(1) Secondary schools are schools that primarily serve students in grades 6 through 12. It is the intent of the Legislature to provide for secondary school redesign so that students promoted from the 8th grade have the necessary academic skills for success in high school and students graduating from high school have the necessary skills for success in the workplace and postsecondary education.
(2) The following guiding principles for secondary school redesign shall be used in the annual preparation of each secondary school’s improvement plan required by s. 1001.42(18):
(a) Struggling students, especially those in failing schools, need the highest quality teachers and dramatically different, innovative approaches to teaching and learning.
(b) Every teacher must contribute to every student’s reading improvement.
(c) Quality professional development provides teachers and principals with the tools they need to better serve students.
(d) Small learning communities allow teachers to personalize instruction to better address student learning styles, strengths, and weaknesses.
(e) Intensive intervention in reading and mathematics must occur early and through innovative delivery systems.
(f) Parents need access to tools they can use to monitor their child’s progress in school, communicate with teachers, and act early on behalf of their child.
(g) Applied and integrated courses help students see the relationships between subjects and relevance to their futures.
(h) School is more relevant when students choose courses based on their goals, interests, and talents.
(i) Master schedules should not determine instruction and must be designed based on student needs, not adult or institutional needs.
(j) Academic and career planning engages students in developing a personally meaningful course of study so they can achieve goals they have set for themselves.
(3) Based on these guiding principles, district school boards shall establish policies to implement the requirements of ss. 1003.4156, 1003.428, and 1003.493. The policies must address:
(a) Procedures for placing and promoting students who enter a Florida public school at grade 6 through grade 12 from out of state or from a foreign country, including a review of the student’s prior academic performance.
(b) Alternative methods for students to demonstrate competency in required courses and credits, with special support for students who have been retained.
(c) Applied, integrated, and combined courses that provide flexibility for students to enroll in courses that are creative and meet individual learning styles and student needs.
(d) Credit recovery courses and intensive reading and mathematics intervention courses based on student performance on FCAT Reading and Mathematics. These courses should be competency based and offered through innovative delivery systems, including computer-assisted instruction. School districts should use learning gains as well as other appropriate data and provide incentives to identify and reward high-performing teachers who teach credit recovery and intensive intervention courses.
(e) Grade forgiveness policies that replace a grade of “D” or “F” with a grade of “C” or higher earned subsequently in the same or a comparable course.
(f) Summer academies for students to receive intensive reading and mathematics intervention courses or competency-based credit recovery courses. A student’s participation in an instructional or remediation program prior to or immediately following entering grade 9 for the first time shall not affect that student’s classification as a first-time 9th grader for reporting purposes.
(g) Strategies to support teachers’ pursuit of the reading endorsement and emphasize reading instruction professional development for content area teachers.
(h) Creative and flexible scheduling designed to meet student needs.
(i) An annual review of each high school student’s electronic personal education plan created pursuant to s. 1003.4156 and procedures for high school students who have not prepared an electronic personal education plan pursuant to s. 1003.4156 to prepare such plan.
(j) Tools for parents to regularly monitor student progress and communicate with teachers.
(k) Additional course requirements for promotion and graduation which may be determined by each school district in the student progression plan and may include additional academic, fine and performing arts, physical education, or career and technical education courses in order to provide a complete education program pursuant to s. 1001.41(3). (4) In order to support the successful implementation of this section by district school boards, the Department of Education shall:
(a) Share best practices for providing a complete education program to students enrolled in course recovery, credit recovery, intensive reading intervention, or intensive mathematics intervention.
(b) Expedite assistance and decisions and coordinate policies throughout all divisions within the department to provide school districts with support to implement this section.