar with the child or familiar with the grade level curriculum and expectations) from the school present at the meeting.

If interested, please provide me with your home number, cell number and dates available by this Friday. I will confirm with you if your name was placed on the list.