What you need to know about the 2016-17 school year

What you need to know about the 2016-17 school year

by DeVore Design, August 24, 2016

As the 2016-17 school year commences Wednesday, there are many changes afoot in Lake County public schools — three new principals and five others changing schools; the launch of the experimental personalized learning concept at eight schools; and the introduction of robotics programs at a number of schools districtwide, to name a few.

Not every change will occur in the classroom, of course. Lake County, like other districts, continues to struggle with testing and the use of student scores in teacher evaluations, as well as teacher morale in the face of ever-changing standards and methods of evaluating them. Also this year parents, educators and a committee will give input on important attributes of the next superintendent. While Lake County Schools Superintendent Susan Moxley’s contract does not expire until July 2017, Moxley has encouraged the School Board to start searching for her replacement now.

And in Tallahassee, lawmakers will wrestle with how to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind. States will have more freedom to decide which initiatives under No Child Left Behind they want to keep. What will the Florida Legislature decide?

But it is the changes that affect children that are top of mind for parents this week. Here’s a look at what’s in store for the 2016-17 school year.

Bell Schedule

High School – 7:20 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.

Elementary School – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Middle School – 9:20 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bell schedules for the following three schools are different to provide an additional hour of instructional time for reading.

Beverly Shores Elementary – 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Leesburg Elementary – 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Groveland Elementary – 8:20 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.

Bell schedule for conversion charters

Lake Hills – 8:25 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.

Mascotte Elementary charter – 8:25 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.

Minneola Elementary Charter – 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Round Lake Elementary Charter – 8:20 a.m. to 2:55 p.m.

Spring Creek Charter – 8:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.

All schools will be released an hour early on Wednesdays.

Bus stop changes

Many bus stops will be changing because of the different bell schedules, according to the district. For more information, contact the Transportation Department Call Center at 352 536-8070 or email bus@lake.k12.fl.us.

Schools with new principals

Eustis Heights Elementary: Chad Frazier

Pine Ridge Elementary: Laine Obando

Sawgrass Bay Elementary: Andrea Steenken

Clermont Elementary: Robert McCue

East Ridge Middle: Stephanie Mayuski

Grassy Lake Elementary: Julie Williams

Leesburg Elementary: Heather Gelb

South Lake High School: Steve Benson

Personalized learning

Will launch at the following eight schools. For more information on personalized learning go to http://pl.lake.k12.fl.us

Carver Middle

East Ridge High

East Ridge Middle

Eustis High

Eustis Middle

Gray Middle

Lake Minneola High

Pine Ridge Elementary

New policy

The Lake County School Board approved a policy, required by law, that allows students to choose whether to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

According to the School District’s Student Code of Conduct Policy, students have the right to “not to participate in reciting the pledge.”

“Upon written request by his or her parent, the student must be excused from reciting the pledge, including standing and placing the right hand over his heart,” according to the policy. The new policy was amended after House Bill 7029 was signed into law. The bill includes language implementing the new change.

Superintendent search

School officials tasked with finding the district’s next superintendent of schools are looking for input from the public on the characteristics they want in the next educator in chief.

Teacher morale

School Board members have formed a committee to evaluate how they can improve the evaluation system for teachers. Board members were particularly concerned about the disparity between the high percentage of administrators rated as highly effective and the low percentage of teachers who achieved that status.

A Florida Department of Education report showed the percentage of teachers rated highly effective in Lake County has dropped from 15 in 2013-14 school year to 11.3 in 2014. By contrast, 68.9 percent of school district administrators during the 2014-15 school year were rated highly effective. The percentage of highly effective administrators doubled from 2013-14 to 2014-15. At the Aug. 1 School Board meeting, board members Marc Dodd and Stephanie Luke pointed to the low morale of teachers in the classroom. Luke said she has spoken to teachers who do not feel supported by administration when it comes to the discipline of students.