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Florida to Award $3,000 Bonus to Teachers Who Complete New Civics Education Training

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File - In this file photo, Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference along with Attorney John Morgan and Congressman Matthew Gaetz on lifting the marijuana ban in Florida to allow for medicinal use. Photo by Willie David / Florida National News

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the creation of the Florida Seal of Excellence, a new professional credential for educators in civics education, during a press conference at BridgePrep Academy of Orange in Orlando, Florida.

The credential is part of an additional $106 million the state will award for civics education, $65 million of which are dedicated to creating and implementing the seal.

Every teacher who gets the seal will be awarded a $3,000 bonus, DeSantis added.

“I think every single piece of survey data or any time people have ever looked at what is the baseline civic knowledge throughout American society, particularly for younger people, I think 100% of the time the results come back and they’re pretty dismal,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter whether some will go into business, construction, or hospitality, everyone will be called upon to exercise the duties of citizenship,” he added.

The new funds also include $16.5 million for additional training and classroom support for educators seeking to improve civics education and for creating regional civics coaches to help create these programs, $17.5 million to bolster civics curriculum and $6.5 million for career pathway programs in order to develop partnerships between Florida public schools and various public institutions.

Florida State Senator Jason Brodeur (R-District 9), who was with the governor at the press conference, added that “the support we see now is our best chance for everyone’s future, to teach our young people how to disagree without being disagreeable.”

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Juan Carlo Rodriguez is a politics and entertainment writer for Florida National News. | info@floridanationalnews.com

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Education

Orange County Government, Rollins College Announce 3-Year, $4M Partnership to Provide Nonprofit Training Support

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Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings (right) and Rollins College's Crummer Graduate School of Business partnered to announce the launch of the school's nonprofit assistance program. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Orange County Government and the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College today announced a three-year, $4 million partnership to provide nonprofit training support through Crummer’s Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership, the region’s premier source for nonprofit education and management assistance.

Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News

Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News

Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act in Orange County, the program will equip local nonprofits with the tools necessary to succeed in the post-pandemic environment. Specifically targeting small, and diverse Orange County-based nonprofits, Empowering Good: A Nonprofit Capacity Building Project is designed to offer training in five key areas: impact measurement, innovation, financial management, fundraising, and risk management.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings speaks during the press conference announcing Crummer's new program launch. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings speaks during the press conference announcing Crummer’s new program launch. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

“Nonprofits play a central role in the wellbeing of our community here in Orange County. Despite increased demand for their services during the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our community’s nonprofit organizations were being adversely affected by the pandemic in potentially devastating ways, directly impacting essential services in Orange County,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “Deploying American Rescue Plan funds in partnership with Crummer’s Edyth Bush Institute will help us provide the resources necessary to ensure the long-term success of our nonprofit community.”

The cohort-style program administered by the Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership, will support up to 36 Central Florida nonprofit organizations every six months over the next three years as well as offer organizational assessments and coaching for up to another 15 organizations for a total of 261 nonprofits, starting in September 2022. Training provided by the Edyth Bush Institute throughout each year-long program will include workshops, assessments, coaching/consulting services, and custom programming to address organization-specific challenges.

In assessing how to deploy its American Rescue Plan funding, Orange County Government sought to address needs in six key areas, with one of those areas being small business assistance. Alignment with the Crummer School’s mission to produce global, innovative, and responsible leaders who impact their organizations and communities, as well as the Edyth Bush Institute’s wide-reaching nonprofit network, provided an ideal partnership that would enable the County to bolster small businesses within the regional nonprofit community.

Crummer Graduate School of Business Dean Dr. Deborah Crown speaks during the press conference. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

Crummer Graduate School of Business Dean Dr. Deborah Crown speaks during the press conference. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

“This exciting partnership with the Orange County Government will reach beyond nonprofits to the many organizations and individuals who benefit from their programs and services,” said Dr. Deborah Crown, dean of the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College. “Our incredible staff at the Edyth Bush Institute embrace this opportunity to further guide our local nonprofit leaders to continue to spark innovation and create jobs for our economy.”

Demand for goods and services from nonprofit organizations soared during the pandemic. In April 2020, the Edyth Bush Institute conducted a survey to assess the state of the nonprofit community. The survey found 93.73% of the 287 participating nonprofits reported moderate to significant impact on programs, services or general operations. In addition, 194 nonprofit organizations reported an anticipated revenue decrease of $48 million to $54 million between February 2020 and June 2020.

Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News

Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News

“Nonprofits play a vital role in directly improving the lives of individuals. Their contributions to this community and our economy cannot be overlooked. Yet, the struggles with increasing demand for services and maintaining a robust workforce were real,” said Min Sun Kim, executive director of Crummer’s Edyth Bush Institute of Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership. “This program will allow us to address pandemic and post-pandemic challenges as well as to help leaders position their organizations for long-term success.”

For more information and to access the program application, visit empowering-good.org

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Education

Florida County Hurt by Pandemic Offers Tuition to Graduates

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Valencia College Osceola Campus. Photo: Valencia College.

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. (AP) — After two years of a pandemic that battered the workforce of this tourism-dependent county in central Florida, leaders had a gift for departing high school graduates this month: free tuition at either the local community college or the county technical school.

Osceola County commissioners announced earlier this year that they would set aside $12 million in federal COVID-19 funding to pay the tuition of any 2022 high school graduate who wanted to go to Valencia College or the county technical school.

“I didn’t have anybody to pay for my college,” Madilyn Hilder, an Osceola High senior who lives with her grandmother, told the Orlando Sentinel. “Money was always the thing that was going to keep me from going to college.”

Because of the program, Osceola Prosper, Hilder said she will now start her studies in elementary education at Valencia College in August, with plans to later transfer to the University of Central Florida.

The goal of Osceola Prosper is to boost education levels past high school and raise the prospects for better-paying jobs for Osceola residents, said Brandon Arrington, chairman of the county commission.

“I think a lot of people think, ‘If I go to college, I’m going to have $100,000 worth of debt,’” Arrington said.

Osceola County is home to large numbers of tourism workers for Orlando area hotels, restaurants and theme parks. During the early months of pandemic-related business closures, the county had the highest unemployment rate in Florida, reaching 14.4% in 2020.

The county previously had offered $500 scholarships to encourage students to study at Valencia College. The new program will cover the $3,000 a year costs of studying full time at the community college.

Because the available funds are limited, the program is only for 2022 graduates.

Guidance counselors at Osceola County’s high schools said they have been having more conversations with students about continuing their education.

Those conversations usually start with, “Now you have this option, what are your thoughts?” said Kendyl Bass, the college and career specialist at Osceola High. “It has changed a lot of people’s minds.”

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Black Lives

Development Projects by Anthony and Calvin Mackie will Bring Economic Boom to New Orleans East Community

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Anthony Mackie. Photo: Getty Images.

NEW ORLEANS – Source: STEM Global Action // Dr. Calvin Mackie, founder and CEO of STEM NOLA and STEM Global Action (SGA), said New Orleans East development projects managed separately by him and his brother, actor Anthony Mackie, will benefit community residents and help advance education in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

 

This week, Anthony Mackie, who plays the first black Captain America, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, purchased 20 acres on the Interstate 10 Service Road at Read Boulevard. His new production company, East Studios LLC and a studio, will be housed on the site. Just across the interstate along the service road, STEM NOLA is building a STEM Innovation Hub for Black Excellence. It will house laboratory space, classrooms, meeting spaces and 21st century technology to expose, educate, train and connect students to STEM skills and careers. Supported by donations from Ochsner Health and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the 40,000-square-foot space will be the new headquarters for SGA and STEM NOLA.

 

In addition, Dr. Mackie announced in October that it is creating an expansive STEM District in New Orleans East as part of the first phase of Bayou Phoenix LLC’s $100 million development project reviving an abandoned 227-acre site that once housed Six Flags and Jazzland. The plan includes the STEM education center, as well as a hotel, water park, amusement park, sports complex and a warehouse and distribution center.

 

“Anthony and I have always worked to give back to our community,” Dr. Mackie said. “This is no different. We will be teaching students how STEM will have major roles in the operation of the various components of our development project. Our city had been through so much over the years now is the time to help our neighborhoods and our people flourish again.”

 

Dr. Mackie believes the development activity will trigger an economic revival for the area, citing the booming “Research Triangle” in Raleigh–Cary and Durham–Chapel Hill North Carolina. “We want to emulate their success,” he said. “We will be training students in STEM fields who find jobs in the businesses that are being created. These developments will be an economic engine for this area.”

 

Now, Anthony Mackie’s project, which is six miles from the Bayou Phoenix site, can also inject economic energy in the area. His studio may include development, marketing and production, as well as other aspects of the entertainment industry, delivering a boost to the state’s film and television industry.

 

Moreover, Anthony Mackie’s portrayal of Sam Wilson on the Disney+ miniseries The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and becoming Marvel’s first Black Captain America, showcases the value of STEM. In the show, Wilson is never the strongest in battle. He relies on STEM to win. From his mechanical wings infused with Vibranium from Wakanda that enable him to fly, to his “Redwing” combat and reconnaissance drones, Wilson wins with a mastery of science and physics, of calculations and probabilities, and most importantly, by turning smarts and technology into paths for success.

 

“Kudos to Marvel for elevating a Black man to succeeding with his intellect, rather than stereotypical physical attributes like speed, agility or brute force,” said Dr. Mackie.

 

“Think of STEM as Captain America’s new indestructible, vibranium shield,” he said. “It can help tackle life’s toughest foes, like racism, poverty and discrimination. They are no match for it. STEM is the doorway to the future, the superhero providing careers, family security and neighborhood stability. The best part is students don’t have to live in a cinematic verse to experience it, just study hard, learn STEM and it can create pathways forward.”

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