FCAT season is under way in Alachua County

Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 1, 2005 at 12:44 a.m.
In some ways, an entire school year has come down to this week and next.
FCAT season began Monday in Alachua County schools and lasts through March 11.
Third-graders who fail the reading exam could be held back, and high school students must pass the 10th-grade reading and math tests to receive a high school diploma.
At elementary schools, it's often hard to tell who's more on edge: the children who have to take the tests or their teachers.
The younger pupils of elementary school are still new to the jitters of the yearly FCAT season.
"The teachers want them to do their very best. There's a lot at stake," said Kathy Dixon, principal of Williams Elementary School.
"We try not to put a lot of pressure on (the kids)," she added. "Even though we know they put it on themselves."
The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test requires students in grades three through 10 to take exams in reading and math. The writing section of the test was given last month to fourth-, eighth- and 10th-graders.
Pupils are taking the highest-stakes tests - in reading and math - Monday, today and Wednesday. Fifth-, eighth-, and 11th-graders also will take a science test. Makeup testing for absent students and a national comparison exam account for the balance of the two weeks. Scores will be released at the end of the school year.

Invited to join:

An exclusive club with the ear of Gov. Jeb Bush counts among its membership four notables shaping the University of Florida.
The Council of 100, created in 1961 to advise on topics affecting the state, has invited UF board of trustees Chairman Manny Fernandez to join.
The former president of The Gartner Group, one of the nation's foremost information technology companies, leads SI Ventures, a Fort Myers-based capital investment firm. His first meeting will be in May. "They do some really great stuff from education to water - all kinds of stuff," Fernandez said.
About 1 1/2 years ago, the group recommended a controversial plan to consider transferring water from areas that have it to those that do not.
Two other trustees, David Brown, chairman of the statewide law firm of Broad & Cassel, and Carlos Alfonso, president of Alfonso Architects and the real estate investment firm, Alliant Partners, are current members.
UF President Bernie Machen is an ex-officio member. Other members include Peter Rummel, chairman and chief executive of The St. Joe. Co., John Baker, head of Florida Rock Industries, and John Fitzwater, former publisher of The Gainesville Sun and now publisher of The Lakeland Ledger.

A new benefit:

University of Florida employees are going to the dogs - and cats and birds.
The university's administration is looking into offering its employees pet insurance, a top-requested benefit.
"We had enough people ask about it that we are pricing it," UF President Bernie Machen said last week.
It would be a new product offering similar to car, dental and life insurance, said Ed Poppell, vice president of finance and administration.
The only difference is that it would cover Fido and Fluffy.
"We're exploring it," he said.

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