The State Board of Education today paid homage to Deputy Chancellor Brian Dassler who unexpectedly passed away earlier this week and whose passing was announced late yesterday. Dassler was highly respected in education circles and had a strong working relationship with school district staff and teachers. Commissioner Pam Stewart paid the following tribute to Dassler:

“Yesterday was one of the saddest days of both my professional career and my life. I am heartbroken over the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Brian Dassler. He joined the Florida Department of Education in 2013 and brought with him an unrivaled passion for students, educators and the field of education as a whole.

It is only fitting that he was scheduled to be recognized during this meeting for having volunteered 50 hours as mentor between July 1stand December 31st 2016. For Brian, it wasn’t enough that he spent countless hours encouraging students and providing professional development to educators in his official capacity. In his free time, he also mentored a student at Godby High School here in Tallahassee.

Brian was one of a kind. He was always the first to highlight the positive in any situation, and through his inherent goodness and relentless drive, he inspired others to go the extra mile and believe they too could make a difference.

For evidence of that fact, look no further than the position Brian held before becoming Deputy Chancellor – founding principal of a charter high school in New Orleans and the chief academic officer of the arts conservatory for the state of Louisiana. He went to New Orleans Post-Katrina – at a time when lifelong residents weren’t even sure they would ever return.

That was Brian.

He fiercely believed in the city and its people, and more than anything, he could not turn his back on a group of students and educators who had already been dealt one of the worst hands our nation has ever witnessed.

It comes as no surprise that the school and its students succeeded. And, in typical Brian fashion, he maintained the relationships he had built during that time and he returned regularly to celebrate in the achievements of his former students and colleagues who had seamlessly become friends.

Brian was always destined for greatness. Even in his first job, as a high school English teacher in Broward County, his impact was significant. He was one of the founding teachers of the Urban Teacher Academy Program and he was recognized as the county’s teacher of the year.
I believe he was able to achieve so much in his short 38 years because he never lost his desire to learn. Brian earned bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Florida where he has twice been named an outstanding young alumnus.

We are truly heartbroken. His loss will be deeply felt throughout the nation, and he will never be forgotten.”
State Board members and Commissioner Stewart said they plan to work on a lasting means by which to recognize Dassler.

In business action, the Board approved Palm Beach County’s “autonomous principal” pilot application. Broward and Pinellas Counties are also participating in this pilot which gives a school greater autonomy in return for student achievement increases.

The Board will also adopted several rule amendments concerning implementation of statutory changes from last year on how charter schools receive state dollars for capital outlay and related industry certification for career programs.

Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-2.0020, Eligibility for Charter School Capital Outlay (PDF)
Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-6.0571, Career and Technical Education and Adult General Education Standards and Industry-Driven Benchmarks (PDF)
Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-6.0573, Industry Certification Process (PDF)
Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-10.0401, Gold Standard Career Pathways Articulation Agreements (PDF)
Gold Standard Career Pathways Articulation Agreements of Industry Certification to AAS/AS Degree 2016-2017 Academic Year (PDF)

Upcoming at future SBE meetings will be proposed rules pertaining to conforming Florida rules on teacher qualifications with new federal ESSA requirements (which leave qualifications up to the states with “highly qualified” regs being discontinued under ESSA) and updating rules for English for Speakers of Other Languages:

Updating Qualifications for Assignment of Instructional Personnel (PDF)
Definition of Qualified Instructional Personnel Presentation (PDF)
Updating Four English for Speakers of Other Languages Rules (PDF)
English for Speakers of Other Languages Rules Presentation (PDF)

The next full meeting of the SBE will be May 16th in Miami.

Tomorrow, House Education meets starting at 9am on bills previously approved in subcommittees the past two weeks. The meeting will be aired overwww.thefloridachannel.org. the agenda for that and other meetings of K-12 interest include:

9:00AM

(H) – Education Committee, 102 H (9:00AM–12:00PM)
HB 0303 Religious Expression in Public Schools (Daniels)
HB 0373 Education (Grant (M)) – prohibits locally negotiated automatic renewal of annual contracts for teachers rated effective or highly effective
HB 0509 Postsecondary Fee Waivers (Ponder)
HB 0591 Maximum Class Size (Massullo, Jr.)
HB 0781 Designation of School Grades (Porter)
HB 0827 Teacher Bonuses (Porter)
HB 1109 Private School Student Participation in interscholastic sports at public schools (Antone)
(H) – Judiciary Committee, 404 H (9:00AM–12:00PM)
HB 0779 Weapons and Firearms (Combee) – removes penalty if weapon of concealed permit holder is temporarily and openly displayed
HB 0849 Concealed Weapons and Firearms on Private school property (Combee) – allows concealed weapons permit holders to carry weapons on private school campus where there is a religious structure

10:00AM

(S) – SESSION, (10:00AM–12:00PM)
SB 0060 Children Obtaining Driver Licenses (Bean) – involves students in
SB 0436 Religious Expression In Public Schools (Baxley) – identical to HB303 above
SB 0080 Public Records (Steube)

Bill for review–as promised–is HB757 by Rep. Byron Donalds. The bill seeks to have the DOE revise its Just Read Florida program and provide increased training for teachers. Those interested or involved in early childhood education should review this bill. The bill is attached as amended yesterday and the staff analysis, which reflects the amendments on p. 7, is also attached for your review. Much of the change was to remove the fiscal impact and funding. Such would be considered as part of the budget process (speaking of which, we understand–at this point–Senate budget action is slated to get back on track next week).

Last, the Constitutional Revision Committee has announced a “Floridians Speak, we Listen” series of public meetings around the state. The schedule is attached. The CRC was officially sworn in Monday. Proposed rules of operation remain pending Commission discussion, amendment, debate and adoption. The fledgling website is http://flcrc.gov/.

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group