BCPS Statement Regarding November 30, 2018, Sun-Sentinel Article

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) respects its responsibility to provide information to our community about the horrible tragedy that occurred on February 14th. While recognizing the public’s right to know, the District does not intend to conduct its investigation of the tragedy through the media.

The District has provided information and records to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission and other organizations that are conducting investigations to determine what happened, who was at fault, and what should be done to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring. That is what these organizations have been charged to do.

The information sent to the Sun-Sentinel by the District is often restricted by confidentiality and privacy laws. For the Sun-Sentinel article, we provided responses, documents and have worked to facilitate those responses in a timely manner. We look to the Sun-Sentinel to be an equal partner to present that information in a fair and unbiased manner so that the public can form their own opinion. Many responses provided to the Sun-Sentinel were not included in its November 30th article.

When it comes to navigating in an environment that is so highly sensitive, and one in which we are trying to be thoughtful while being thorough in our responses, if there have been shortcomings, it has never been our intention to mislead. We are committed to transparency while adhering to laws and policies regarding what information can be provided.

Our District continues to deal with unprecedented circumstances and remains focused on learning from this tragedy and identifying ways to create safer and more secure environments. We are committed to our students, families and the Broward community.

  

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ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second-largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has more than 271,500 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 234 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 88 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 204 different countries and 191 different languages. Connect with BCPS: visit the website at browardschools.com, follow BCPS on Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.

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BCPS Hosts 7th Annual Ed Talk Community Forum

Ed Talk Logo

On Saturday, December 1, 2018, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) hosts its seventh annual Ed Talk Community Forum. This year, Ed Talk conversations will focus on the following: the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School commemoration planning, safety and security updates, District recovery and mental health, and the District’s Strategic Plan focus on college and career readiness. 

Each school year, Ed Talk gathers students, parents, teachers, staff, business leaders, elected officials and community members to join School Board members and BCPS Superintendent Robert W. Runcie to engage in conversations focused on educating students to succeed in tomorrow’s world.

WHEN:  Saturday, December 1, 2018

Networking Breakfast, 8 a.m.

Program, 9 a.m. – noon

WHERE: Charles W. Flanagan High School

 12800 Taft St, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028

 

The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is also available. For more information, visit browardschools.com/edtalk or call 754-321-2300.

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ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second-largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has more than 271,500 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 234 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 88 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 204 different countries and 191 different languages. Connect with BCPS: visit the website at browardschools.com, follow BCPS on Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.

 

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Apply Now! The School Choice application window for the 2019/20 school year is now open

November 9, 2018

School Choice

 

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is excited to announce that the School Choice application window for the 2019/20 school year takes place December 1, 2018 – February 6, 2019.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to explore all of the District’s School Choice options available for their families. BCPS is a national leader for offering innovative, personalized learning programs to meet students’ interests and prepare them for college and careers. The School Choice application window provides an opportunity to apply for magnet programs, Nova schools or school reassignments, which allow students to attend schools other than their assigned schools.

To learn more about the many educational options available across BCPS and apply online beginning December 1, 2018, visit the School Choice website at browardschools.com/schoolchoice. Families can explore their options in several ways, such as by student interest, grade level and by individual school name.

The School Choice application will be available online on the School Choice website beginning December 1, 2018, at 8 a.m.

For more information on School Choice, parents and guardians can contact the Demographics and Student Assignments Department at 754-321-2480.

 

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ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.” Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second-largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has more than 271,500 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 234 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 88 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 204 different countries and 191 different languages. Connect with BCPS: visit the website at browardschools.com, follow BCPS on Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.

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BCPS Counts Down to the Hour of Code!

November 29, 2018

 

Computer science skills are taking the spotlight across Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), as the District counts down to the Hour of Code. The annual event is part of a global movement that raises awareness about the importance of expanding computer science in schools and inspiring students to complete at least one hour of computer coding during Computer Science Education Week, December 3 – 9, 2018. 

Superintendent Robert W. Runcie kicks off Hour of Code activities on Monday, December 3, 2018, with students at Stirling Elementary School, 5500 Stirling Road, Hollywood, FL 33021, from 8 – 9:30 a.m.  Media are invited to cover this event. 

BCPS is proud to be a national leader and model for computer science in schools, with courses, curriculum and activities at every school. As part of the Hour of Code, students Districtwide participate in both “plugged” activities, which are done on computers, and “unplugged” activities, which use a variety of noncomputer-based resources to help teach students about computer science.

This year’s Hour of Code theme focuses on sparking students’ creativity and promoting inclusion with computer science for all. BCPS received a $10,000 Computer Science Education Week grant from Infosys Foundation to expand computer science education for students in Exceptional Student Education (ESE) programs. The funds will provide professional development for ESE teachers and be used to purchase specialized robotics equipment to meet specific student needs.

For more details on Hour of Code activities at specific schools, contact Dr. Lisa Milenkovic, Applied Learning Department, 754-321-2623, or email browardstem@browardschools.com.

The community can follow the District’s Hour of Code activities via social media on Twitter @browardschools and on Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools. Share photos using #BrowardCodes.

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ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second-largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has more than 271,500 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 234 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 88 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 204 different countries and 191 different languages. Connect with BCPS: visit the website at browardschools.com, follow BCPS on Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.

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Lawsuit Challenges Florida’s Post-Parkland Plan to Arm Some School Employees

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A Florida district’s decision to put armed “school safety assistants” in its elementary schools puts the safety and well-being of its students at risk and oversteps existing state law, a group of Florida families contend in a lawsuit filed this week.

The suit—filed by seven unnamed families and the League of Women Voters of Florida—names the Duval County district and its school board as defendents. If the plaintiffs prevail, they may create a domino effect that upends the armed security plans of school districts around the state.

The suit challenges the Duval district’s security plan, which it put in place to comply with a new state law—passed less than a month after 17 people were killed in the shootingat Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act requires districts to staff every school with a “safe-school officer,” who can be either a law enforcement officer or a designated school employee who may be trained through a special “school guardian” program created under the broad new law. 

But, while the new law requires recipients of that school-guardian training obtain firearms instruction, the text of the bill signed into law does not require them to carry weapons in schools and it does not override existing laws that prohibit anyone but trained law enforcement officers from carrying firearms in public schools, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit—filed with support from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Giffords Law Center, which supports restrictions on guns in schools—notes that even trained law enforcement officials have had accidents with guns in schools or have gotten involved in punitive school discipline.

“Arming [school safety assistants] increases the risk of these incidents because SSAs are asked to carry out quasi-law enforcement duties without the training and experience that law enforcement officers have,” the lawsuit says. “According to the chief of [Duval County Public Schools] police department, SSAs will have a broad but undefined mandate to patrol campuses, assist with discipline, and break up fights. However, the program provides SSAs with little to no training in how to communicate with and manage children in a manner appropriate to their development, work in diverse school communities, engage with vulnerable students, or de-escalate conflicts.”

The plaintiffs include parents of a child who is hard of hearing. They are concerned that he may be incorrectly viewed as defiant by a security officer if he doesn’t respond to a command due to a malfunctioning hearing aid, the suit says. Another plaintiff, the parent of a black student with a disability, is concerned his son may be seen as “older and more threatening by law enforcement and SSAs, compounding the increased risk caused by [his] disability.”

“A school district would fully comply with the Act’s Safe School Officer Requirement by designating unarmed guardians whose job would include implementing key elements of the consensus approach to school safety recommended by experts in the field, such as: developing emergency-response plans with law enforcement, serving as the point of contact for local police, ensuring that entrances and exits are properly secured, training school staff and students in emergency preparedness, and fulfilling other security functions,” the lawsuit says.

A spokesperson for the Duval County district said it cannot comment on ongoing litigation. That spokesperson did not respond to questions about the district’s current security personnel.

The lawsuit fits into a broader, ongoing debate about arming teachers and school staff. Last week, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who is the chairman of the state-appointed taskforce investigating the Parkland shooting, said after watching surveillance video of the massacre at Stoneman Douglas, he now believes that arming some teachers and other school staff is an important line of defense against school shootings.

You can learn more about Education Week’s coverage of that issue in this roundup: Should Teachers Carry Guns? The Debate, Explained

Photo: Silhouette targets used by Broward County Public Schools’ newly-hired armed guardians are shown after firearms training at the Broward Sheriff’s Office gun range in Markham Park on July 30, 2018, in Sunrise, Fla. Districts around the state armed school employees under a new state law passed after a school shooting in Parkland, which is in Broward County. –Wilfredo Lee/AP


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Broward County Public Schools Continues Investigation into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Tragedy

 

Recently, investigators from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission presented their findings to Commission members. Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) anticipates receiving additional information from the Commission this week related to the investigation, including interviews with BCPS staff. 

Based on information presented during the Commission meeting, four Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School staff members are being reassigned to other BCPS administrative locations. The staff members are Assistant Principal Jeff Morford, Assistant Principal Winfred Porter, Jr., Assistant Principal Denise Reed, and Security Specialist Kelvin Greenleaf.  

BCPS is examining material received from the Commission to review the response by staff to the tragedy and preceding events. Evaluation will also be used to improve school safety and services to students. The full interim report from the Commission is to be presented in January 2019.

 

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ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second-largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has more than 271,500 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 234 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 88 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 204 different countries and 191 different languages. Connect with BCPS: visit the website at browardschools.com, follow BCPS on Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.

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Students and School Staff Host ‘Community’ Thanksgiving in Hurricane-Ravaged Florida Panhandle

Many families in Panama City, Fla., have still not returned to their homes more than a month after Hurricane Michael devasted the Panhandle. And some schools in the area just reopened last week.

So, with the community still trying to find its footing after the most powerful hurricane to hit the Panhandle in decades, two schools teamed up this week to cook up thousands of pounds of turkey, ham, along with other traditional Thanksgiving fare like pies, for a “community” Thanksgiving at Jinks Middle School.

The cooking started on Saturday around 7a.m., and continued late into the night, Greg Bailie, the culinary director at Panama City’s Bay High School, who organized the feast, told Commodore Productions at Gulf Coast State College.

Bay High School students are sharing space at Jinks Middle School because their campus was greatly damaged in the storm.

Some 100 to 120 Bay High culinary students did the bulk of the cooking, though volunteers, including from local businesses and restaurants stepped up with donations, including their time, Baile said.

The community Thanksgiving—along with music and art therapy—took place two days before the official holiday, and ABC’s Good Morning America featured it in a Wednesday segment.

Putting together the dinner was therapeutic for Bailie, the culinary director. He and his family lost everything in the storm, but they were able to count on a support system to help them through. Not everyone has that, he said.

“As bad as the situation may be for me or other people, there are other people much worse off than I am, and if I can do anything to bring a little bit of peace, and comfort, and joy to them, that’s what’s important,” Bailie said.

Education Week spoke with Jinks Middle School Principal Britt Smith a few days after Hurricane Michael tore through the school’s gymnasium, which had been a gathering place for his students and the community.

Smith told Commodore Productions that the idea of a community Thanksgiving was hatched about two weeks ago. The staff was also concerned about students, who had lost everything in the hurricane, missing out on celebrating Thanksgiving and other normal childhood activities.

“We didn’t have any money, and we didn’t have any resources, we just had a goal,” Smith said. “Every time we needed something, somehow or another it was provided. …It’s as if there’s been a lot of divine intervention to make this event happen today.”

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Broward County Public Schools to Hold Forum on School Safety

Forum on SChool Safety Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is holding a Forum on School Safety on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. The Forum takes place at Piper High School, located at 8000 NW 44th Street, Sunrise, Florida 33351, from 6 – 7:30 p.m.  Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

BCPS Superintendent Robert W. Runcie, District leadership and security experts from Safe Havens will be providing an overview of school safety and an opportunity for parents and community members to provide feedback.

The Forum on School Safety is open to the public and will be streamed live on the District’s website, browardschools.com.

For more information, contact the BCPS Legislative Affairs Department at 754-321-2608.

View the Forum on School Safety flyer.

 

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ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second-largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has more than 271,500 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 234 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 88 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 204 different countries and 191 different languages. Connect with BCPS: visit the website at browardschools.com, follow BCPS on Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.

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Broward County School Board Elects Heather P. Brinkworth as Chair and Donna P. Korn as Vice Chair

 

Broward County School Board Elects Heather P. Brinkworth as Chair and Donna P. Korn as Vice Chair Today, Tuesday, November 20, 2018, The School Board of Broward County, Florida, elected Heather P. Brinkworth (District 3) as Chair and Donna P. Korn (Countywide At-Large, Seat 8) as Vice Chair. The nominations and election took place during the School Board’s Annual Organizational Meeting, following a swearing-in ceremony for newly elected and re-elected School Board members.

Heather P. Brinkworth has served on the School Board since 2014. She is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in English. She is a Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) graduate of Stranahan High School and is former BCPS reading teacher.

Donna P. Korn has served on the School Board since 2011. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from Emory University and has completed courses towards a Master’s degree in Urban Education at Florida International University. She is also a BCPS graduate of Western High School and a former BCPS English teacher.

Five School Board members were sworn in today during a ceremony held at the Dillard Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale. Newly elected School Board Member Lori Alhadeff, District 4, joins re-elected School Board Members Donna P. Korn, Countywide At-Large, Seat 8; Ann Murray, District 1; Laurie Rich Levinson, District 6; and Nora Rupert, District 7. 

School Board members serving current terms include, Robin Bartleman, Countywide At-Large, Seat 9; Patricia Good, District 2; Heather P. Brinkworth, District 3; and Dr. Rosalind Osgood, District 5.

  

The School Board of Broward County, Florida

Heather P. Brinkworth, Chair

Donna P. Korn, Vice Chair

 

Lori Alhadeff

Robin Bartleman

Patricia Good

Laurie Rich Levinson

Ann Murray

Dr. Rosalind Osgood

Nora Rupert

 

Robert W. Runcie

Superintendent of Schools

 

To learn more about The School Board of Broward County, Florida, visit browardschools.com/schoolboard.

 

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ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second-largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has more than 271,500 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 234 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 88 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 204 different countries and 191 different languages. Connect with BCPS: visit the website at browardschools.com, follow BCPS on Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app

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Typhoon “Pablo” kills over 1,000 people in the Philippines

On December 4, 2012, Bopha, a Category 5 typhoon nicknamed “Pablo,” struck the Philippines. Rushing flood waters destroyed entire villages and killed over one thousand people, in what was the strongest typhoon ever to strike the Southeast Asian islands.

“Entire families may have been washed away,” said the interior secretary, Mar Roxas.

The hardest hit areas, the Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental provinces, the heavy rainfall triggered landslides and floods. Floods destroyed farming and mining towns all along the coast, flattening banana plantations and completely destroying some citizens’ livelihoods. Some towns were left completely decimated—muddy heaps of collapsed houses. CNN reported that the iron roofs of some buildings were swept away by the 175 mph winds like “flying machetes.” Over 200,000 people were stranded after the storm, unable to get anywhere due to the landslides and rising waters.

When the storm first showed up on radars in late November, it wasn’t expected to develop, but on Nov. 30 it quickly picked up strength and speed. Once the government realized the threat posed by the storm, officials scrambled to evacuate people from the most dangerous areas, but residents were hard to convince. About 20 typhoons and storms lash the northern and central Philippines each year, but they rarely ever hit the southern region. Warnings to evacuate were not taken seriously. Even the more than 170,000 Filipinos who did heeded the warnings to flee weren’t safe.

“The floods and strong winds battered not just the riverbanks but also places where residents where supposed to be safe,” said Arturo “Arthur” Uy, governor of Compostela Valley, the worst-hit area, said

The death toll started in the hundreds and climbed as days passed and missing people went unfound. The day after the storm, rain started to fall again, triggering panic and fear of another day of flash floods. The fear, as well as the effects of the storm, would continue for years. Hundreds were left in poverty. Before the nation could even recover, it had to suffer through an even stronger typhoon in 2013—Typhoon Haiyan. It took years to rebuild from all the damage. The Department of Social Welfare and Development were still building new homes for victims in 2015.

The damage had such long lasting effects on the region, that the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration decommissioned the name “Pablo” from its list of names for storms and typhoons.

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