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Flagler Schools’ Latest Student Code of Conduct: Zero Tolerance Endures, More Infractions Added, But Also More Vagueness

| July 17, 2014

The proposed 2015 Student Code of Conduct in Flagler County Schools adds a series of infractions, including cussing, slurs, harassment,and use of social media, but despite Superintendent Jacob Oliva’s stated opposition to zero-tolerance policies, those remain unchanged, and many of the changes exhibit alarming vagueness.

All Flagler Elementary Schools Will Have School Cops This Year, Even as SRD Total Won’t Change

| July 17, 2014

The Flagler School district approved a plan that spreads its five full-time School Resource Deputies between 11 schools, reducing FPC’s cops to one full-timer, with the other dividing time between three elementary schools, and cops at two middle schools covering an elementary school each.

Florida’s Teachers Union Sues State Over “Sneaky” Last-Minute Voucher Expansion

| July 17, 2014

The voucher expansion had appeared dead in the Senate until getting approved in a broader bill in the waning hours of the 2014 legislative session. The Florida Education Association charges the state “log rolled” that and other education issues into a single bill.

Flagler School District Rated B For 2nd Straight Year Despite Seven A-Rated Schools

| July 11, 2014

A-rated schools included Bunnell, Rymfire, Old Kings, Wadsworth and Belle Terre elementaries, along with Indian Trails Middle and Palm Harbor, the charter school that just two years ago was failing. The district will earn several hundred thousand dollars in bonuses.

Edging Out Flagler’s Jill Espinosa, Christie Bassett of Polk Is the 2015 Florida Teacher of the Year

| July 10, 2014

Christie Bassett was named the 2015 Teacher of the Year just after 8 p.m. at the end of a ceremony from Hard Rock Live at Universal in Orlando. Jill Espinoa, Flagler County’s Teacher of the Year, was among the five finalists.

Florida Lottery Spikes to Record $5.3 Billion in Sales; Only $1.4 Billion to Education

| July 8, 2014

The Florida Lottery’s increased revenues stems largely from continued growth in scratch-off ticket sales, which range in price from $1 to $25 and are now available at more than 13,000 locations throughout the state.

One-Stop Fall Enrollment
at Daytona State College Set for July 19

| July 7, 2014

New and returning students can sign up for classes, financial aid and other needs or benefits in one visit to Daytona State College on Saturday, July 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Wetherell Center at the Daytona Beach Campus, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd.

FPC’s David Halliday, Now Hall of Famer, a Finalist for National Inspiring Coach Award

| June 27, 2014

FPC’s Dave Halliday is one of 25 national finalists for the Brooks Inspiring Coach award. He’s already earned $5,000 worth of gear for FPC and $500 for team expenses. Winning will double that. But he needs your votes.

St. Johns Jury Recommends Death for Kentrell Johnson in FSU Student Vincent Binder’s Murder

| June 26, 2014

Vincent Binder’s mutilated body was found in a St. Augustine field in April 2010, weeks after he was murdered by three convicts escaped from a Louisiana prison. Two were sentenced to death, one tio life in prison.

John Thrasher’s Quest for FSU Presidency Out of Special Treatment With New Consultant

| June 25, 2014

The search for Florida State University’s next president won’t be sidetracked again for a powerful state politician — or any other individual — who wants the job, the new consultant said.

After Thrasher Fracas, Florida Board Rethinks How Universities Search for Presidents

| June 20, 2014

Sen. John Thrasher’s desire for the Florida State University presidency was said to be keeping other potential applicants from putting their name forward for the position while damaging FSU’s reputation.

Flagler Students Post Wide Gains in State Rankings in FCAT Reading, Math and Science

| June 6, 2014

Overall, Flagler students improved their rankings in Florida in 12 categories while dropping back in seven, providing many bright spots but also a few worrisome ones.

Stand-Up Comedian Skyler Wahl, Pianist Kayla Byrne and Singer Angel Brown Are Flagler Entertainers of the Year

| June 6, 2014

The 2014 Spotlight started out with just over 50 acts auditioning in early May for a spot in this year’s show. When all was said and done, 27 act made the cut, and each one prepared for the chance to being named a Flagler County Youth Entertainer of the year.

Janet Valentine Headlines 44 Retirements From Flagler Schools as Oliva Era Begins in Earnest

| June 4, 2014

Former Superintendent Janet Valentine mad a rare appearance at a board event since suffering a stroke before Thanksgiving as the district celebrated its retirees. Later, the School Board approved Oliva’s contract, valued–between salary and compensation–at $173,000.

Daytona State College Prof. Nabeel Yousef Earns Fulbright Scholarship and Heads for Jordan

| June 4, 2014

Dr. Nabeel Yousef, an associate professor in Daytona State College’s School of Engineering Technology, has been selected for a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to Jordan this fall.

Flagler District’s 4th Graders Rank 6th in Writing in Florida, 3rd Graders Rank 10th in Reading

| May 23, 2014

The Flagler County school district had a few results to celebrate as the Department of Education on Friday released FCAT writing scores for 4th, 8th and 10th graders and reading and math scores for third graders.

Florida State University’s Presidential Search Short-Listed to One: Sen. John Thrasher

| May 21, 2014

Thrasher, 70, whose senate district includes all of Flagler County, has long been an influential figure in state politics and serves as chairman of Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election campaign. He served as House speaker from 1998 to 2000 and currently is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.

Cell Phone’s GPS Coordinates, Court-Ordered to be Revealed, Lead to 2nd Arrest in School Bus Thefts

| May 20, 2014

As Myron Vanzel Brown, 39, of Jacksonville, made calls before and after the two Flagler buses were stolen from the FPC bus depot, each call registered Brown’s precise location–in the vicinity of the school, then on the road back to Jacksonville. The phone records were key evidence in his arrest.

PERT: Why Flagler Students Are Forced to Take the Stupidest Test You’ve Never Heard Of

| May 14, 2014

Why are a slew of high achievers at Matanzas High School and FPC who have already succeeded in various courses having to take the so-called Post Secondary Educational Readiness Test on top of all other tests? How many unnecessary, time-consuming tests are we going to continue to subject our students to?

Synchro Belles’ Winter Training In Question as School Board Redraws Adult Education Map

| May 12, 2014

Major changes are on the way for Flagler County’s adult and community education programs, which have been plagued by issues—many of which beyond its control—that have hurt its bottom line, starting with Flagler Technical Institute classes moving to Matanzas and Palm Coast High School and winter pool heating at Belle Terre Swim Club ended.

In a Surprise Stop at Belle Terre Elementary, Education Commissioner Names Jill Espinosa Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist

| May 8, 2014

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart revealed this morning in Flagler that Belle Terre Elementary kindergarten teacher Jill Espinosa, the current Flagler County Teacher of the Year, is one of the five finalists for the state Teacher of the Year honor, to be announced in July. Espinosa was awarded $5,000 in a surprise ceremony today attended by two superintendents, the school board and all district administrators as well as the commissioner.

Voucher Scams: Floridians Should Be Fighting the Privatization of Public Schools

| May 6, 2014

We’re decades into a war waged by shadowy business interests and religious groups, working through “cooperative” legislators and governors to gradually undermine most of the state’s public schools and ultimately privatize them, argues Daniel Tilson.

5 Teens, Most of Them Students at Matanzas, Arrested Over Vandalism at Indian Trails Middle School

| May 6, 2014

The evening of May 3, seven teenagers, most of the students at Matanzas and Palm Coast high school, broke into Indian Trails Middle School, trashed a bathroom, entered the office of a coach and stole loose change, all the while laughing and capturing their acts with their phone videos. Two of the teens had been arrested in march in connection with the robbery of a pizza delivery woman in Palm Coast.

Turned Down for a Job Outside the Classroom, a Teacher Rediscovers Her Mission

| May 4, 2014

It’s a sad notion that administrators, school boards, human resources offices and so-called reformists have unfortunately inculcated in teachers over the years, this idea that if you want to be successful or be taken seriously, or make any sort of impact, that you must stop teaching to do so.

As Florida House Opens Schools to Guns, Lawmaker Declares Gun-Free Zones “The Most Dangerous Places in America”

| April 28, 2014

In a debate that showed sharp divisions about how best to protect children and teachers, the Florida House on Monday approved a bill, 71-44, that could lead to some public-school employees or volunteers carrying guns on campus.

Matanzas High School Junior Kathryn Perez Named Runner-Up in New York Times Editorial Writing Contest

| April 24, 2014

Kathryn Perez, a witty, self-assured 16-year-old junior who started writing when she was about 5, caught the attention of the New York Times judges with a counterintuitive editorial celebrating Barbie’s feminist virtues.

In Clearest Pro-Immigrant Shift Yet, Gov. Scott Demands a Senate Vote on In-State Tuition for Undocumented

| April 23, 2014

The governor, who originally came to office threatening to crack down on undocumented immigrants, said Tuesday that his opinion on the issue was shaped by stories he’s heard from students who grew up in Florida and would benefit from being able to pay the cheaper, in-state tuition rates.

Florida State University’s Rape Problem: Football First, Morals Later

| April 19, 2014

The Jameis Winston revelations are one more reminder of just how far universities and their apologists are willing to go to protect the multibillion-dollar enterprise that we call “college sports.” What is the cost to the women at Florida State—and the parents who send them there–who surely can have no illusions about what will happen if they dare to cry rape?

More Parents Are Defaulting on College Loans For Their Children, Costing Taxpayers

| April 6, 2014

The Parent Plus program allows parents to take out essentially uncapped amounts to cover college costs, regardless of the borrower’s income or ability to repay the loan. But default rates, while still modest, have nearly tripled over the last four years.

As Baker Acting of Children Soars, Flagler School Board Grapples With Perceptions of “Outrage”

| April 3, 2014

Baker Acts involving children in schools has reached 32 so far this year, three times more than last year, prompting one school board member to call herself “outraged” at the police-led manner in which most such Baker Acts are carried out, even with teens and younger children.

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