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First day of FCAT begins in schools

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With first day of FCAT testing underway,  Alachua County schools have a lot riding on the standardized test scores.

Public schools that consecutively recieve low grades could be required to redistribute students to other schools or close and reopen as a charter school.

In response to last year’s low scores, several Alachua County schools extended the school day by an hour for more FCAT preparations.

Diana Lagotic,  director of elementary curriculum at Alachua County Public Schools,  said the longer school days was a state funded decision. Schools found out about the extended time in middle of the summer last year, Lagotic said.

For the lower scoring schools, Lagotic said that the state brings in reading, math, science and data experts to help with teaching strategies.

“We want all of our schools to be competitive with the state,” she said.  “We want all of our children to be successful.”

Lagotic said the experts are an extra set of hands who help instructors evaluate students’ needs and give suggestions on how to address them.

“Anytime you can get additional experts it is going to help the teachers grow, and it’s going to help the students,” she said.

Lagotic said she doesn’t know if the extra hour a day will happen again for the next FCAT.

“We really probably won’t know anything until after the grades come out and we see what state plans to do,” she said.

Alexa Volland wrote this story online.

About Christina DeVarona

Christina is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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Buchholz High students get picked up by their parents from the Boys and Girls Club, which is near the school. The students were evacuated to the club following a bomb threat this morning. (Leah Marshall/WUFT News)

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Students have been evacuated to the Boys and Girls Club down the street. Parents may pick up their children from the club if they want to, but this is optional.