FSBA Newsletter - February 2016  
Leadership in FSBA
The FSBA Nominating Committee is currently accepting applications from members who wish to serve as an executive officer of FSBA. FSBA Nominating Committee Chair Patty Hightower encourages all individuals who are interested in serving as an officer in the Association to submit a completed Declaration of Candidacy form and related materials by Friday, February 19, 2016. Information about the application process and the Nominating Committee are available on the FSBA website.

FSBA Day In the Legislature Conference
More than 120 school board members and others attended FSBA's 29th Annual Day in the Legislature Conference to underscore FSBA's role as the "Voice of Education in Florida." Several legislators joined us at our breakfast session to offer their thoughts and perspective on current issues. We hope that all school board members will take a few minutes to phone or email the following legislators to thank them for their interest in FSBA and for their service to Florida (each name linked to website that includes contact information):

Also, in our ongoing efforts to improve our conferences to better meet the needs of our members, we ask any conference attendees who have not done so already to please complete and submit our conference evaluation form.
Conference Evaluation Survey »  

School and District Grades
The Florida Department of Education released school and district grades earlier this month. Of the 3,219 schools that received a grade, 1,169 schools received an A, 642 schools received a B, 859 schools received a C, 365 schools received a D, and 184 schools received an F. With regard to district grades, of the 67 school districts, 22 districts received an A, 29 districts received a B, 13 districts received a C, 2 districts received a D, 0 districts received an F, and 1 district received an incomplete. It is important to note that this year's grades are intended for informational purposes only and no sanctions will be imposed by the state based on these grades. FSBA strongly supports accountability but has ongoing concerns about the inappropriate use of assessment results data, particularly given the extensively flawed first administration of new state assessments. As a result, FSBA, superintendents, parents, and several other education groups have little confidence in the validity and reliability of the assessment results that are at the heart of the calculation of school and district grades. Even so, we have posted the school and district grades and related information on the FSBA website.

FSBA Legislative Review Workshops and Webinars
As we enter the final weeks of the 2016 Legislative Session, FSBA has begun planning our traditional onsite Legislative Review Workshops as well as a series of online Legislative Review Webinars for those who may not be able to attend one of the onsite workshops. These Workshops and Webinars will provide a comprehensive analysis of the state education budget and detailed summaries of the education related bills that are approved during the 2016 Legislative Session. Thus far, we have been able to set the following dates and locations for our workshops:
 
Monday, March 21, 2016
5:00 - 7:30 pm (C.S.T.)
Panhandle Area Educational Center, Chipley, FL
 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
5:00 - 7:30 pm
Columbia County School District Auditorium, Lake City, FL
 
We will provide more information about these onsite Workshops as soon as possible. For now, please mark your calendars to save the date.

Professional Development    
Five school board members recently have demonstrated their commitment to expand and improve their district governing and leadership skills. Please join us in congratulating Milton Brown (Washington), Thomas Kennedy (Citrus), Malissa Morgan (Okeechobee), Christia Li Roberts (Martin), and Julie Thomas (Gilchrist) for earning the Certified Board Member Distinction. Board members must earn 96 points (96 hours of training) in 12 curricular areas to earn this distinction.

Federal News
Near the end of 2015, Congress passed the Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA) - the bill that reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and, in so doing, replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Recently, the U.S. Department of Education issued a "Dear Colleague" letter outlining the transition to the ESSA. NSBA also has published an initial implementation guide to assist school districts with this transition.
 
In related news, President Obama has released his 2017 budget request which includes targeted funding intended to improve academic achievement and preschool programs. The budget request sustains the federal commitment to Title I and IDEA funding, with emphasis on targeting support to schools in need of improvement. This is of particular importance in providing stability as school districts transition to ESSA. However, there are also areas of the budget request that hold education funding at 2016 levels or even reduce the current federal commitment. We have posted or linked ESSA and budget documents on the FSBA website on our Federal Government Relations page.
Learn More » 

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