Public education in Florida serves almost 2.9 million students in 67 traditional school districts and 6 special school districts, including 4 university lab schools, Florida School of Deaf and Blind, and Florida Virtual School. Since 2019, leadership in Florida has been focused on improving both reading and math achievement, addressing teacher shortages, and increasing postsecondary and workforce readiness. In 2020, the Florida State Board of Education adopted the Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics with an aggressive schedule for full implementation by 2022-23. To address teacher shortages, the Florida legislature has funded annual salary increases for teachers and approved several new alternative pathways to teacher certification, including a Registered Apprenticeship program for teaching. Additionally, Florida’s Governor has invested $44 million in developing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Career Technical Education pathways.
To support Florida in moving its priorities forward, the Region 7 Comprehensive Center partners with the Florida Department of Education, Division of K-12 Public Schools on three high-leverage projects:
- Using implementation science to support the state, districts, and schools in transitioning to the B.E.S.T. Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics;
- Supporting the Bureau of Educator Recruitment, Development, and Retention in the development and implementation of new state leadership standards and new principal preparation program approval standards to strengthen education leader preparation and development; and
- Supporting Just Read, Florida! in implementing effective evidence-based literacy practices, including timely intervention, to close student literacy performance gaps and improve overall student literacy achievement.