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       Florida Senate - 2010                                    SB 1244
       By Senator Wilson
       33-01260-10                                           20101244__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public school student progression;
    3         amending s. 1008.25, F.S.; providing a process by
    4         which the retention of a third grade student who
    5         exhibits a reading deficiency may be appealed;
    6         providing for exemption from mandatory retention
    7         through successful appeal; requiring the Department of
    8         Education to establish an appeal process; specifying
    9         circumstances recognized as justification for granting
   10         an appeal; requiring assessment and evaluation;
   11         providing for reporting; providing an effective date.
   13  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   15         Section 1. Subsection (5) and paragraph (b) of subsection
   16  (6) of section 1008.25, Florida Statutes, are amended, present
   17  subsections (7), (9), and (10) are renumbered as subsections
   18  (8), (10), and (11), respectively, present subsection (8) is
   19  renumbered as subsection (9) and amended, and a new subsection
   20  (7) is added to that section, to read:
   21         1008.25 Public school student progression; remedial
   22  instruction; reporting requirements.—
   24         (a) It is the ultimate goal of the Legislature that every
   25  student read at or above grade level. Any student who exhibits a
   26  substantial deficiency in reading, based upon locally determined
   27  or statewide assessments conducted in kindergarten or grade 1,
   28  grade 2, or grade 3, or through teacher observations, must be
   29  given intensive reading instruction immediately following the
   30  identification of the reading deficiency. The student’s reading
   31  proficiency must be reassessed by locally determined assessments
   32  or through teacher observations at the beginning of the grade
   33  following the intensive reading instruction. The student must
   34  continue to be provided with intensive reading instruction until
   35  the reading deficiency is remedied.
   36         (b) Beginning with the 2002-2003 school year, if the
   37  student’s reading deficiency, as identified in paragraph (a), is
   38  not remedied by the end of grade 3, as demonstrated by scoring
   39  at Level 2 or higher on the statewide assessment test in reading
   40  for grade 3, the student must be retained.
   41         (c) The parent of any student who exhibits a substantial
   42  deficiency in reading, as described in paragraph (a), must be
   43  notified in writing of the following:
   44         1. That his or her child has been identified as having a
   45  substantial deficiency in reading.
   46         2. A description of the current services that are provided
   47  to the child.
   48         3. A description of the proposed supplemental instructional
   49  services and supports that will be provided to the child that
   50  are designed to remediate the identified area of reading
   51  deficiency.
   52         4. That if the child’s reading deficiency is not remediated
   53  by the end of grade 3, the child must be retained unless he or
   54  she is exempt from mandatory retention for good cause.
   55         5. The availability of an appeal process for a student who
   56  is to be retained pursuant to paragraph (b).
   57         6.5. Strategies for parents to use in helping their child
   58  succeed in reading proficiency.
   59         7.6. That the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT)
   60  is not the sole determiner of promotion and that additional
   61  evaluations, portfolio reviews, and assessments are available to
   62  the child to assist parents and the school district in knowing
   63  when a child is reading at or above grade level and ready for
   64  grade promotion.
   65         8.7. The district’s specific criteria and policies for
   66  midyear promotion. Midyear promotion means promotion of a
   67  retained student at any time during the year of retention once
   68  the student has demonstrated ability to read at grade level.
   70         (b) The district school board may only exempt students from
   71  mandatory retention, as provided in paragraph (5)(b), for good
   72  cause or for successful appeal of their retention under
   73  subsection (7). Good cause exemptions shall be limited to the
   74  following:
   75         1. Limited English proficient students who have had less
   76  than 2 years of instruction in an English for Speakers of Other
   77  Languages program.
   78         2. Students with disabilities whose individual education
   79  plan indicates that participation in the statewide assessment
   80  program is not appropriate, consistent with the requirements of
   81  State Board of Education rule.
   82         3. Students who demonstrate an acceptable level of
   83  performance on an alternative standardized reading assessment
   84  approved by the State Board of Education.
   85         4. Students who demonstrate, through a student portfolio,
   86  that the student is reading on grade level as evidenced by
   87  demonstration of mastery of the Sunshine State Standards in
   88  reading equal to at least a Level 2 performance on the FCAT.
   89         5. Students with disabilities who participate in the FCAT
   90  and who have an individual education plan or a Section 504 plan
   91  that reflects that the student has received intensive
   92  remediation in reading for more than 2 years but still
   93  demonstrates a deficiency in reading and was previously retained
   94  in kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3.
   95         6. Students who have received intensive remediation in
   96  reading for 2 or more years but still demonstrate a deficiency
   97  in reading and who were previously retained in kindergarten,
   98  grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3 for a total of 2 years. Intensive
   99  reading instruction for students so promoted must include an
  100  altered instructional day that includes specialized diagnostic
  101  information and specific reading strategies for each student.
  102  The district school board shall assist schools and teachers to
  103  implement reading strategies that research has shown to be
  104  successful in improving reading among low-performing readers.
  106         (a) The Legislature recognizes that there are unusual and
  107  unique circumstances that may warrant a student’s exemption from
  108  mandatory retention. The Department of Education shall establish
  109  an appeal process in which the parent of a student who is to be
  110  retained pursuant to paragraph (5)(b) may seek an exemption from
  111  mandatory retention from the district school board. A majority
  112  vote of the membership of the district school board is required
  113  for such exemption.
  114         (b) Circumstances that shall be recognized as justification
  115  for granting an appeal include:
  116         1. A student suffers physical or emotional trauma resulting
  117  in test anxiety, including, but not limited to, death of a
  118  family member, removal from the home, or serious illness or
  119  injury to the student or a family member.
  120         2. A student develops unusual test anxiety, especially when
  121  it arises from being threatened with retention.
  122         (c) A parent shall have input as to the types of additional
  123  support the student will receive to overcome his or her
  124  deficiency.
  125         (d) When an appeal is filed with the district school board,
  126  the school shall provide an independent assessment of the
  127  student’s academic needs by a qualified school psychologist.
  128         (e) The school principal shall evaluate the assessment,
  129  discuss the assessment with the student’s teacher and parent,
  130  and make a recommendation to the district school board within 30
  131  days after receipt of the assessment.
  132         (f) If a parent wishes to appeal his or her child’s
  133  retention but does not have the means or resources to do so, the
  134  school district shall appoint a qualified advocate to intervene
  135  on the child’s behalf during the appeal process.
  136         (g) School personnel, including guidance counselors and
  137  teachers, may initiate the appeal process on behalf of a student
  138  but must receive the parent’s permission to do so before
  139  proceeding with an appeal.
  140         (9)(8) ANNUAL REPORT.—
  141         (a) In addition to the requirements in paragraph (5)(c)(b),
  142  each district school board must annually report to the parent of
  143  each student the progress of the student toward achieving state
  144  and district expectations for proficiency in reading, writing,
  145  science, and mathematics. The district school board must report
  146  to the parent the student’s results on each statewide assessment
  147  test. The evaluation of each student’s progress must be based
  148  upon the student’s classroom work, observations, tests, district
  149  and state assessments, and other relevant information. Progress
  150  reporting must be provided to the parent in writing in a format
  151  adopted by the district school board.
  152         (b) Each district school board must annually publish in the
  153  local newspaper, and report in writing to the State Board of
  154  Education by September 1 of each year, the following information
  155  on the prior school year:
  156         1. The provisions of this section relating to public school
  157  student progression and the district school board’s policies and
  158  procedures on student retention and promotion.
  159         2. By grade, the number and percentage of all students in
  160  grades 3 through 10 performing at Levels 1 and 2 on the reading
  161  portion of the FCAT.
  162         3. By grade, the number and percentage of all students
  163  retained in grades 3 through 10.
  164         4. Information on the total number of students who were
  165  promoted for good cause, by each category of good cause as
  166  specified in paragraph (6)(b).
  167         5. Information on the total number of students who were
  168  promoted as a result of appealing their retention under
  169  subsection (7).
  170         6.5. Any revisions to the district school board’s policy on
  171  student retention and promotion from the prior year.
  172         (c) The Department of Education shall establish a uniform
  173  format for school districts to report the information required
  174  in paragraph (b). The format shall be developed with input from
  175  district school boards and shall be provided not later than 90
  176  days prior to the annual due date. The department shall annually
  177  compile the information required in subparagraphs (b)2., 3., and
  178  4., and 5., along with state-level summary information, and
  179  report such information to the Governor, the President of the
  180  Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  181         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

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