As an estimated 183,000 students return for the first day of school Monday, they will find new school buses, new charter schools, new extended hours at some low-performing schools and plenty of other new things they haven't seen before.
Here's a look:
These will be the first buses equipped with GPS technology, spokeswoman
"If we get a call from a parent concerned, or if there's a bus down and the driver calls dispatch, we'll be able to pinpoint the exact location," she said. "We'll be able to see if the buses are running on time and make any necessary adjustments."
The buses will also have cameras.
Charter school growth has been explosive, and 10 more plan to open this fall, bringing the total to . They are funded by public dollars but are not run by the school district.
Two smaller operators are also expanding in
Other schools planned are
No traditional schools are opening in
"From the 2,000 square feet of hydroponic gardens to wireless technology and enhanced performance areas, we are very excited about our facility", Principal
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It's time to learn a new acronym; say goodbye FCAT. The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is being replaced by the Florida Standards Assessment, or FSA.
The new test has been created to better align with national standards known as Common Core.
Writing will no longer be a separate test, but will be included in an English/
Like the FCAT, the third-grade test will still be used for promotion to fourth grade, and the 10th-grade test will be required for graduation. Schools will still get letter grades, but there will be no penalties or required improvement plans during the first year of the new exam.
Schools are hoping students like their fruits, because they're getting more of them this year. Instead of a half cup of fruit, students will get a full cup this year, due to changes in federal guidelines, Powers said.
Also starting this year, all the bread products will have 51 percent or more whole grains, and the sodium level is being reduced.
Lunch prices are being increased by a dime, to
Students at 25 schools will have to go in earlier, stay later, or both. The state is requiring an extra hour for 32 elementary schools that performed among the lowest 300 in the state, to allow extra reading instruction. Only students who scored a Level 5 on last year's FCAT at those schools are exempt.
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