400.0 — ACADEMIC AND CURRICULUM INFORMATION
400.1 — Honor Code
The School Board of Sarasota County and the Sarasota County School District strongly believe that academic honesty must be practiced by all students. Cheating is defined by the school board and the district as “The inappropriate and deliberate distribution or use of information, notes, materials, or the work of another person, or the unauthorized use of technology devices in the completion of an academic assessment or assignment.”
Students are expected to demonstrate honesty and integrity at all times. Each student is expected to do his or her own work, except where collaboration is required by the teacher. This includes test-taking, homework, class assignments and the original creation of essays, compositions, term papers and research. There is no distinction between giving and receiving unauthorized help; one who helps another to cheat is as guilty as one who benefits from cheating. All work submitted by the student should be a true reflection of that student’s own effort and ability.
Violation of this policy may result in academic and/or disciplinary consequences, loss of eligibility for local scholarships, and/or loss of honors, awards and membership in extracurricular activities.
400.10 — ESOL & Migrant Programs
The Sarasota County School District recognizes the linguistic and cultural diversity of its students and encourages all students to preserve their native cultures while developing an awareness of U.S. culture. The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program in Sarasota County is designed to provide linguistic, academic, social, cultural and support programs and services to students who are English Language Learners (ELLs).
The district’s goal is to provide English Language Learner (ELLs) students opportunities to achieve the English Language Development Standards (WIDA) and Florida Standards for all academic subject areas and obtain a high school diploma or a GED.
400.10a — Initial Identification
Each student shall be surveyed upon initial enrollment in a district school. Adults registering students will complete, with assistance in their language, where feasible, the Home Language Survey (HLS) containing three questions required by Rule 6A-6.0902.
1. Is a language other than English used in the home?
2. Did the student have a first language other than English
3. Does the student most frequently speak a language other than English?
If there is an affirmative response to any of the three questions on the HLS, a language proficiency evaluation/assessment will take place to determine if the student is Limited English Proficient (LEP).
Any student who scores within the state criteria for limited English proficiency range shall be determined to be an English Language Learner (ELL) student and shall be provided appropriate instruction, ESOL services and funding as specified in Florida Statute §1003.56, as amended by Chapter 2002-387, Laws of Florida.
Each school will offer instruction for ELL students that complies with the 1990 LULAC/ META Consent Decree and the District ELL Plan (approved by the Sarasota County District School Board and the Florida DOE).
400.10b — Programmatic Assessments
According to DOE Florida Administrative Code rule, “parents have the right to have their child immediately removed from a language instruction educational program and to decline to enroll the student in such a program or choose other instructional options, if available.” For purposes of this subparagraph, a “language instruction educational program” means an instructional course in which an ELL is placed for the purpose of developing and attaining English proficiency and which may make instructional use of both English and a child’s heritage language. Nothing herein shall alter the duty of the district to provide highly qualified, duly certified or endorsed ESOL instructors in accordance with rule 6A-1.09441, F.A.C., and the Course Code Directory and Instructional Personnel Assignments that are referenced in the rule. If any parent or guardian of an ELL communicates a refusal to have his or her child enrolled in an ELL program, the district shall have the student’s principal, or another representative of the school meet with the parent to:
- Describe the range of programs and services that the child could receive if the parent does not refuse, including the methodology the district plans to employ to address the student’s educational needs and the training and qualifications of teachers and any others who would be employed in teaching the student;
- Discuss the benefits their child is likely to gain by being enrolled in an ELL program and receiving ELL services;
- Explain that, notwithstanding any past practice, the district shall not require students to be assigned to programs specifically designated for ELLs, or schools containing such programs, in order to receive ELL services. FS 6A-6.0902(3, d).
400.10c —Appropriate Programming
English Language Learner students shall have equal access to appropriate programs, which shall include state-funded ESOL instruction and instruction in basic subject areas which are comprehensible to English Language Learner students and that are equal and comparable in amount, scope, sequence and quality to that provided to English-proficient students. Such programs shall seek to develop English language proficiency and academic potential.
English Language Learners with special needs disabilities shall be provided equal and comparable services to those provided to English proficient students on a timely basis and appropriate to the level of English-proficiency.
English Language Learners who, by the end of grade 12, fail to meet the 10th-grade statewide assessment, shall be provided appropriate programming as specified in Rule 6A-6.0909, of the Florida Administrative Code.
English Language Learners shall be given credit toward fulfilling graduation requirements in English for each basic ESOL course completed satisfactorily. Credit shall be given toward fulfilling graduation requirements for each basic subject area course completed satisfactorily.
Sarasota County uses a variety of ESOL program models to meet diverse student needs.
The Mainstream/Immersion Model places English Language Learners/Limited English Proficient students into monolingual English classrooms with special support and assistance from a teacher trained in ESOL strategies.
The Sheltered Academic Instruction Model is offered at middle and high schools, these courses focus on English language arts and language development and are designed to make them comprehensible to English Language Learners. Techniques include simplified speech, computer assisted instruction and hands-on activities.
400.10d —Grading Policy and Promotion of English Language Learners (ELLs)
Evaluation of achievement will include progress toward mastery of Florida Standards and the WIDA English Language Development Standards. The academic grade represents the progress made on a student’s instructional level; it does not necessarily reflect achievement on grade level.
English Language Learners may not receive a failing grade if instructional strategies, materials and assessment have not been modified in order to meet their instructional needs. In addition, these modifications and strategies must be documented in teacher lesson plans. School administrators in charge of teacher evaluation are responsible for ensuring that teachers are providing comprehensible instruction through modification, accommodations, and scaffolding instruction and assessments.
Students from a foreign country registering at a district school and who have academic records, i.e., credit transcript, from their country of origin will be placed accordingly. If no documentation is available nor a possibility of their previous school sending a transcript, grade level placement will be age appropriate. If a student has a diploma or certificate of high school completion from their country of origin, the student may not register in a Sarasota County Schools high school. No student will be retained solely due to his/her level of English language proficiency. Promotion or retention decision may not be made for any ELL student based solely on a score of a single assessment instrument, including FSA.
For information on Grade 3 Mandatory Retention and Good Cause Exemptions, refer to the Student Progression Plan.
For additional information refer to Section 400.2 - Grading Policy, Section 400.4 - Promotion Policy of this handbook. You may also refer to the Student Progression Plan.
The ESOL Program, through a Title III grant, provides parents of ELL students with the service of a Parent Outreach Facilitator. The objective of the Parent Facilitator is to assist parents in becoming actively involved at home and school in the education of their children with educational and socioeconomic needs. For additional information visit https://www.sarasotacountyschools.net/Page/1284.
How to get involved
Be a Volunteer! Your volunteer participation at school is always welcomed. A variety of parent organizations are available at the school and district level; such as:
Volunteer and Partnership Programs
Volunteer in the classroom
Attend open house orientations
Attend parent-teacher conferences
Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)
School Advisory Council (SAC)
School Parent Leadership Councils (PLC)
District Parent Leadership Council (PLC)
Migrant Parent Advisory Council (PAC)
The District Parent Leadership Committee (PLC) and Migrant Parent Advisory Council (PAC) are district-wide entities with representatives from the district ESOL Program, parents of ELL students, and migrant students representing county schools, and who meet biannually to share information, ideas and concerns of issues affecting families of ELL and Migrant students.
We need to hear your voice in these parent organizations! Please participate. Refer to Sections 100.9b and 101.0 - 101.6 for additional parent involvement information.
400.11 — Migrant Education Program
The Migrant Education Program (MEP) is an educational program designed to cover the academic needs and provide support services to migrant children and youth between the ages of 3 and 21. Children with parents working in agriculture or youth working in agriculture who move from state to state or county to county within the same state may qualify for services.
Families who may qualify will be visited by the Identification and Recruiting agent to evaluate families. You may qualify for the Migrant Educational Program if you have moved to seek work in: agriculture, dairy, livestock, fishing, and packing. Some of the services offered are: academic services for the needs of migrant students, free school lunch, orientation and referrals for health, education, and social services, and translation/ interpretation services at schools.
For migrant program eligibility information please call 941-927- 9000, ext. 34329. Additional information is available at: https://www.sarasotacountyschools.net/Page/1284; https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg8.html#sec1304.
400.12 — Adult Education
The Sarasota County Schools Adult and Community Enrichment Program offers a variety of programs for adult enrichment. A schedule of courses is available online at www.SarasotaCountySchools.net/schools/ace/.
Suncoast Technical College (STC) offers a wide variety of Career and Technical training programs leading to licensure or certification along with several educational options for adult students including Adult ESOL courses for non-English speakers, Adult High School and GED ® preparation.
400.13 — Teacher Qualifications
The state of Florida requires Sarasota County Schools to notify parents if their child’s teacher is teaching “out of field” or is not yet certified in the area her or she is assigned to teach. A parent whose student is assigned an out-of-field teacher may request that his or her child be transferred to an in-field classroom teacher within the school and grade in which the student is currently enrolled. The school district must approve or deny the parent’s request and transfer the student to a different classroom teacher within 2 weeks, if an in-field teacher for that course or grade level is employed by the school and the transfer does not violate maximum class size. If a request for transfer is denied, the school must notify the parent and specify the reasons for the denial. A parent does not have the right to choose a specific teacher.
Parents may request out of field information by contacting the Human Resources Department of the Sarasota County Schools at 941-927-9000.
400.14 — Post-Secondary Planning Services
Through the district’s Student Services department, the following publications are produced:
Sarasota County Scholarship: Posted online, this one-stop approach to local scholarship opportunities in Sarasota County also offers tips on qualifying for the state’s merit scholarship program, Florida Bright Futures. The website address is www.FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org/SSFAD/bf.
Pathways: This is Sarasota County Schools’ annually revised student guidance handbook. This publication can be accessed by visiting the Student Services Department’s page on the district website www.SarasotaCountySchools.net. Topics include such areas as high school graduation requirements, eligibility requirements for interscholastic athletics, Florida Bright Futures Scholarship information, a listing of postsecondary institutions in Florida, and much more. This is an invaluable school resource, and students and their parents are strongly encouraged to take time to carefully read through this publication.
More information about these publications is available online at www.SarasotaCountySchools.net.
Additional Planning Services
Pupil Support Services also provides secondary students and parents with access to educational opportunities beyond high school with its Fall College Night. Representatives from more than 135 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. attend this fall event. A similar event is held at Venice High School in February to assist juniors in getting a jump start on their senior year and post-secondary planning. In addition, representatives from Suncoast Technical College (STC) are present at both evening events to give information to students who are interested in exploring careers while still in high school or when they graduate from high school. Recruiting representatives and liaison officers of the military academies are also present for those students exploring a military career.
Financial aid seminars are offered at various public high schools in Sarasota County. These seminars are announced by the district, schools and the local media. Students and parents are invited to attend any of the seminars that fit their schedules. The seminars are designed to be question-and-answer sessions for students and parents seeking financial aid options. Detailed information is provided about federal financial aid and the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.
The Rotary Futures Program is located at Venice High School. This program is open to all students in Sarasota County Schools and provides assistance with scholarship searches, financial aid and secondary planning. More information is available by calling Venice High School.
The Florida Department of Education provides additional post-secondary planning options through several websites and brochures distributed to guidance departments in Sarasota County Schools. Detailed information about state scholarships and grant programs is available at www.FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org/SSFAD.
Florida Shines, www.floridashines.org, is a website that provides high school and post-secondary information to students, parents, teachers and counselors. This site also provides MyCareerShines, a career exploration program and an unofficial transcript of a student’s high school academic work.
FloridaNEXT, a free magazine published by the Department of Education, provides career and college planning information. This information may be accessed at www.FloridaNEXT.com.
400.15 — Vocational/Career Education and Transition Services for Students with Disabilities
Sarasota County Schools, in partnership with community agencies, offers programs designed to help adults with disabilities lead a more
fulfilling life. Based on standards set by the Florida State Department of Education, programs are offered at various sites in instruction and practice in self-care skills, work habits and employability skills. Public transportation is used when possible. Programs and contact information in Sarasota County are:
Easter Seals Southwest Florida: 941-355-7637
Loveland Center: 941-493-0016
Manasota ARC: 941-795-6019
Mental Health Community Center (MHCC): 941-953-3477
Suncoast Technical College: 941-924-1365
Suncoast Center for Independent Living (SCIL): 941-351-9545
United Cerebral Palsy of Southwest Florida: 941-251-4956
400.16 — Accelerated Graduation
Accelerated graduation is permissible when students meet or exceed high school graduation requirements or successfully complete the 18-credit accelerated graduation option or the 24-credit early option. Students and parents must work with a school counselor to select this diploma option. Contact the school’s guidance department to obtain more information about this opportunity.
This is not an ACCELERATED Graduation opportunity - CTE Graduation Pathway
A student is eligible to complete an alternative pathway to earning a standard high school diploma through the Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway option. Receipt of a standard high school diploma awarded through the CTE pathway option requires the student’s successful completion of at least 18 credits. A student completing the CTE pathway option must earn at least a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.
400.17 — Early Admission/Dual Enrollment
Early Admission to colleges and universities allows the grade 12 student to enroll full time in a college or university. The local articulation agreement rules apply for the specific post-secondary institutions. Full-time status is determined by the college or university. In all cases, a student must still meet state and district grade-point average, assessment, and course requirements for high school graduation.
Dual Enrollment is defined as the enrollment of an eligible student in a post-secondary course creditable toward a vocational certificate or an associate or baccalaureate degree. The articulation agreement with the post-secondary institution defines the rules for enrollment and participation. Students may earn high school and college credit simultaneously by enrolling in approved Dual Enrollment courses as specified in the articulation agreements between the School Board of Sarasota County and other accredited post- secondary institutions.
400.18 — Advanced-Level Coursework
Advanced-level courses are available in all high schools. Designed for academically motivated students, these courses offer a faster pace of instruction and additional, more challenging content. High School grade point averages shall be calculated on both a weighted and unweighted scale. Students earning credits in honors level courses and all level 3 instructional courses will earn an additional 1.0 quality point. Students earning credit in AP, DE, AICE, and IB courses will earn an additional 1.5 quality points.
400.19 — Advanced Placement (AP)
Advanced Placement (AP) is the enrollment of an eligible secondary student in an Advanced Placement course as described by the College Board. State of Florida community colleges or universities may award credit for an AP course to students who score a minimum of 3 on a 5-point scale on the corresponding AP exam. Colleges and universities accept, and award college credit based on the policies of the post-secondary school; graduates are responsible for confirming policies with their selected post-secondary school(s).
Students enrolled in AP courses shall be exempt from the payment of any fees. Students enrolled in AP courses may take the AP exam. Any home school, virtual school or any student who chooses to take an AP exam without taking the course is responsible for the fee.
400.2 — Grading Policy
Kindergarten students will receive a report card at the end of each grading period indicating their progress on the end of the year standards, referred to as Performance Standards Grade, as well as an Effort Grade. Responsibilities of the Learner indicates the student’s work habits and are given quarterly.
Grade 1 students will receive a report card at the end of each grading period indicating their progress on end-of-the-year standards, referred to as Performance Standard Grade. Students will also be given an Effort Grade each quarter. Responsibilities of the Learner indicates the student’s work habits and are given quarterly.
Elementary school students (grades 1-5) will receive achievement grades for all academic subjects as well as work habits grades and effort grades that are separate from academic achievement grades. Middle school students (grades 6-8) receive grades in all academic areas, as well as work habits grades and effort grades that are separate from academic achievement grades. High school students (grades 9-12) are assigned achievement grades in all subjects. Also, for each course taken by high school students, 20 percent of the grade will be based on employability skills, such as attitude, organization and appropriate dress for class.
400.20 — International Baccalaureate Programs
International Baccalaureate (IB) is the enrollment of an eligible secondary student in a program that includes a comprehensive curriculum of college-level courses.
Students accepted into the IB program must take exams in six areas to be considered for an IB diploma (aka: IB Diploma Candidates). IB certificate students may take exams in specific subject areas after they have completed the first and second level of the course (aka: IB Certificate Candidates). Exams are based on broad general understanding of concepts and fundamental themes. Exams and assessments are both written and oral in format. IB exam scores include teacher internal assessments as well as external assessments constructed, moderated and marked by educators throughout the world. Students must be enrolled in an authorized IB school to be eligible for an IB diploma or to earn a certificate.
Colleges and universities accept, and award college credit based on the policies of the particular post-secondary school. Students receiving scores of 4 or above on IB exams may be awarded college credit in those subject areas by the post- secondary institution.
Students enrolled in IB courses shall be exempt from the payment of any fees. Students enrolled in IB courses may take the IB exam. Any home school, virtual school or any student who chooses to take an IB exam without taking the course is responsible for the fee.
400.21 — Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE)
Cambridge’s Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) is the enrollment of an eligible secondary student in a Cambridge AS or A Level (AICE) course as described by Cambridge International Examinations. State of Florida community colleges or universities may award credit for an AICE course to students who score a minimum of E on the corresponding AICE exam.
Colleges and universities accept, and award Cambridge AS/A credit based on the policies of the post-secondary school; graduates are responsible for confirming policies with their selected post-secondary school(s).
Students enrolled in AICE courses shall be exempted from the payment of any fees. Students enrolled in AICE courses may take the AICE exam. Any home school, virtual school or any student who chooses to take an AICE exam without taking the course is responsible for the fee.
400.22 — Career and Technical Education (CTE)
The goal of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department of Sarasota County Schools is to provide all students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary to make informed and appropriate educational and career decisions. Career and Technical Education provides a variety of opportunities for students at all grade levels:
Elementary activities allow students to become aware of career areas and make connections between school, careers, and their community.
Middle school courses enable students to explore career pathways, determine career interests and aptitudes and develop basic technical skills in a variety of career areas.
High school Career and Technical Education programs offer students industry certification, post-secondary credit, Ready to Work credentials and scholarship opportunities.
Postsecondary career training programs align to local and regional economic needs.
The learning environment is up-to-date and representative of the world of work.
Project-based learning experiences are designed to have clear, concise connections with course content and employer expectations.
Curriculum is based on rigorous, standards-based academics, and is integrated with workforce and industry standards.
Opportunities are provided for students to receive Gold Seal Scholarships, dual enrollment in postsecondary programs, community service and work-based learning experiences.
Internships and on-the-job training experiences are available for students to apply their technical skills in meaningful ways.
Programs provide opportunities for student certification or licensure in their chosen career pathway.
Career and Technical programs will increase the number of high school graduates who are both college- and career-ready; increase relevance between academic experiences and real-world opportunities; increase academic rigor through technical content and prepare students for success in the 21st century workplace.
Agreements with various post-secondary institutions provide students with the opportunity to earn articulated college credit as they complete many career and technical education courses.
400.23 — Homework Policy
Homework is a regular part of the instruction process. Teachers, under the directions of a principal, are responsible for assigning homework that is appropriate for the subject being taught and the maturity level and needs of individual students. To meet the guidelines set by the district, homework must:
- Meet the needs of the individual student.
- Be thoroughly explained to the student.
- Result in learning and not be busywork or a repetition of what the student already knows.
- Be assigned with sufficient time for a student to obtain any resource that is needed or required.
- Not be assigned as a punishment or disciplinary measure.
- Be reasonable in length of time for completion of assignment.
- Homework will not be assigned on the day of a religious holiday.
400.24 — Understanding Assessments
Throughout each child's education, he or she will take many standardized assessment tests, including the Florida Standards Assessment Test (FSA) in grades 3-10. Results from these tests show whether students are meeting grade-level expectations and help teachers plan instructions and measure students' progress. Schools use testing results to develop school-wide plans for improving academic performance.
- Florida Kindergarten Readiness - This screening is given to Kindergarten students during the first 30 days of school to determine readiness to start school.
- WIDA - The Comprehensive English Language Learning Assessment is taken by English Language Learners (ELLs) to see how well they are learning skills in English.
- FSA English Language Arts & Mathematics - These tests in reading, writing and math measure how well students have met the Florida Standards. These tests are mandatory per Florida State Statute 1008.22(3).
* ELA Grades 3-10
* Mathematics Grades 3-8
- Statewide Science Assessment - Students are tested on the State Standards in science. Grades 5 and 8.
- End-of-Course Examinations (EOC) - Students enrolled in Algebra l, Geometry, Biology, US History and Civics are required to take state End-of-Course assessments targeting Florida Standards.
- Florida Standards Alternative Assessment (FSAA) - is designed for students whose participation in the general statewide assessment FSA is not appropriate, even with accommodations. It is expected that only students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) will participate in the Florida Alternate Assessment.
- Advanced Placement (AP) Tests - National tests for Advanced Placement subjects are given in grades 10-12 and may be used for college credit.
- PSAT - Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) is given to students in grades 10 and 11. Only 11th-grade students with qualifying scores are considered for National Merit Scholarship selection.
- SAT - Scholastic Aptitude Test: (SAT) is a college placement test.
- ACT - The American College Test (ACT) is a college placement test.
- PERT - The Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT) is used to assess college readiness.
- Industry Certification Testing - Industry certification tests are based on national standards established by industry and measure skill proficiency recognized by the labor market and industry trends.
All testing results are available to parents in the Family Access Portal. School counselors can provide more information.
400.25 — FSA (Florida Standard Assessments)
Much has been written about the FSA and its importance to a child’s academic career, but standardized tests alone do not determine a child’s academic potential. Parents may request test results and explanations; the more they know, the more they can help their child. Parents should know that state law 1008.25(5)(b) requires that third-grade students must receive a passing score on the FSA ELA reading assessment in order to be promoted to the fourth-grade. Students are required to pass the tenth-grade FSA ELA and the Algebra I EOC tests during high school to graduate with a traditional high school diploma. They will be offered several opportunities to take the FSA and EOC tests in 10th, 11th and 12th grades.
400.26 — What do the FSA results mean?
Different types of scores are reported for the FSA. Each child’s FSA report will explain to parents the types of scores and what they mean. A brief explanation of some of the scores follows in the next two sections below.
400.26a — FSA
In these ELA and Math tests, students’ scores are assigned one of five levels:
- Level 5 is the highest. A student at this level can handle the most challenging material on his or her grade level.
- Level 4 shows performance above grade level.
- Level 3 shows that a student is learning on grade level and meets the state standard for proficiency.
- Level 2 is a yellow flag, meaning a student needs additional skills and should receive extra help at home and school.
- Level 1 is a red flag. The student is performing below the standards set for his or her grade level.
400.261 FSAA (Florida Standards Alternate Assessment)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires students with disabilities to be included in each state’s system of accountability to have access to the general curriculum. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, also speaks to the inclusion of all children in a state’s accountability system by requiring states to report student achievement for all students as well as for specific groups of students (e.g., students with disabilities, students for whom English is a second language) in disaggregated categories. These federal laws reflect an ongoing concern about equity. All students should be academically challenged and taught to high standards. The involvement of all students in the educational accountability system provides a means of measuring progress toward that goal. Understanding FSAA Reports 2017 v Introduction To provide an option for participation of all students in the state’s accountability system, including those for whom participation in the general statewide assessment is not appropriate, even with allowable accommodations, Florida developed the FSAA program. The FSAA is fully aligned to Florida alternate achievement standards, otherwise known as Access Points. Access Points reflect the key concepts of the Florida Standards and the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards at reduced levels of complexity. They ensure access to the essence or core intent of the standards that apply to all students in the same grade. For more information about the Access Points, visit the Curriculum Planning and Learning Management System (CPALMS) website at http://www.cpalms.org. Determining the appropriate curriculum and, subsequently, how a student will participate in the statewide assessment system, is an IEP team decision. Concluding that the student needs to receive instruction based on alternate achievement standards via access courses and, therefore, be assessed with the FSAA requires signed permission from the parent or guardian. If the IEP team determines that the student will be assessed using the FSAA, the team will also need to decide whether the student should participate in the FSAA—Performance Task or the FSAA—Datafolio.
400.27 — End-of-Course Assessments
In the spring of 2010, the Florida Department of Education passed new legislation governing the implementation of End of Course (EOC) Assessments which will affect course credits and graduation. For more details see Student Progression Plans.
400.28 — Family Literacy Services
The School Board of Sarasota County has made reading proficiency a priority for Sarasota County Schools. The life skill of reading is important to the student, parent and community. Family literacy is addressed in several ways. The Suncoast Technical College, 941-924-1365, offers free adult literacy classes in Adult Basic Education, GED preparation, and English as a Second Language (ESOL) classes. ESOL classes also help many migrant families adjust to life in a new country by offering citizenship classes and eliminating or minimizing language barriers.
400.3 — Report Card
Classroom instruction in every subject is based on the district curriculum, which includes the Florida Standards. A teacher’s recorded grade of a child’s progress is based on progress made toward mastery of these standards. Issued every quarter during the school year, the report card explains the grading system adopted by Sarasota County Schools. Attendance and conduct information are also recorded. Report cards are distributed electronically through the Parent Portal four times per year, after the end of each grading period. These dates will be posted on the district website.
400.4 — Promotion
The district and the state of Florida establish promotion requirements and guidelines for Student Progression Plans (SPP). These guidelines are then used to set student performance standards and promotional and graduation requirements for Grades K–12.
A more detailed outline of these plans can be found on the Curriculum and Instruction page on the district’s website, SarasotaCountySchools.net.
State promotion guidelines, curriculum standards and the Florida Standards allow every child, in every public school in Florida, to have a standard for learning opportunities in the same grades, regardless of the location. Parents may review course information at CPALMS, http://www.cpalms.org/Public/, to obtain the State approved course descriptions or they may ask their child’s teacher for a copy of the course syllabus or course information sheet. In addition, parents can examine their child’s textbook and coursework.
Promotion and Graduation Requirements
Elementary School (grades K–5)
Promotion to the next grade level is based on the following factors:
- Adequate progress in reading, writing, mathematics, and science as demonstrated by the mastery of local curriculum objectives
- The Florida Standards Assessment (FSA)
- Achievement above the 19th percentile on the Third Grade Florida Standards Assessment- English Language Arts (Third Grade only; standard set for 2015 assessment). Good Cause Exemption from Mandatory Retention may be considered for particular students based on State Statute.
- District assessments
- Physical, emotional and social development
Middle School (grades 6–8)
Promotion to the next grade level is outlined in the Student Progression Plan and is based on:
- Successful completion of required courses in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
High School (grades 9-12)
Promotion to the next higher-grade level should be based upon the following factors:
- Adequate progress in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies as demonstrated by student performance. .
- District and classroom assessments. Measures of adequate progress may include, but are not limited to: standardized assessments, classroom performance assessments, performance tasks, computer assisted instruction, and reading comprehension level.
Grade-level Classification Requirements at the traditional high schools:
- Classification for grade 9 – promotion from grade 8
- Classification for grade 10 – successful completion of a minimum of 4 Credits
- Classification for grade 11 – successful completion of a minimum of 10 Credits (1.0 English and 1.0 Math)
- Classification for grade 12 – successful completion of a minimum of 16 Credits (2.0 English and 2.0 Math)
Grade-level Classification Requirements at Suncoast Polytechnical High School:
- Classification for grade 9 – promotion from grade 8
- Classification for grade 10 – successful completion of a minimum of 6 Credits
- Classification for grade 11 – successful completion of a minimum of 13 Credits (1.0 English and 1.0 Math)
- Classification for grade 12 – successful completion of a minimum of 20 Credits (2.0 English and 2.0 Math)
Grade-level Classification Requirements at Pine View School:
- Classification for grade 9 – promotion from grade 8
- Classification for grade 10 – successful completion of a minimum of 6 Credits
- Classification for grade 11 – successful completion of a minimum of 12 Credits (1.0 English and 1.0 Math)
- Classification for grade 12 – successful completion of a minimum of 18 Credits (2.0 English and 2.0 Math)
The State of Florida offers five plans for students entering high schools to meet graduation requirements for a standard diploma:
- The traditional four-year plan (26 Credits)
- ACCEL Diploma Option (18 Credits)
- Early Graduation Standard Diploma (24 Credits)
- State Standard Diploma (24 Credits)
- Career and Technical Education Graduation Pathway (18 Credits)
The Traditional Four-Year Plan
In Sarasota County, all students entering grade 9 students must earn at least twenty-six (26) credits. Students who complete 26 credits, achieve a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of a 2.0 on a 4.0 scale, and earn a passing score on the statewide assessments required for a Florida standard diploma. Specific graduation requirements cohort can be found in Appendix B.
The following chart provides the High School Credit Graduation Requirements by School for 2018-2019:
Students who attend Pine View School must earn twenty-six (26) credits, including a requirement that students complete level 3 of a foreign language. Students at Pine View are not eligible for 18 credit acceleration diploma option because Pine View is a choice magnet school based on eligibility.
400.5 — Exceptional Student Education (ESE)
Not every child will have the same pathway to a diploma. Some children may need an accelerated curriculum (gifted services), while others may have a disability that interferes with their ability to benefit from the regular curriculum. Exceptional Student Education includes students who are intellectually gifted as well as students with disabilities.
Before a child is considered for ESE program eligibility, the child's teacher and School Wide Support Team (SWST) will meet with the parent to discuss the specific educational needs of the child. Appropriate interventions are put into place and monitored on a daily or weekly basis, as determined by the SWST.
Children with disabilities who do not respond to these academic and/or behavioral interventions are then referred to the school-based Children At Risk in Education (CARE) Team. The CARE Team further reviews the child’s progress and determines if more intense interventions are needed. The CARE team also may make a referral for formal evaluation. This evaluation is one of the required steps in determining if a child is eligible for special educational services provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Under the IDEA, a parent has the right to be involved in the eligibility/placement process and the development of the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) that is used to meet his or her child’s special needs. A complete summary of parental and school district rights under the IDEA is contained in a document titled Summary of Procedural Safeguards. You may obtain a copy of the document from the ESE liaison at your school or directly from the Pupil Support Services Office, 941-927-9000.
If a child has high grades or test scores, he or she may benefit from attending a program for the intellectually gifted. First, the child will need to be referred for evaluation and must meet regulations set by the state. If a child qualifies for the program, an Educational Plan (EP) addressing the child’s needs will be written. Intellectually gifted children in Sarasota County have several alternatives. They may remain at their neighborhood school and participate in the programs offered there. If they meet the criteria for a full-time gifted program, they may attend one of the programs for gifted students at either a north or south county site, or they may attend Pine View School.
Each school in the district has at least one school counselor and one ESE liaison. In addition, each school is assigned a school psychologist and social worker whom parents may contact. Each psychologist and social worker serves more than one school. These staff members help parents with any concerns regarding the interventions, testing or Exceptional Student Education (ESE) programs and services their child may need. In addition, parents may contact an ESE Program Specialist at the ESE district office by calling 927-9000, or they may contact their child’s school counselor or the school’s ESE liaison for more information.
400.6 — Classroom Accommodations/Modifications
Once a child is determined to be eligible for special education services, an Individual Educational Plan is developed. The plan involves a parent, the teachers and other school staff in determining which special services will be provided to a child. The IEP may include accommodations, modifications or both.
Accommodations are changes in how a child is taught or tested in the regular-education classroom setting. They may include changes in the areas of instructional methods and materials, assignments and assessments, time demands and scheduling, the learning environment and/or special communication systems. The IEP must include a statement about any accommodations that will be made for a child when taking state or district assessment tests such as the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA). The identification of appropriate accommodations is unique to each student and should be reviewed at least on an annual basis. Modifications are changes in what a child is expected to learn, such as working in an alternative curriculum.
400.7 — Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 Plan is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in public and private programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.
400.8 — FSA and End-of-Course Accommodations
The Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services, publishes a manual listing descriptions of Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) and End-of-Course (EOC) accommodations. Parents may also contact the district’s Research, Assessment and Evaluation office or the Exceptional Student Educational Services department at 941-927-9000, their child’s school counselor, ESE liaison or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) liaison for this information.
Examples of FSA and End-of-Course accommodations may include large print, one item per page, Braille or oral presentations; extended time for tests; different settings for testing such as small-group; or special equipment provided to assist the student (i.e., talking calculators or enhanced seeing and hearing devices). Other accommodations may be approved, if they have been regularly used by the student for classroom instruction and included on the IEP or 504 Plan. No accommodations may alter the content of the test. (No FSA accommodation may be provided to a student unless it is an approved accommodation, as stated in the FSA Administration Manual.)
400.9 —FSA and End-of-Course Accommodations for English Language Learners (ELLs)
FSA and End-of-Course accommodations for ELLs may include some or all of the following: flexible setting, flexible scheduling, extended timing, assistance in heritage language, and an approved word-to-word English/Heritage Language - Heritage Language/English dictionary. Districts are required to offer accommodations to English Language Learners/Limited English Proficient students who are currently receiving services in a program operated in accordance with an approved district ELL plan. The test may be administered with any of these modifications or a combination of accommodations determined to be appropriate for the particular needs of the ELL student. [Rule 6A-6.09091]