April 1, 2020

Up Front - The Publisher's Column

A future in Florida schools

Andrew P. Corty | 10/26/2016

Education has always been of great interest to me. I’ve thought that after my career at Florida Trend I might like to run a school.

And since many of the magazine’s readers have the management skills that would apply to schools, maybe I could tap your expertise.

One thing that has always bothered me is the fact that principals have very little latitude in running their schools. They are constrained by federal, state and county laws.

But our education article has given me new hope. The feature is about a new state law that grants a few principals more say in running their schools. Principals in select schools are given more authority over hiring, budgeting and moving dollars from one bucket to another. And they are allowed to meet Florida’s class-size amendment rules on a school-wide basis rather than room by room.

One principal combines a more disciplined approach to learning with rewards at the end of the day — activities that give kids a reason to show up, such as drama club, band and marine science.

The chief of the Broward County principals association says that the changes, albeit just a start, are long overdue. No one in the business world would hold someone accountable for performance without giving them the tools to improve things. But that’s just what schools have been doing.

Now we will see if these changes at our schools lead to improvements.

Florida is getting greener bit by bit. When you glance at the Economic Backbone section on Sustainable Developments, you’ll immediately notice the focus on solar energy. Babcock Ranch is teaming with FPL to power its planned 19,500 homes and 6 million square feet of commercial space.

Other communities are encouraging sustainability in other ways. There are significant efforts to collect food waste, create “yard farms” and encourage the use of rainwater throughout buildings, better insulate structures and generally build to LEED standards.

Yet there’s still a misconception that building to sustainable standards requires huge upfront investments. That’s simply not true any longer, and the ongoing expense reductions are significant. To some extent, government entities are leading the way. For example, the University of Central Florida has declared its intention to become “climate neutral” over time.

Awards Are Us: Thanks to a talented staff, Florida Trend won nine awards at the Florida Magazine Association annual conference at Disney’s Swan Hotel. The honors include:

» Best Magazine Website — Silver

» Best Online Video — Bronze

» Best Overall Design — Gold

» Best Department Design (Economic Backbone) — Gold

» Best Cover (20 Million) — Silver

» Best Reporting (Cuba Factor) — Gold

» Best Department (Florida Icon) — Gold

» Best Feature (Enclaves) — Bronze

» Best Overall Magazine — Bronze

I’m sure that Florida Trend’s 250,000 print readers and 100,000 digital unique viewers appreciate this unwavering quality.

Fitness Update: The Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot is upon us, and the weight loss is actually going quite well. I’m trying to beat last year’s personal record time of 29:35. I’ll let you know how I do.

— Andy Corty


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