Education

Photo via Flickr// Cindy Schultz / https://flic.kr/p/a6ZeU7

  Families across Florida will save on school supplies, clothing and shoes during a three-day tax holiday beginning Friday. The watch phrase for this year is “Smaller and Shorter.”

Florida is among 19 states and the District of Columbia to offer tax-free school purchases. Merchandise totaling $60 or less, along with on school supplies worth $15 or less are eligible for the exemption.

UWF economist Rick Harper adds that shoppers need to be smart when making their choices.

Photo via Flickr// Bethany Petrik / https://flic.kr/p/ce4nkm

Without the bell-to-bell school schedule, days fill up with fun and leisure for students on vacation. Be aware that research shows that letting the proverbial lazy days of summer become too lazy can carry a heavy price.

All students need to keep learning over the summer, said Dara Murray, manager of program quality and evaluation for the National Summer Learning Association. If they don’t, they lose part of what they learn during the school year, and those losses add up year after year.

Pensacola State College

 The Veterans Upward Bound program, at Pensacola State College is helping area veterans go back to school. The mission of the VUB program is to provide eligible veterans with remedial coursework to prepare them to enroll in college. During a recent visit Project Director Rob Gregg provided a tour of their offices.

 In the computer lab where, we met Jarrell Diggs.  Diggs, an engineman, in the Navy, where he served for nine and a half years.
 

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

The highly invasive lionfish has been become a dominant predator since it was first documented in the Gulf off Pensacola in 2010.

Armed with venomous spines, a voracious appetite and no natural predator, it’s common to find 50 to 60 lionfish on just one reef, said Andy Ross with the Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition.
But what native species are these aggressive invaders eating?

“That’s what you guys are here to help us figure out,” University of West Florida professor Jeff Eble recently told students in a marine biology class at Gulf Breeze High School.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

About 200 people gathered at Sanders Beach-Corinne Jones Resource Center for breakfast Friday to celebrate accomplishments and set goals. The cause: ECARE, Every Child A Reader in Escambia.
 
State of Florida statistics gleaned from kindergarten readiness screening tests, indicate that about 1,200 Escambia County students arrive for the first day of kindergarten ill-prepared to learn. The ECARE membership, business leaders, educators, and volunteers have made it their mission to change this by building a strong foundation of early literacy skills in pre-school.

Photo via Flickr// Alberto G. / https://flic.kr/p/9UnRWS

On a 6-1 vote this week, the Florida Board of Education approved Education Commissioner Pam Stewart’s test score and school grade proposals. But other proposals are expected to be introduced in the upcoming legislative session.

Board members considered where to set two critical benchmarks of the state's education accountability system: "cut scores" that determine the levels of achievement students get based on their performances on standardized tests, and the school grades tied to how well students do on those tests. Stewart calls it the “right approach and right balance.”

National Writing Project

In 1974 The University of California Berkeley established a program for teachers called the Bay Area Writing Project. In just two years it expanded to 14 sites in six states. That was the beginning of the National Writing Project. Now the University of West Florida has become one of the Project’s newest sites.  

IHMC

Throughout my 30-year career at the Pensacola News Journal, a recurring theme of our coverage was poverty and its impact on education. Statistics clearly show that high rates of poverty are reflected by poor performance in schools, and Escambia County has been a prime example.

One of the more enduring themes about education in Escambia is how openly people talked about taking jobs there, but buying a home in Santa Rosa County because they believed the schools were better.

The first round of tests for the new Florida Standards has started and things are not going smoothly. Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas is dealing with a lot of frustrated students and teachers.

"The last few days have been very traumatic for students trying to take the Florida Standards Writing Assessment". 

And he’s not alone. School districts across the state are having trouble logging in to the new state testing system for students.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the second installment of the Studer Community Institute’s three part series on education in the Pensacola area.

IHMC

Working as a newspaper writer for 35 years imbued me with a healthy dose of cynicism. Why? It’s not just all the bad news. Reporters and editors are exposed to far worse stuff than ever gets into the news pages, and unfortunately we learn a lot about the dark side of human nature.

Jim Allen Elementary

The final countdown is on toward the beginning of a new school year this coming Monday morning and the school districts on the Panhandle are ready to go. Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas says everyone in the district is prepared for the 20145-15 school year. He says there have been some construction projects around the county over the summer that will carry over into the school year, saying Suter Elementary and Earnest Ward are probably the most notable  new construction projects that will not be complete for the beginning of the school year.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

The University of West Florida and Pensacola State College have announced an agreement to make getting a bachelor's degree easier on the panhandle.

Dr. Judy Bense, President of the University of West Florida was at Pensacola State College Monday morning to sign a new partnership agreement between to two schools. The program is called PSC -2- UWF...and it makes it much easier for a student to transfer from Pensacola State to the university to complete a bachelor's degree.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

David Landfair is a Gulf Breeze City Councilman and teaches Air Force Junior ROTC at Gulf Breeze High School maybe not someone you'd expect to be the go-to guy on college selection.