Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Lacking counselors, schools turn to the booming business of online therapy

Lacking counselors, schools turn to the booming business of online therapy

Video counseling at school was never an option before the pandemic, but an analysis by AP has found the service is now so prevalent it exists in 16 of the 20 largest school districts, including several in Florida. Florida school districts that are offering teletherapy services include Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Orange and Duval, according to Hazel Health, the company that provides the program. State law calls for a multilayered approach to student mental health that may include telehealth services. [Source: Health News Florida]

Column: Florida SAT scores drop again while politicians wage culture wars

New rankings show Florida students are posting some of the lowest SAT scores in America. We’re talking 46th place. Down another 17 points overall to 966, according to the combined reading and math scores shared by the College Board. Florida trails other Southern states like South Carolina and Georgia. We trail states where more students take the test, like Illinois and Indiana. We somehow now even slightly trail Washington, D.C. — a district long maligned as one of the supposedly worst in America, where all students take the test. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Hey, students, put your phones away. Florida schools aim to reclaim attention.

Plenty of schools around Florida are talking about banning cell phone use before, during, between and after classes. So far, complaints have been few, and parents have thanked the administration. Even students have positive things to say about the change. “Once it’s in the backpack, they just forget about it,” Aniyalis Díaz said. “My friend used to be on her phone all last year. And now that they told her to put it away, she’s getting A’s and B’s.” [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Did Florida influence changes to AP’s African American studies course?

The College Board took a lot of heat from Florida Republicans for the content of its African American studies Advanced Placement course. Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wouldn’t allow it in the state’s public schools without changes. The organization released its final version on Wednesday. Some of the materials DeSantis objected to were gone, while some remained. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Statewide teachers union says Florida governor's budget doesn't do enough for public schools

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his budget on Tuesday, December 5 for the new fiscal year, with $15.1 billion going to the state’s public schools. The state’s teachers union says it isn’t nearly enough. Highlights of the budget include a $200 million year-over-year increase in funding to provide better pay for teachers and other instructional personnel. The Florida Education Association reported a shortage of 7,000 teachers at the start of the school year. [Source: WLRN]


› Pasco schools try ‘something new’: 4-day weekends to limit absenteeism
Pasco County school district officials hope that a plan to offer four-day weekends throughout the 2024-25 school year will boost efforts to keep kids coming when classes are in session. Citing concerns that some families take trips on school days, the school board decided Tuesday to schedule “mini breaks” in October, February and April as a way to offer more options for planning vacations.

› Florida International University, Miami Dade College in teaching catalyst
A program designed to fast-track graduating seniors and career changers to enter Miami-Dade County schools as certified teachers is expanding to Miami Dade College and Florida International University. Starting in spring 2024, MDC and FIU will offer classes in partnership with the Teacher Accelerator Program (TAP) to support the local talent pipeline of educators.

› University of Florida awards $10M as part of third round of strategic funding
The University of Florida has chosen 10 new projects involving artificial intelligence (AI), scientific centers and a digital lab, among others, to receive strategic funding with money awarded earlier this year by the Florida Legislature. UF received $130 million in new funding from the Legislature and chose to put most of it towards strategic initiatives that will advance interdisciplinary scholarship and enhance the student experience.

› Bolles School to open STEM-rich innovation center in 2024 with help of $5M gifts
Gifts from two Jacksonville households are covering $10 million of the $26 million price tag for the largest construction project in almost a century at the Bolles School’s San Jose campus. The 47,000-square-foot Center for Innovation, a STEM learning center for the elite private school, is scheduled to open by March for the school year’s final quarter, Bolles Associate Head of School Mike Drew said.