Stacie Dern school board candidate district 7, on Recess

NCLB created a rush to engage students with more
academic work, which meant recess and physical education were the first to be
cut in order to provide more time for test taking and data collection. According
to Dr. Charles Basch, in an article in the Journal of School Health, children
in lower income areas have less access to school-based physical activity, which
affects emotional stability, physical health, and motivation to learn. The
students who would benefit the most are those with the greatest need for
cognitive benefits. Even though there is not any evidence that supports more
work and less play, schools with lower performance scores remove or cut
physical education and recess from the curriculum hoping to gain greater
achievements. The current research actually supports increased physical
activity having a causal link with positive outcomes on academic success. Brain
research tells us that increased oxygen saturation, caused by activity,
increases brain neurotransmitters, which increases neurotrophins that support
neuronal differentiation and survival in a developing brain; this is linked
with cognitive growth.
A study in 2006, of 214 sixth-grade students,
showed that students who participated in 55 minutes of physical education did
just as well on standardized test scores as their peers who used that time for
daily classroom activities ( Academic performance of children
engaged in daily physical activity was measured against the norms of U.S.
students using Pearson measures. The results indicated an increase in oral
comprehension, reading, vocabulary, and phonics. The academic performance was
assessed using test scores, grades, observations, and progress monitoring. The
gender, income level, physical habits, eating habits, and family life were
taken into account when developing the groups of children to study.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
recommends that each child get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each
day. Although there are not any federal laws requiring physical education or
recess, Florida statute 1003.455 requires that children get 150 minutes of
physical education each week, with a minimum of 30 minutes of continuous
activity. The Recess Moms are currently working on the recess bill, which might
make it through this year due to increased support.

Stacie Dern. 

As we start week 3, it’s time to hold the district accountable.

A couple people have reached out to me about class sizes, elementary school PE and other issues and my response has been it’s the first two weeks, schools are shaking out the kinks, but as we enter week three, it is now time to start holding the schools and the district accountable. No longer should classes be exceeding the class size limit which in case you were wondering is:

  • 18 students in prekindergarten through grade 3.
  • 22 students in grades 4 through 8.
  • 25 students in grades 9 through 12.

Now the state gutted it so above is only for core classes but still I am told there are limits like a ridiculous 70 for PE, and yes that’s 70 children.

Speaking of PE this is what the state told me when I asked.

(3) Each district school board shall provide 150 minutes of physical education each week for students in kindergarten through grade 5 and for students in grade 6 who are enrolled in a school that contains one or more elementary grades so that on any day during which physical education instruction is conducted there are at least 30 consecutive minutes per day. Beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, the equivalent of one class period per day of physical education for one semester of each year is required for students enrolled in grades 6 through 8. Students enrolled in such instruction shall be reported through the periodic student membership surveys, and records of such enrollment shall be audited pursuant to s. 1010.305. Such instruction may be provided by any instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2), regardless of certification, who are designated by the school principal.

Well the districts schedule says students are only getting 90 minutes of PE a week

Furthermore the media schedule seems to be optimistic at best.

From readers:

Media is a joke. At a school of 1100 plus we have a 1/2 funded position which is vacant. If filled we would have media once every 5-6 weeks. Right now a para is available for classes to check out books every other week. Sad! But not surprising. Doesn’t seem like books are very valued in Duval right now as we use a listening comprehension curriculum that doesn’t include using real books!! 

There are quite a few schools that only have resource (art, music, PE) once every 8 days. At my son’s school art, music, media and PE is once every 8 days.

You are not wrong. We have media once every two weeks and we have physical education with the coach once every two weeks.

Ours is 45 minutes every six days.

Ours is 45 minutes every other week. We can take our class weekly to check out books (if the basic para is there) but we have to stay with them. Oh and currently our media position is vacant.

Will things improve? I hope so but they definitely won’t unless we start holding the district accountable.

There is a debate about kids getting enough play, but what about the promised media hour too?

Look at the elementary school schedule the district has put out.

It says one day a week that kids will get media, hey that sounds great to me, a weekly visit to the library, a media specialist doing a read aloud or putting on some other program. GREAT!

Um except a reader pointed out to me, that their school only has media every other week.

Another pointed out that in the bigger elementary schools there are more classes than could be seen in a week unless they doubled up classes .

So I wondered what happened when their was no media specialist available and was told schools are supposed to come up with a plan.

Why am I skeptical that this is working well for anybody?

But you know what I could be wrong and if I am please let me know.

Finally I would like to say, the way the district has treated its media specialists since Vitti arrived has been criminal. Librarians are some of the last people that should go in a district that has a reading problem. I wonder why they weren’t financed by the QEA or why instead of dropping our budget 40 million dollars nobody said, hmm you know what, lets get some librarians in there.

Elementary school teacher calls out impossible schedule

From a reader

Our “planning” is from 7:50-8:25. 

That is with parents dropping in, kids needing to get on i-Ready, trying to retrieve laptops off the computer cart, etc. 

We only get 2-3 resources a week (45 minutes) and one of those is taken up with common planning because we can’t do it before 8:25 when our actual planning period is. 

In a big school where dismissal starts at 2:40, you really only have a little over 6 hours of instructional time not counting lunch.

 By the way, how can a school with a media specialist every other week have 60 minutes of “media” time? My class’s first trip to the media center isn’t until the third week in September.

That’s a great question-Chris 

Bryan Campbell candidate Clay school board district 2 chooses smears over ideas

I thought only Gary Chartrand Candidates made stuff up. Add Bryan Campbell candidate Clay school board district 2 to the list.

It looks like Bryan Campbell took a page out of the Gary Chartrand candidate playbook and sent a dastardly and misleading mailer about his candidate Carol Studdard who has successfully served the people of Clay County for nearly 24 years.


Do you know who is a member of the AFL-CIO and Labor Unions? Most teachers, firemen and police officers, that’s who. Your neighbors, the middle class family that has left Duval for Clay county. The people you barbecue with, go to church with and see at Publix.

As for special interests, does he mean all the charter school money that has filled Van Zant’s coffers? They in education are the ultimate special interest and they aren’t giving money to Carol Suddard.

Then he mentions raises, Tallahassee, dominated by republican politicians for over 20 years decides how school board members are paid and I don’t believe that the school board could give themselves raises even if they wanted to.

As for a million dollars in salary and benefits, for nearly 24 years of able and successful service is a bargain. We should be thanking her for her selfless service instead of allowing this man to ridicule her.

I also get their is a sentiment to throw long serving politicians out but why would anybody in Clay County even consider replacing her? Until Van Zant, partly because of her leadership, Clay county was considered one of the best school districts in the state, and the fact that she has stayed only on the school board speaks volumes to her commitment to Clay County’s children.

Finally the line about a DROP payment is just a straight up lie, she hasn’t received one cent from it, though after 24 years of service I don’t know why anyone would begrudge her from doing so when she eventually does.

Clay county shouldn’t the leaders of your schools be chosen based on their ideas, not their callous ability to smear their opponents and mislead the electorate? This is obviously a lesson that Bryan Campbell didn’t learn.   

Dear elementary school teachers, how the “beep” do you do it?

Teaching despite assertions to the contrary is not an easy gig but elementary school teachers, how the beep do you do it?

Look at the schedule that the superintendent has put out.

Sixty minutes of planning time, I mean except on common planing days, and I get it elementary schools are more and more being divided up into subject areas, especially in the higher grades but come on.

Throw in dealing with parents and behaviors and a mountain of mostly superfluous paper work my question is when do they have time to do anything and I can’t help but think if they were given more resources of which time to plan would be a big one, then we as a school system would be better off.

So elementary school teachers, hats off to you, I don’t know how the “beep” you do it.

Van Zant’s first instinct is to lie. Is that the family value he keeps talking about?

I will let his own words speak for him.


When Jeff Hendricks was getting kicked out of a news conference at the Clay County Education Association on Friday, he wouldn’t answer Action News Jax’s questions about who he was.
Now Hendricks is telling Action News Jax he wasn’t there to cause trouble.
He has connections to both Clay County Schools Superintendent Charlie Van Zant and the teachers union he was kicked out of.
On Monday, Hendricks said he just wanted to hear what Dr. Susan Sailor had to say at the news conference about her accusations of fraud and plagiarism against her boss, Clay County Schools Superintendent Charlie Van Zant.
“Why can’t I be here?” Hendricks asked teachers’ union service unit Director Tracy Butler, who was asking him to leave on Friday.
On Friday, Action News Jax showed Van Zant the video of Hendricks getting kicked out.
“He looks kind of familiar. I can’t tell you who that is,” said Van Zant.
Van Zant called back on Saturday to say he wasn’t wearing his bifocals when he saw the video, but he now recognizes Hendricks, admitting he knows him “very well.”
Hendricks called Van Zant a “true friend” and has volunteered for his campaign in the past.
Oy vey, somebody probably said to Van Zant, um yeah, people know you know him, you better come clean.

It’s so telling about his character that his first instinct was to lie. It is either just what he does or he is a four year old trapped in a man sized body, after hearing his comments about the election I suspect it is the latter. 

If this incident happened in a vacuum you might be able to scrunch up your nose and begrudgingly say, okay, but it didn’t. This is the same guy who stole the superintendent election in 2012 and has hired his cronies and sycophants. 
Clay county come on, you have to do better than this guy. 

The Federal Government says no to Private Prisons, for profit Charter Schools should be next

Last year the Federal Government started going after for
profit colleges, pointing out they don’t do as well and man were little more
than scams. This past week we can add for profit prisons to the list.
From NPR:

Justice Department officials plan to phase out their use of private prisons to
house federal inmates, reasoning that the contract facilities offer few
benefits for public safety or taxpayers. 

In making the decision, Deputy Attorney General Sally
Yates cited new findings by the Justice Department’s inspector general, who
concluded earlier this month that a pool of 14 privately contracted prisons
reported more incidents of inmate contraband, higher rates of assaults and more
uses of force than facilities run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. 

“They simply do not provide the same level of
correctional services, programs and resources; they do not save substantially
on costs; and … they do not maintain the same level of safety and
security,” Yates wrote in a memo Thursday. 

I am not going to say there aren’t good charter schools, to
do so would be disingenuous. However in my hometown of Jacksonville Florida,
the good ones have set up in neighborhoods that already have great schools. There
is not one charter school that serves poor communities of color that is doing
better than the nearby public schools. But there they are dozens of charter
schools allowed to exist that are either doing a poor job of that are making
their owners rich.

The reasons that the federal government said no to private
prisons could be said about charter schools.

Also from NPR:  

U.S. Department
of Education officials plan to phase out their use of charter schools,
reasoning that the contract facilities offer few benefits for public school students
or taxpayers. 

In making the decision, Nadya Chinoy Dabby, Assistant
Deputy Secretary, Office of Innovation and Improvement
cited new findings by the Department of Education
inspector general, who concluded earlier this month that a pool of 14 privately
contracted charters reported more incidents of closures, suspensions, students
leaving mid-year, lower test scores on the NEAP and accounting problems, and financial
irregularities, than facilities run by local school boards. 

“They simply do not provide the same level of educational services, programs and resources; they do not save substantially
on costs; and … they do not maintain the same level of safety and Education,”
Dabby wrote in a memo Thursday. 

you see what I did there?

concept of charters is an attractive one as I am sure private prisons was to
some, but both of their realities have turned into nightmares for too many.