In honor of National Braille Literacy Month, DBS Director Robert Doyle read to 40 third grade students at Woodville Elementary School in Tallahassee. Following the reading, staff from the Florida Department of Education’s (FDOE) Division of Blind Services (DBS) led the students in interactive activities that provided them with an understanding of how individuals with varying visual impairments live, work and play. The students were later presented with copies of their names written in braille and the braille alphabet.
“Literacy is the foundation for learning and the gateway to a valuable education, profitable career and a better quality of life,” DBS Director Robert L. Doyle III said. “With these building blocks, individuals with visual disabilities gain access to a plethora of opportunities that lead to independence. Florida remains at the forefront in its efforts to increase accessibility and inclusion for individuals in the blind and visually impaired community.”
Through DBS, blind and visually impaired Floridians have access to many educational, vocational, medical, social and recreational services beginning at birth. Through the efforts of FDOE’s Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services, students with visual disabilities work with teachers to learn important skills such as reading braille and how to navigate the classroom using a cane or a guide dog.
DBS is dedicated to ensuring that Floridians who are blind or visually impaired have the tools, support and opportunities to achieve success. Last year, DBS helped 854 individuals achieve successful employment and another 10,614 received assistance to become more successful in school, community and work. Through DBS’ Braille and Talking Book Library, the agency served more than 31,000 active readers with disabilities, with more than 2.4 million items (audio books, braille, large print) available for patrons.
For more information about the Division of Blind Services and their programs, visit dbs.fldoe.org.
For more information about the Florida Department of Education, visit fldoe.org.
$154 million for Florida Forever Programs, Law Enforcement Pay Raise,
Historic Investments in Need and Merit-Based Student Financial Aid
The Florida Senate Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Senator Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island), today filed SPB 2500, a proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The balanced budget prioritizes Florida’s K–12 and higher education systems, while setting aside $3.4 billion in total reserves. The budget also makes critical investments in Florida’s environment, continues historic investments in need-based and merit-based student financial aid, and provides a pay raise for Florida’s state law enforcement officers.
“The budget proposal we released today reflects the Senate’s strong commitment to education,” said Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart). “From unprecedented per-student funding for our K-12 schools, to continuing historic investments in need-based student financial aid and setting aside funds for the permanent expansion of the Bright Futures scholarship, the Senate budget recognizes the link between education and our economy and the significant return for taxpayers when we invest in Florida’s future.”
“The Senate budget ensures continued fidelity to the Constitution by fully and faithfully implementing the voter-approved Water and Land Conservation Amendment, including $154 million for Florida Forever Programs,” said Senator Bradley. “We also account for funding to combat the opioid crisis plaguing communities across our state and invest in pay raises for our state law enforcement officers. Additionally, the Senate budget reflects our commitment to sound fiscal planning by setting aside $3.4 billion in total reserves.”
Tomorrow, January 26, Division of Blind Services (DBS) Director Robert Doyle will visit Woodville Elementary School and read to students in honor of Braille Literacy Month. Following the reading, the students will participate in hands-on activities to provide them with an understanding of how individuals with varying visual impairments live, work and play.
WHAT: Braille Literacy Month Celebration
WHEN: 9:00 am
Friday, January 26, 2018
WHERE: Woodville Elementary School
9373 Woodville Highway
Tallahassee, Florida 32305
The Division of Blind Services’ mission is to ensure blind and visually-impaired Floridians have the necessary tools, support and opportunity to achieve success. To find out more, visit dbs.fldoe.org.
Risa Lieberwitz, professor of labor and employment law at Cornell University and general counsel of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), will speak at The University of Tampa about academic freedom in higher education on Friday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m.
This presentation is free and open to all UT students, faculty and staff, and the public. It will be held in the Reeves Theater in the Vaughn Center on campus.
Lieberwitz will address the role of law and institutional policies in protecting the multiple aspects of academic freedom in public and private institutions of higher education — individual rights of free speech and due process and collective rights of shared governance. The presentation, “The Many Faces of Academic Freedom: Free Speech, Due Process and Shared Governance,” will also examine the following questions: What does academic freedom mean? Does it extend beyond the teaching and research? Does it include rights to due process?
Lieberwitz’s presentation will be followed by a Q-and-A session.
The event was organized by the UT Workgroup on Free Speech and Academic Freedom and is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Faculty Senate. The presentation is the first of a series of forums and events meant to cover the principles of free speech and academic freedom for the benefit of the entire University community.
For more information, contact Marcus Arvan, UT assistant professor of philosophy and chair of the UT Workgroup on Free Speech and Academic Freedom, at [email protected].
Fun and informative book helps children explore
Florida’s history, culture, environment and much more
First Lady Ann Scott, in collaboration with the Florida Department of State, today released her new educational children’s book titled Ally & Jordi’s Adventures Through Florida, which takes children on a journey across the state to explore Florida’s history, culture and environment through colorful illustrations, engaging activities and creative content. The book will be distributed to Florida schools and libraries at no cost.
First Lady Ann Scott said, “Reading and literacy is the foundation for a student’s success in life and one of my primary goals as First Lady has been to encourage a love of reading among Florida’s students. I passed my love of reading on to my daughters Allison and Jordan, who inspired the two main characters in the book, and now I do the same with my grandchildren. Ally & Jordi’s Adventures Through Floridacombines my passion for encouraging children to read and my love for our great state. It is my hope that this book will spark a child’s imagination, inspire a passion for reading and teach them about Florida.”
Ally & Jordi’s Adventures Through Florida is a collaboration between First Lady Ann Scott and the Florida Department of State.
“It was an honor for the Florida Department of State to work with First Lady Ann Scott to produce this fantastic children’s book, which showcases fun facts and the unique history behind each part of Florida, and I am so proud of the exceedingly talented team at the department whose creativity and hard work made it possible,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “Recently, the department commemorated 50 years of dedication to our mission of preserving and sharing Florida’s history and there is no better way to celebrate this milestone anniversary than by releasing Ally & Jordi’s Adventures Through Florida, a book that encompasses and propels our mission forward.”
The 52-page book is geared toward students in elementary school. A copy of Ally & Jordi’s Adventures Through Florida will be distributed to elementary school libraries and public libraries throughout the state at no-cost to them. The book is now available for preorder on Amazon for $12.00. All proceeds from book sales will benefit the Friends of the Museums of Florida History Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit citizen support organization of the Florida Department of State that supports the promotion of Florida’s history and culture.
Additional resources for teachers, parents and students are available online at AllyandJordisAdventures.com. The website includes downloadable versions of the puzzles and activities from the book, interactive puzzles that can be done online and a host of other resources to help educators bring Florida history to life in the classroom.
The First Lady will highlight her new book as she visits schools and libraries across the state.
For more information, please visit AllyandJordisAdventures.com.
Florida Prepaid Signs on as Presenting Sponsor
of the 2018 Florida Teacher of the Year
From left, 2018 Teacher of the Year Tammy Jerkins, State Board Member Tom Grady, State Board Member Ben Gibson, Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart, Florida Prepaid Executive Director Kevin Thompson, Florida Prepaid Director of Marketing and Communications Martha Bullock, Florida Prepaid Spokesperson Shannon Colavecchio, State Board Chair Marva Johnson, State Board Member Andy Tuck and State Board Member Michael Olenick.
At a meeting of the State Board of Education, Commissioner Stewart today recognized Florida Prepaid as the presenting sponsor of the Florida Teacher of the Year Program. The annual Florida Teacher of the Year Program celebrates one of the most important professions in the world: teaching.
“We are grateful for Florida Prepaid’s commitment to Florida’s future, and we look forward to working together toward our goal of Florida being the best place in the world to receive a great education,” said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. “The Teacher of the Year Program is a wonderful opportunity for teachers from every school district to be recognized for their hard work and to access valuable professional development to enhance their leadership skills.”
As the presenting sponsor, Florida Prepaid will support statewide teacher leadership programs and expand the influence of Florida’s most accomplished teachers; elevate teaching as a rewarding and honored career choice and help solve the teacher shortage; and celebrate excellence in one of the most impactful professions.
“We are honored to be a part of this important program for Florida educators, whose professional mission aligns so closely with ours,” said Florida Prepaid Executive Director Kevin Thompson. “Teachers prepare Florida students academically for the rigors of a K-12 and postsecondary education, and at Florida Prepaid we are helping the families of Florida students to prepare financially for college. The result is a stronger Florida.”
Proceeds from the program support professional growth programs for teachers and strategies to enhance the impact of Florida’s best educators. That effort begins with the Teacher Roundtable, a three-day series of teacher leadership training held each year in July. Following this initial orientation to the purposeful activities of being a school-wide leader, this distinguished group has the opportunity to participate in the Florida’s Teacher Lead Network, a growing collaborative of Florida’s best teachers committed to impacting positively our state’s schools and districts.
Florida Prepaid, as well as additional sponsors, also make possible the gala, including the much-anticipated Teacher of the Year announcement. The gala is the backbone of an intentional strategy to infuse every school in Florida with exceptional teachers who are prepared to lead other educators, impacting instructional quality throughout the state. The 2018 gala is scheduled for July 13 in Orlando.
About the Florida Prepaid College Board
The Florida Prepaid College Board manages the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program and the Florida 529 Savings Plan. Both are tax-favored 529 college savings plans authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. In 1987 the Florida Prepaid College Program was created by the Florida Legislature and the commitment and dedication of Mr. Stanley G. Tate to provide Florida families with an affordable means to save for their children’s future college education. The first Florida Prepaid College Plans were sold in 1988, and were augmented with the addition of the Florida 529 Savings Plan in 2002. Florida Prepaid is the largest, longest running and most successful prepaid plan in the nation with more than 1.8 million Florida Prepaid College Plans purchased and more than $6.7 billion invested in Prepaid Plans by Florida families. The 529 Savings Plan has more than 60,000 active accounts with a market value of more than $525 million. To learn more about Florida Prepaid, visit myfloridaprepaid.com.
About the Florida Education Foundation
The Florida Education Foundation serves as the direct support organization for the Florida Department of Education. As a valued partner to public education, the Foundation’s mission is to invest in high achievement for every student to contribute to Florida’s globally competitive workforce. More information about the Foundation can be found at Florida Education Foundation.
To find out more information about Florida’s Teacher of the Year Program, click here.
For more information about the Florida Department of Education, visit fldoe.org.
The Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), a Complete Florida Plus program, is made up of several units which provide statewide innovative educational services for Florida’s K-adult students. Working collaboratively with Florida’s 12 public universities, 28 public colleges, K-12 school districts, and other partners, FLVC provides state-funded services to help students go to college, succeed in school, prepare for career success, and thrive in life after graduation.