Santa Rosa County Schools

An event this Friday in Pensacola showcases services and opportunities for special needs students and graduates in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. It’s called the Transition Services Information Fair, and it will be held from 9:00 a.m. until noon at the Marcus Pointe Baptist Church, Building A, door number four.

In part two of “Back to School,” WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody sits down with Santa Rosa County Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick, and what that district is facing in the new term.

For one thing, Wyrosdick is looking at higher numbers district-wide when classes kick off August 14.

“We’ll bump close to 29,000 students this year, and maybe go over that,” he says. “Our growth this year, probably in the neighborhood of 550-600 students.”

Screengrab from YouTube: Secretary of Education Nominee Betsy DeVos Opening Statement (C-SPAN)

Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as U.S. Education Secretary is drawing praise from supporters and derision from opponents. Meanwhile, a couple of local school superintendents are watching what could happen next.

Vice President Mike Pence broke the 50-50 deadlock in the Senate on Tuesday to confirm DeVos. Two Republicans voted with Democrats against confirmation. Florida’s U.S. Senators split along party lines. Republican Marco Rubio voted for DeVos, Democrat Bill Nelson voted against.

Reuters

High school graduation rates nationwide are at an all-time high, with parts of the Florida Panhandle either holding its own or lagging behind. 

President Obama spoke last week at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C. where graduation rates jumped to the highest in the country for the 2014-2015 school year.

“Some of the changes we made were hard; and some of them were controversial,” said the President. “We expected more from our teachers and our students. But the hard work that people have put in across the country has started to pay off.”

  As the 2016-17 school year approaches in Florida, two school districts in the western Panhandle are preparing some belt-tightening measures.

Escambia County Superintendent Malcolm Thomas calls the 2016-17 term a “status quo year,” including a on percent categorical increase from the state. Close tabs are being kept on the $350 million general operating budget.

Santa Rosa Mentoring Program A ‘Win-Win’

May 18, 2016
Michael Spooneybarger/CREO

 

Three second-grade students sit around a table shaped like a semicircle. They read “Rumplestiltskin” aloud. Two whisper, and one uses a normal tone of voice.

Their teacher, Katherine Folse, follows along, stopping to call attention to certain vocabulary words: muttered, sobbed and strode. They pause and discuss meanings before turning back to the story.

Florida’s 67 public school districts are getting ready to implement a new, wide-ranging education bill signed into law this week. Two provisions – school choice and athletic free agency – are getting most of the attention.

At 160 pages, House Bill 7029 is nearly three times as large as the original version, and was approved on the final day of the legislative session. It’s a “train bill,” meaning it contains most or all of at least a dozen other education-related measures.

Photo via Flickr// Allan Chatto / https://flic.kr/p/9PBUZ3

High School graduation rates in Florida for the class of 2015 were the highest in 12 years, according to figures released by the state Department of Education.

That 77.8% statewide graduation mark is up more than 18 points since the 2003-04 school year, and nearly two percent higher than last year. The Escambia County district's 2014-15 graduation rate came in at 72.7%, up from 66.1% in 2013-14, and 15 points from 2010-11.

U.S. Department of Education

The new school year starts next week and area educators are hoping this year’s innovations will turn last year’s disruptions into distant memories. "We're looking forward to a very vanilla year, this year" said Santa Rosa Country School Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick. It's not that he has anything against the other flavors in the ice cream aisle, it’s just that last year had a little more flavor than educators were expecting.

Photo via Flickr// Apotek Hjartat / https://flic.kr/p/nK5jct

Schools are still a month away from the being in session, but health officials are already reminding parents to make sure their child’s vaccinations are up to date. Sherry Smith, the Director of Student Services for the Santa Rosa County School District says the disctrict's school had a 98% vaccination rate for the last school year

Photo via Flickr// More Good Foundation
https://flic.kr/p/8PQ7Cj

Florida’s Department of Education is out with a video, asking residents to mentor a student in their local school district. Such programs are alive and well in the western Panhandle.

The “Why I Mentor” video highlights what just one hour each week can make in helping a child succeed in school and, ultimately, in life. In Santa Rosa County, Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick says they orchestrate a mentoring program in a couple of different ways.

Governor Rick Scott last week cut $461 million in spending from the new budget that takes effect on Wednesday, including $82 million for the Panhandle. But there’s still a substantial chunk of change heading this way.

Northwest Florida will get an estimated $678 million for projects in areas such as transportation, economic development, the environment, the arts, and education.

About half a million students across the state took Math tests this year that will end up not counting towards their final grade. WUWF’s Bob Barrett spoke with Escambia County School Superintendent about this latest situation involving testing in Florida.

The end of the K-12 school year traditionally means the start of hiring new teachers for next fall. Escambia County is taking that search to a higher level.

Superintendent Malcolm Thomas says they’re opening to bring 200-400 new teachers aboard for the 2015-16 term, to make up for those leaving the district, leaving the vocation, or retiring. And the search, he says, is across the academic board.

After a very shaky roll out last week, the first round of writing tests for the new Florida Education Standards have been taken by 8th, 9th and 10th graders. But confidence in the new system is still pretty low.

Photo via Flickr//cybrarian77 / https://flic.kr/p/azj5bZ

Teachers in Santa Rosa County have been working without a contract this school years as negotiations continue. County School Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick says that while it's not unusual to go into a school year without a new contract for the teachers, this year's negotiations are going longer than everyone would like. He says they have disagreement over the implementation of a performance pay schedule  that's mandated by the state of Florida that is ready this year.

Gulf Coast Council of Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America began allowing gay members under the age of 18 as of January 1st. While some groups have withdrawn their support, the impact on local scouting doesn’t appear to be that large for now.

Spencer Page at the Gulf Coast Council says nine charter partners, all of them religious groups and most of them independent churches, notified the Council just after the vote last May that they would be departing.

Santa Rosa County Hosts 'Chopped' Event

Nov 22, 2013
Santa Rosa County School District

The Santa Rosa County School District and Sodexo are sponsoring a Chopped event featuring local leaders that is intended to highlight Manna Food Pantries, local farmers and Santa Rosa County students.

State representative Doug Broxson of District Three will participate in a cooking contest in the style of the TV show, Chopped. He will compete against the sheriff and superintendent of schools in Santa Rosa County.