Monday, September 29, 2008


Believed to be the most wide-ranging virtual mandate in the US, a new Florida state law requires districts to create full-time virtual schools, collaborate with other districts, or contract with providers approved by the state. Your children and grandchildren who live in Florida will be able to go to school entirely online from kindergarten through 12th grade, never setting foot in a classroom, but about 20% of the curriculum may be taught online and parents must commit to walking their children through the rest of the lessons. School superintendents must be ready by August with details from how to provide the needed technology to how to engage kindergartners attention spans as they sit at the computer for many hours in a row. While this program may eliminate the need to build more schools, the districts still must pay teachers, revamp their curriculum appropriately, and purchase new technology. Districts can choose to pay a state-approved private company to do that . Two online schools are already funded, one for students from kindergarten through eighth grade, and the Florida Virtual School offering middle and high school courses. During last year’s school year, 57,000 students took at least one Florida Virtual School course, but very few committed to an all-online experience. The new Web-based education is expected to attract many students. This year the district will start with 12 students, kindergarten through 8th grade, who are registered for online school through a state program. Students and parents will be asked for input. For accountability, virtual students must meet state standards and take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. There is concern that the virtual experience cannot be provided to students whose families cannot afford home computers and internet access. Opening school computer labs is one alternative being considered. The North American Council for Online Learning will be watching, as will the rest of us, to see how it goes. For more details see Online courses are available for adults too. Check it out!

Monday, September 15, 2008


On September 20th, the Palm Beach Zoo in Dreher Park, 301 Summit Boulevard in West Palm Beach, will be celebrating “all things spotted,” in support of jaguar conservation. One of the resident jaguars, “Izel,” will be celebrating a third birthday! Learn about these beautiful creatures from keeper talks and enrichment sessions. Games, arts and crafts will be featured throughout the day for children.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Henry Morrison Flagler’s personal rail car, built in 1886, is now on view, and you can walk through the new 8100 sq ft Pavilion at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach to see it.
The railway car has been restored to its original appearance, using records from the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian, the Delaware State Archives and the Hagley Museum and Library in Delaware. See the salon, master bedroom and bath, guest quarters and kitchen. The car is called “A Palace on Wheels.” See the fine appointments, including the oak paneling and desk. Flagler traveled by this railcar in 1912 along the Overseas Railway to Key West to celebrate completion of the FEC Railyway, a phenomenal engineering feat. This is the first public Beaux-Arts style building built in the US in 60 years. Its design is consistent with Whitehall, which was completed in 1902. The Museum’s Pavilion CafĂ© is also in the building. Flagler owned much of the land along both sides of the hundreds of miles of track, and has been called “Florida’s Godfather.” For more information, go to or call 561-655-2833.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Exhibiting more than 40 paintings in their permanent collection, we see art from 1920 to 1950 trying to define the "quintessentially American" idea, using competing forces of innovation and tradition. Artists, including social realists, regionalists, figurative modernists and early abstractionists, struggled to define a changing America during a pivotal period. Included are works by Vaclav Vytlacil and Richard Florsheim. This exhibit is on display from September 2nd, 2008 through March 8, 2009. Museum hours are Sat/Sun noon to 5 pm; Tues/Thurs/Fri 10 am to 5 pm; Wed 10 am to 9 pm; closed Mondays and holidays. For more information call 561-392-2500 or email The watercolor and pencil and paper pictured here was done in 1930-1040 by James Daugherty, Untitled, from Modernist Heroic Figures, 12" x 13".