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Teachers rethink grading as many students struggle during the pandemic

Teachers rethink grading as many students struggle during the pandemic

How do teachers assess students they’ve seen only on a screen? What grade do you give when they don’t complete assignments, yet you know they’ve had difficulties with computer access? In the spring, when all students were forced into online learning, one answer was the “grace before grades” approach. It offered leniency during a historically difficult time, an acknowledgment that the distractions of distance learning are real. More from the Tampa Bay Times and USA Today.

Will students and teachers be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida?

Vaccines are usually tested on adults before children, whose bodies are still developing and may require a different dose or respond differently to medication. While most children recover from COVID-19, some have needed hospitalization and some have died from COVID-related complications. Children can also spread the disease to their parents, grandparents and others who might fall seriously ill. [Source: Miami Herald]

New bill would increase standards for private schools

Private schools would have to meet higher standards for building codes, teachers’ backgrounds, and students’ grades and activities, under a bill filed Tuesday by Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart. Senate Bill 254, Stewart said, seeks to put private schools on more level ground with public and charter schools, and to provide parents with more reassurance that their children are getting the quality education for which the parents pay. The measure likely faces long odds. [Source: Florida Politics]

Historic Bethune-Cookman University takes a big step on the path to stability

There were a lot of doubts about Bethune-Cookman University's future last year, doubts reflected by the university's low, junk-bond credit rating. So it was welcome news that the historically Black university's comeback was affirmed by Fitch Ratings' recent move to upgrade the school's credit rating to B-minus. Not out of the woods, but a safer bet for investors. [Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal]

Valencia provost to become college’s first female president

Kathleen Plinske, Valencia College’s executive vice president and provost, has been tapped to become the institution’s next president, the first woman to serve in that role. Plinske, who has worked at Valencia since 2010 and worked closely with current president Sandy Shugart, is slated to take the helm after Shugart’s retirement in June. College trustees selected Plinske unanimously Friday morning over two other finalists, both current presidents at community colleges in Kentucky and Texas. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


› Privacy nonprofit: Pasco sheriff’s use of student data breaks federal law, school district contracts
A national digital privacy think tank said the Pasco Sheriff’s Office and Pasco County schools must immediately change a program that uses student data to identify potential future criminals to comply with federal law. “The Sheriff’s Office’s current data practices violate not only its contract with the school board but also the privacy protections required by the federal education privacy law,” the Future of Privacy Forum said in a legal analysis published on Friday.

› Miami schools could’ve given ‘gold standard’ COVID tests since October but didn’t
When school resumes on Jan. 4, the “gold standard” test for COVID-19 will be available to employees of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and their dependents at three designated district sites. But for four months, since schools in the nation’s fourth-largest school district reopened in October, the school district turned down the opportunity to offer the most accurate COVID-19 tests on the market to its workforce, instead offering a rapid antibody test that has an error rate as high as 20%.

› Florida's Rapid Credentialing Grant covers career-changers' training in Lee colleges
Through the workforce education program “Get There Florida,” people who meet certain requirements can have their short-term training programs covered so they can get high-demand jobs right away without worrying about debt. The programs supported must be 20 weeks or less.

› UF awarded NASA contract to build space exploration device
NASA has awarded the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) Charge Management Device (CMD) contract to the University of Florida, Gainesville. The total value of this cost-no-fee contract is $12,582,356.00. The period of performance is from Jan 1, 2021 through July 31, 2025. The work under this contract will be performed at the University of Florida.