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From RedefinED
Lisa Buie  February 12, 2020
A bill that would provide more ways for charter schools to gain approval took another step toward becoming law today.

The Florida House Education Committee approved HB 953, which would grant state colleges and universities the authority to approve charter schools. The bill also designates the college or university board of trustees as the local educational agency for accepting responsibilities and receiving federal funds for the charter schools it sponsors.



Principal of Tallahassee Classical — Leon County's new charter school — explains vision

Reposted from an article posted by and dated February 18, 2020.

By C.D. Davidson-Hiers

The county’s newest charter school is slated to open its doors in August, more than a year after it was expected.

After wrangling with the Leon County Schools District and delaying because of a construction timeline, Tallahassee Classical School will soon welcome students at its location off Tram Road, near Mt. Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The charter’s nonprofit model is part of a national network of charters in the Barney Charter School Initiative. Two others in the network also are set to open in Jacksonville around the same time.

Tallahassee Classical joins the ranks of Leon County's other charters: The School of Arts and Sciences at the Centre, the School of Arts and Sciences on Thomasville, Tallahassee School of Math and Science, and Governors Charter Academy.

Last month, Principal Adrienne Campbell sat down with the Tallahassee Democrat to talk about the school's curriculum, its charter school model and its testy relationship with the school district, among other things.

Mastering a curriculum

Campbell, 34, believes in a “classical” education, one that leans heavily on breaking down concepts — languages, math and history — in early grades, Campbell explained.

Students are introduced to Latin and Greek in 4th grade. Formal Latin training begins in 6th grade, the school's website reads. History classes will rely on primary source documents. Uniforms will be required, and students will learn cursive.

"What I love about this is that we're able to do something different and unique that isn't offered in the traditional public schools," Campbell said. 

She added that the school is set up to support students with individual education programs, and has two rooms devoted to exceptional student education. 

Students also will be asked to memorize and recite poetry, such as J. R. R. Tolkien, Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson.

"I'm just excited to experience it with them, too," Campbell said of the curriculum.  

The school day is planned to begin at 8 a.m., with an option for drop-off as early as 7:30 a.m.; classes end at 3 p.m. The school will not immediately offer a voluntary prekindergarten education program (VPK) but leaves that open for the future, Campbell said.

After school programs, clubs and athletics are still being planned. But, Campbell said, the school will have a competitive archery team, thus the name of the school's mascot — the "Archers."

Charter school model 

As a member of the Barney Charter School Initiative, the school's curriculum comes out of Michigan-based Hillsdale College. Anne Corcoran, an attorney and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s wife, sat on the charter’s board at the beginning. 

"She's been a really great mentor for us," Campbell said.

Corcoran joined the board to help the school "spread our wings," Campbell said. Once the school had more local investors, Corcoran stepped down. 

Tallahassee Classical belongs to a network of roughly 30 charter schools nationwide, which Campbell said is a plus. Administrators are able to contact sister schools for guidance when it comes to opening a new school, she said.

"Any time we didn't know the answer to something, we were going to learn it," she said. "We get to pick up the phone and call them whenever we have a question.”

This includes questions regarding student drop-off and pickup organization, after-school programming and budgeting priorities, she said.

Tallahassee Classical, and charters in general, do not receive Capital Outlay Funds from a school district until their third year in operation.

Instead, the school receives funding from the state, similar to traditional public schools. That includes receiving a certain amount of money per full-time student. The school also pays an administrative fee to the district, Campbell added.  

Navigating a relationship with LCS

The charter school battled with the Leon County School Board to open, with its first application denied by the district. The school appealed to the state and was approved in late 2018. 

When asked about the charter’s relationship with the school district, Campbell said the school works with the districts' charter liaison, Justin Williamson. 

"We've been able to work with Justin and answer any questions that he may have," she said. "And we reach out to him with anything that we might need." 

The charter’s over 200-page approved application outlines the responsibilities between the district and charter, and the charter is not required to follow School Board policies.

The charter is, however, required to follow the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act and legislation regarding school safety. The school will be required to have one single point of entry for the campus. 

The charter’s executive team will be comprised of 8 people, including some board members and local law enforcement personnel who volunteer their time to ensure safety on campus.


Enrollment is open until Feb. 26, 2020. A lottery is held the next day, where administrators run prospective students' names through a program to choose who gets a seat.

More than 400 of the 500 available seats have already been accepted, according to the school. More than 100 applicants are waiting for the Feb. 27 lottery. A ribbon cutting on the school's building is planned for early July. 

And the school is actively hiring for teachers, with pay "competitive" with Leon County Schools, Campbell said. The minimum starting salary in Leon County is $37,500.

Teachers will start in July for training. The first day of school is Aug. 10. 

According to an optional, self-reported survey sent to prospective families, the demographic makeup of students already admitted to the school is: 

  • White — 44%
  • African American — 32%
  • Asian — 10%
  • Hispanic — 9%
  • Mixed race — 5%

Learn more about the school at






A new report, which can be accessed through the news article, is a bit of a “mixed bag” of finding on Florida’s public charter schools.

From: Capital Soup
Published February 6, 2020

The Leroy Collins Institute today released a study on Florida’s charter schools that analyzes the trends in racial and economic diversity, accountability, innovation, and transparency, and provides recommendations for how Florida charter schools can improve.




It official! The State Board of Education has approved the implementation the new B.E.S.T. State Student Standards 


By: Ezzy Castro   February 12, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Common Core has been officially removed from classrooms in Florida. On Wednesday, The Board of Education approved new standards for English Language Arts and math called Florida’s Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking.




Have input on Florida’s school standards? Better be quick.

The State Board of Education is scheduled to consider adoption on Feb. 12, while a related testing bill hits the House today.
From Tampa Bay Times
By Jeffrey S. Solochek on February 4, 2020

Angling to stick to a set time frame, the Florida Board of Education has scheduled Feb. 12 as the date it intends to consider adoption of the state’s proposed new academic standards.

That’s just two weeks after the Department of Education unveiled the detailed documents, which number 216 pages for math and 220 pages for language arts, and just three weeks after Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled the overview to eliminating Common Core with the message “mission accomplished.”

Bills to implement some of the governor’s related testing recommendations also are moving ahead. One is up for consideration in its first House committee this morning.




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