Saturday, June 30, 2007

FCAT School Grade and AYP

Good afternoon everyone. I hope that you are enjoying your summer thus far. I am so excited to announce that we were able to maintain our school grade. We achieved a letter grade of “B”. In addition to that, we met AYP standards. Not meeting those standards would have had huge implications for our school. I want to thank all of you for your hard work and dedication to our students. We did well in spite of our challenges and changes this year and I expect nothing less next school year.

Ms. Abner

Friday, June 29, 2007

Crist Vetoes ESOL Bill

Reading teachers who instruct ESOL students will continue to have to complete 300 hours of professional development after Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a bill Thursday that would have lowered the requirements.

The bill would have mandated just 60 hours of training.

Source: Miami Herald

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Primary Math Study PD

Participants in the Primary Math Study,
(Teachers in Grades 1 and 2, Inclusion Teachers and Ms. Scott)

You have the choice of attending the one-day, professional development activity for the Primary Math Study on Thursday, August 9th or Friday, August 10th at Coral Park Elementary School. (1225 SW 97th Ave., 305-221-5632). For your active participation, you will receive breakfast, lunch and a stipend. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Effect of Property Tax Cuts

Below are the budgetary issues that Broward County School Board is reviewing as they adjust to the expected decreased revenue due to the property tax cuts.

• Replacing school resource officers with security specialists: $7.4 million

• Paying for crossing guards: $7.8 million

• Paying for school nurses: $4 million

• Fire inspections: $800,000

• Paying for counselors: $490,000

• Doing its own health inspections of cafeterias and kitchens: $150,000

Source: Broward school district.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

FCAT violation costs teacher's job

Barbara Heggaton, who received stellar evaluations during her 20-year career and was named teacher of the year at Moon Lake for the 2004-05 school year, was fired by the Pasco County, FL. School Board for rephrasing questions for special education students on the FCAT.

He said this ruling shows that even if teachers act in good faith in proctoring the FCAT, they'll face the possibility of losing their job and possibly their license. Benjamin said the state's Professional Practices Services, which has the power to yank teachers' licenses, is also investigating.

The incident happened during FCAT testing Feb. 28. Karen Middleton, an instructional assistant, said she was in her office, which is next door to Heggaton's room, when she heard Heggaton ask a student, "Why did you change that answer when you had it right? Don't you know this test determines your future?"

Source: St. Petersburg Times; 6-20-07

Friday, June 22, 2007

State won't count flawed FCAT scores

Florida Department of education decided that third-grade reading results will not be used in determining the 2007 school grades because of flaws in last year's scoring.

Pending approval from the United States Department of Education, The state board also voted Tuesday to exclude the third-grade scores from another formula used to determine whether schools are meeting standards under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Source: Miami Herald

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Computer Lab

The computer lab in room 71 was disbanded and is now the office of our two reading coaches. The computers in that room were placed in the specific classrooms based on need.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Primary Math Study

For the Primary Math Study, which involves our first and second grade classes,

the district selected the Saxon Math curriculum for our school. Please click the title bar or logo to learn more about the program. The other two schools in the county that will be using our intervention will be Majorie Stoneman Douglas and Coral Park Elementarys. While we have not received official word, we expect the one day training to occur on August 9 at one of the schools mentioned. There will be a second day of training tentatively set for mid or late October. Details to come.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Looming school cuts raise alarm

TALLAHASSEE -- As a special lawmaking session to cut property taxes begins Tuesday, a $31.6 billion proposal negotiated last week is facing serious trouble.

The most recent proposal, calls for $7.2 billion in school cuts over five years -- $1.2 billion from Miami-Dade and Broward counties alone -- and legislators and educators are concerned.

Teachers and parents are joining the chorus of potential tax-cut opponents who, like police officers, firefighters, nurses and environmentalists, once thought their programs would be spared deep cuts but now face them.
Source: Miami Herald

Friday, June 15, 2007

State panel recommends school grades get curve

An advisory panel planned to recommend changes to the school-grade formula, but will keep flawed test results if they help the school's grade. The Florida Department of Education will try to get school grades out by the end of the month, but state officials first may have to amend the grading formula in light of the flawed 2006 third-grade reading FCAT scores.

The panel met in Tampa to discuss the options and will recommend that DOE exclude the flawed test scores from the grading process, except in cases where the scores would help improve a school's grade. In addition, they would like the state to suspend a provision of the school grading process that penalizes schools that don't show enough improvement among the lowest-performing students.

Source: Miami Herald

Thursday, June 14, 2007


The Pasco County (FL) School Board's new policy for employees is deceptively simple: "Visible body piercings and tattoos that are offensive to community standards will be restricted."

The superintendent stated that "Though you may want something today, be sure it's something you'll want when you're 40. ... Your MySpace, your tattoo, your piercing, all that represents you, and what is the image that you want out there when you become an adult and when you seek employment?" Board Chairwoman Marge Whaley raised doubts about how the policy will be implemented, and wasn't even sure how it would apply to current employees.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

School Board Agenda

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fire Alarm Project

Our year-long Fire Alarm Project is expected to be completed by Contender Electric within the next two weeks. There will be various testing on the system throughout the summer. Our hope is that we will never need to use this resource.

Monday, June 11, 2007

State Measure Would Cut ESOL Training

Reading teachers who instruct English language learners would have to complete 60 hours of training, rather than the 300 hours now required by the Florida Department of Education to obtain an English for Speakers of Other Languages, or ESOL, endorsement.

The proposed change would take effect July 1 unless vetoed by Govenor Crist. Many say that 60 hours is not enough to ensure that reading teachers can effectively instruct students with a limited grasp of the English language.
Source: Miami Herald

Saturday, June 09, 2007

New Playground

Ms. Abner, Dr. Kosnitzky and Mr. Sommers met with district personnel and representatives from five playground equipment and installation companies.

These companies are all bidding for our business for this $75,000 project which will be located in the fenced in area behind the hard court area. Ms Abner is reviewing each company's proposal and will make a decision in the coming weeks. The playground should be available to our students by November and is expected to hold two classes at a time.

Friday, June 08, 2007

State school standards vary dramatically

The federal government's comparison of how states test student progress shows big differences between each state. For example, a reading score that rates a fourth-grader "proficient" in Mississippi would be a failing score in Massachusetts, according to a report released Thursday by the Education Department. This opens the issue of whether the No Child Left Behind law should be overhauled to make standards more uniform from state to state.

Source: Associated Press

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Lesson Plan Best Practices Link

Please click the title bar above to view this lesson plan link of best practices which is provided by Broward County Public Schools.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Early Reading First Program

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal program designed to give preschoolers a boost in early reading got a mixed report card Monday.
The Early Reading First Program has had a positive effect on children's print and letter knowledge, according to a report released by the Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. But the study also found the program has had no impact on phonological awareness, which includes rhyming, or oral language, which includes vocabulary development. The program has led to more professional development for teachers, according to the study.
Early Reading

Monday, June 04, 2007

Instructional Transfers

Please note that per the current contract between Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the United Teachers of Dade, Article XII, Section 7, applications for transfer may be submitted anytime after February 1 to be effective after the closing of school. Approved applicants will receive their transfer to the new location effective July 1st 2007.

Newly approved applications for transfer must be received at least five days prior to the opening of school for the new year. Applications received after this deadline may only be processed for the current school year if a replacement has been hired before the first day of school for students. All other applications will become effective for the next school year.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

FCAT error could delay school grades

The release of school grades could be delayed as a task force tries to determine how the scoring of an FCAT reading test was botched.

A task force charged with restoring public faith in the FCAT ended its first meeting Friday with more questions than answers. One of the questions: When will the state release the much-anticipated school grades?

The Florida Department of Education announced that it would rescore last year's third-grade FCAT reading test after officials discovered that human error had inflated last year's student scores. Officials are looking at a number of factors that may have contributed to the problem but have been unable so far to specify what went wrong.
DOE officials said the mistake could delay the release of this year's school grades, which typically is done in mid-June. In past years, school officials have notified parents of such choices before the start of the school year, but that could be pushed back as far as October, Blomberg said.
Source: Miami Herals