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Local Education

    How hot is it this September? One WDBO listener sent in an Open Mic saying, “The carmometer says it’s 98!” His car was very close - the mercury officially rose to 96 degrees Monday in Sanford, breaking a heat record of 94 degrees set in 2015. The average high for Sanford is usually 90 degrees. Unfortunately for that listener who works on rooftops where the temperatures feel a LOT hotter, there is no relief from the heat until the weekend. That’s when moisture will move in and the highs will fall back into the upper 80’s and low 90’s where they should be this time of year. Until then, send in an Open Mic telling us how you beat the September heat using the News 96.5 WDBO app. 
  • Students from several Seminole County high schools that have produced and submitted videos to a competition organized by Leadership Seminole, will attend an awards reception Monday night. Dawn Kraus president of the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit group tells News 96.5 wdbo, the videos have been judged and the winners will be announced at a reception Monday night, April 29, at the Educational Support Center, 400 E Lake Mary Blvd in Sanford.  The video contest is an annual event with this years theme being citizenship. The first palace winner will receive $1,000, second place $500 and third place $250. The students also receive gifts from Leadership Seminole and its Sponsors.  Click here to learn more about Leadership Seminole and check out last years winning video.  Click here in the App to see video.
  • Superintendent Walt Griffin of Seminole County Public Schools is asking parents to resists the urge to post safety concerns on social media and instead contact school administrators directly. His plea is part of a new video released with the assistance of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.  “Every week I receive screen shots of inappropriate things that are put on social media,” he explained. “For example, right after Parkland I saw, from people who I think meant well, take pictures of gates that are open every day when food is delivered.” Griffin and SCSO Captain Rick Francis say a better move is to reach out to the school itself, or use the P3 Campus app or call 800-423-TIPS. Those phone calls are anonymous.  Mobile users can click here to see the YouTube video.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates spent Wednesday on the campus of the University of Central Florida, meeting with students and staff. “Mr. and Mrs. Gates met Wednesday with faculty and students engaged in digital learning; UCF’s computer programming team; the Hack@UCF cyber defense team; students and staff from UCF’s Limbitless Solutions, which provides children with 3-D bionic limbs for free; and with many of UCF’s LEAD Scholars.” according to a statement from the UCF News & Information Office. Daniel Greenstein with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently wrote, ”At a time when the United States is on track to produce 11 million fewer postsecondary credentials by 2025 than the economy will demand, UCF is building a success story that could be a blueprint for many other universities across the nation.” 
  • The University of Central Florida ranks 22nd in the nation for its success in transferring technology into new business products and technology. The rank by  the  Milken Institutes University Technology Transfer and Commercialization Index puts the Knights in the same level as MIT, Columbia , Stanford and Carnegie Mellon University. The think-tank based the rankings on four indicators of technology transfer success: patents issued, licensing issued, licensing income and start-ups formed.  In 2016, UCF had 90 patents issued, 34 licenses and options executed and $1.8 million in license income.  The report emphasized that the economic impact of UCF’s new medical school in Lake Nona contributed to the high ranking.  Two other Universities in Florida also ranked in the top 25, the University of Florida came in third and the University of South Florida ranked 19th.  The University of Utah was first in the nation, followed by Columbia University, University of Florida,  Brigham Young University and Stanford University.  Read the entire report by clicking here. 
  • A 31-year-old man was wounded Sunday afternoon while sitting in a car with two children in the backseat, the Altamonte Springs Police Department said. Two gunmen approached the car and shot at it shortly after 6 p.m. at North State Road 434 and Calabria Drive, hitting the man in the abdomen, Altamonte Springs police Officer Evelyn Estevez said. “At some point, he came to a stop and was confronted by these two suspects,” Estevez said. “It appears the suspect was known to the victim. At this time, we have no reason to believe this was a random act of violence.” Residents who live nearby said they heard the gunfire. “When I come, the police are coming, and he's on the floor,” Roxanne Cruzado said. The gunmen remain at large, Estevez said. Investigators didn’t release a motive for the shooting, which remains under investigation. No other details were given.
  • The Associated Press contributed to this report. What would you do with $485 million?A lot of Central Florida residents are asking themselves that question. The drawing for tonight has become the 5th largest in U.S. history.  It's been more than two months since someone won the Powerball jackpot, so the prize has been gradually growing from its $40 million starting point. The biggest Powerball jackpot in history was $590.5 million in 2013, won by an 84-year-old  Zephyrills, Florida resident. Players have until 10 p.m. Wednesday night to buy their tickets.  Your odds of winning are about 1 in 175 million but that isn't stopping people like Winter Park resident Mary Lockhart from snatching up tickets.'If you don't play you don't win.'  
  • A statewide hotline set up to answer parents’ questions and complaints about this year's dismal FCAT scores had only received 147 calls as of mid-afternoon Monday, according to state education official. Website: FCAT Hotline | 866-507-1109 That stands in stark contrast to the fury parents expressed last week to WFTV over the failing grades on the revamped writing test. On Monday, WFTV reporter Bianca Castro conducted a random check of Orange County parents and could not find one who even knew the hotline existed. State education officials say the response on the hotline was so low because only a small number of test scores have been released.  The majority of parents who did call asked general questions about the writing exam, officials said. Orange County parent Carol Hale knows how important her children's FCAT scores can be. “This impacts their grades. This determines whether they go on further,’’ she said. That’s why so many parents couldn't believe what they saw when the state released the first batch of scores last week: 70 percent of students failed the writing test. The state quickly decided to lower the passing grade, which allowed more children to pass, and it even set up a hotline to address parents’ concerns. In addition to criticisms about the revamped writing test’s more rigorous standards, there has also been criticism about Pearson, the company that grades the FCAT. Pearson has been sued before over scoring errors. Florida Department of Education spokeswoman Cheryl Etters said, “The Department of Education has had outside independent reviews, of not only the scoring, but of the FCAT test itself. … That will continue again this year. They're doing exactly the same process.’’ State officials plan to run billboard ads and public service announcements to promote the hotline. Money from an education foundation will pay for that, officials said. More test results are expected to be released soon. If you would like to call the FCAT hotline, the toll free number is 866-507-1109. The hotline is open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day.
  • While the school district looks at ways to cut costs, teachers in Seminole County are looking for a raise. The teachers union is asking for a 3 percent raise. WFTV compared that number to the raises that other districts give their teachers. With a $20 million budget shortfall, Seminole County Public Schools is desperately looking for ways to cut spending, but at the same time, Seminole's Education Association is asking for a 3 percent pay raise for its teachers. State legislators recently started requiring teachers to  put 3 percent of their salaries into their pensions. 'Your average teacher who earns around $40,000 is now losing $1,200 of his or her pay in the course of a year and we feel that this is an opportunity to recoup some of this lost pay,' said Tony Gentile of Seminole Uniserv. If passed, this 3 percent raise would put the same amount of money back into teachers' pockets. 'I understand people need raises. I would like a raise too, but let's just be in line with what everyone is having to do right now,' Seminole County parent Brooke Fehr said. Within the last couple years, the districts in Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties gave their teachers a raise. All three were under 2 percent, but Seminole had the highest raise. Gentile said the teachers should get a raise because 'we continue to believe that the teachers provide at high levels for the students in this community.' And he said he believes they should be rewarded for that. As much as many parents want teachers to be rewarded, they know the budget crisis is a major problem. 'We are seeing budget cuts everywhere, and threats of cutting schools, I think we all need to tighten our belts,' Fehr said. District officials refused to comment for the story because they are in negotiations. The two parties will come to a compromise in the next few months or go to impasse.