Leon County School District

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All Leon County Schools will remain open this week. Based on the projected path of Hurricane Irma, county officials say there is less chance of severe weather affecting the district Friday. 

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Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/frwl/

The Obama Administration is directing public schools across the country to let transgender students use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. A letter went out to schools Friday, detailing how to best prevent discrimination. Kathleen Rodgers is the head of Equity and Diversity at Leon County Schools, and she says the district is ahead of the curve.

Hundreds of students in Leon County’s schools are receiving free basic dental care. It’s a joint effort of the school district, the Florida Department of Health in Leon County and the United Way of the Big Bend.

Leon County Schools

The Florida Department of Education has rejected the Leon County School District’s request to build a new high school.  Numbers show most of the district’s schools are not at capacity.

Leon school and health officials discuss the launch of a new health center at Rickards High School (Feb. 2016)
Ashley Tressel / WFSU News

The Leon County School District is opening a new health center at Rickards High School. The district has partnered with Neighborhood Medical Center to provide healthcare for Southside families and students.

Pink Sherbet Photography/flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/

Leon County School officials are taking another look at high school start times.

Leon County Officials Re-evaluate School Safety

Dec 21, 2015
MGN Online

In the wake of recent bombs threats against New York, Los Angeles and Miami school districts, Leon County officials are re-evaluating school safety.

Julie Arasi Is Leon County's Teacher Of The Year

Dec 17, 2015
www.leoncountyschools.net / http://www.leonschools.net/cms/lib7/FL01903265/Centricity/Domain/1684/Arasi.gif

Julie Arasi of Kate Sullivan Elementary is Leon County’s Teacher of the Year.

Leon County Schools Face Teacher Shortage

Nov 23, 2015
U.S. Department of Education Via Flikr / WFSU News

Leon County Schools will be experiencing a teacher shortage in the upcoming school year. The district is struggling to replace some 50 retiring teachers.

Patricia Rouse, Assistant Principal of Fort Braden School, died Tuesday. She was 45 year old.
Leon County Schools

The Assistant Principal of Leon County’s Fort Braden Elementary School died Tuesday. Patricia Rouse was 45 years old.

Leon County Schools

7:05 p.m.: Leon County School Board members expressed shock at more than two dozen audit findings reported by the state Auditor General.  District officials say the issues represent paperwork problems more than they do any wrongdoing.

In the wake of a school construction funding scandal the Leon County School district has revamped the way it presents such projects to the public. The new version of the proposals rolled out Tuesday before the school district board.

Update 8:35 p.m.:  An independent analysis of Leon County school construction projects has turned up no criminal wrongdoing, but the district needs to do a better job of documenting its decisions. That’s according to the Jacksonville lawyer hired by the Leon County School board to represent it in investigations into school building contracts.

Mitch Barrie

Leon County Sheriff officials arrested a Tallahassee high school student Thursday after he pulled a gun during a fight on school grounds.

According to a report from the Leon County Sheriff’s office, the 16-year-old student attempted to pull a gun out of his jacket when a fight broke out near the Godby high school cafeteria Thursday morning. The gun fell to the ground and Leon County Schools spokesman Chris Petley says a Godby administrator recovered it.

Lively Technical Center / Leon County School District

The Leon County School District is facing a second whistle-blower challenge about how it awarded school construction and maintenance projects. The principal of Lively Technical Center, Woody Hildebrandt, says he expressed concerns about the district's contracting process as early as December 2011 and again in September 2013.

Hildebrandt also allegedly showed school district administrator Rocky Hanna an 80-plus-page document calling the district’s construction and maintenance project award process into question.

LHatter / WFSU News

The final results of student performance on the outgoing Florida Comprehensive Assessment test have started trickling out and third graders are stuck when it comes to their reading performance. However, Leon County is one of a few districts bucking that trend.

LHatter / WFSU News

Leon County School district officials are taking aim at what they call “politically motivated” attacks against Superintendent Jackie Pons. The district used a workshop meeting on construction to address allegations Pons steered construction contracts to his political donors.

The Leon County School Board will be discussing the districts policies on construction and maintenance projects tonight.

School board officials will take public comment and talk about how the Leon County District awards construction and maintenance projects to companies. Officials will also discuss how the district chooses what projects it will undertake and which ones it won’t.  

The meeting comes as the district’s superintendent faces accusations he and other school officials steered construction projects to political donors.

LHatter / WFSUNews

For weeks now, the Leon County School district has been facing allegations of wrongdoing when it comes to how officials award construction and maintenance projects. The primary target of those claims, is Superintendent Jackie Pons. The district is trying to push back against those claims but that's proving hard to do, when the group making the charges remains anonymous.

A much-anticipated public meeting of the Leon County School Board has been postponed. 

Thursday’s meeting of the Leon County School Board was supposed to be an attempt to explain the district’s policies for awarding construction and maintenance contracts. The workshop comes in the wake of allegations by an anonymous group and current district administrator Rocky Hanna who allege many of the contracts were awarded based on political favors.

The Florida Department of Education and Florida Department of Law Enforcement declined to pursue the allegations.

This is the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test logo.
Florida Department of Education

Schools in Leon County are resuming online FCAT testing this week after students encountered log-in issues Tuesday. State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says testing company Pearson is to blame.

Some of the students unable to complete their tests Tuesday resumed testing Wednesday with no reported difficulties. Leon County Schools spokesman Chris Petley says not all students in the district were affected by the mishap.

LHatter / WFSU News

For the first time in years, Florida’s public, K-12 schools are slated to get state money for construction and maintenance. But school officials say while they’re grateful for what’s been proposed, they’re not ready to start counting those dollars just yet.

Governor Rick Scott’s proposed budget allocates  $80 million for new roofs, air conditioners and other overdue maintenance projects at the state’s more than 3,500 public schools. It may sound like a lot of money, but Halandale Beach Democratic Representative Joe Gibbons says it won’t go very far.

Sheriff's Camp Helps Officers Bond With Kids

Jun 13, 2013
Chris Ford

The scene is Tallahassee’s Leon High School. Right now, it’s also the Leon County Sheriff’s Adventure Camp, students from the Leon County school district are learning CPR and getting lessons on operating an automatic external defibrillator, or AED. Deputies also give lessons on leadership skills, as well as drug abuse and gang prevention. And students build positive relationships with the officers—even calling them by nicknames.

“The deputy at my school, we all call him Big Daddy,” said Abrianna Simmons, a student at Rickards High School.

L.Hatter / WFSU

Rebecca Kirchharr’s classroom is filled with students, school and district officials all smiling, hugging and cheering. Kirchharr, who started as a teacher in Pensacola seven years ago and has been teaching at Leon High School for the past three years, says he wasn’t expecting the award.

“Teachers, we can’t do it alone, and sometimes its difficult because we’re so busy but what’s so amazing about Leon is how we come together for the betterment of the kids.," she said.

Following the tragic school shooting in Newtown Connecticut, parents, teachers and government leaders across the country and in Florida are on guard. In Leon County school officials are doing their best to set those concerns at ease.

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