Weekly News Brief 10/22-10/28 DeVos Announces Awards for Outstanding School Leadership | Hurricanes Deal Deep Blow to School's Finances

News Clip


Education Secretary DeVos Announces Recipients of 2018 Terrel H. Bell Awards for Outstanding School Leadership – U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the 2018 recipients of the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership. The 11 principals from the 2018 cohort of National Blue-Ribbon Schools will be honored during the National Blue-Ribbon Schools awards ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 7 in Washington, D.C.

“We know strong school leadership is a driving force behind ensuring students and teachers succeed,” said Secretary DeVos. “I’m pleased to recognize these talented Bell Award winners who are helping to lead needed transformations at the most local level. Through their leadership, vision and effort, countless students – regardless of their family income, race or language proficiency – are able to excel.”

Named for the second U. S. Secretary of Education, the Bell Award honors school leaders who are committed to education and improving outcomes for all students. The award is part of the National Blue-Ribbon Schools Program. Principals are nominated by their school communities during the final stages of the National Blue-Ribbon Schools application process.


Hurricanes Deal Deep Blow to Schools' Finances – By Denisa R. Superville, Education week

Getting back to normal after a devastating hurricane is long, arduous, and expensive for schools.

In Florida's Panhandle, education leaders have started the strenuous work of cleaning up and repairing schools ravaged by Hurricane Michael earlier this month, but they are also running into a longer-term problem: steep cost estimates that could lead to mounting piles of bills.

In North Carolina, where Hurricane Florence walloped communities across the state and some schools remain closed more than five weeks later, education officials are just now getting a clear picture of the storm's heavy hit to districts' finances and the deep emotional blow to students, teachers, and school communities. Some districts were running into roadblocks with their insurance providers—including the state education agency—over what storm damage would be covered.

New Hanover County, N.C., was one of the hardest-hit regions. There, Superintendent Tim Markley dipped into the district's estimated $15 million surplus to allocate up to $9 million to pay for schools to be cleaned up and readied for students to return. While the district has had no disagreements with its private insurer over flood coverage for four of its schools located in flood zones, its state-provided insurance has been a different story. That policy, Markley said, has a mold exclusion. An insurance adjuster told district officials that cleanup of mold—which was found in nearly all the damaged schools—may not be covered, Markley said.


SAT reclaims title of most widely used college admission test – By Nick Anderson, The Washington Post

The SAT has vaulted past the rival ACT to reclaim its long-held position as the nation’s most widely used college admission test, according to data provided Tuesday to The Washington Post.

Nearly 2 million U.S. students in the class of 2018 took the SAT during high school, compared with 1.91 million who took the ACT. A surge in delivery of the SAT on school days helped fuel the switch.

Counting international students, 2.1 million who graduated from high school this year took the SAT. That was up more than 20 percent from the previous year’s global total of 1.7 million.

The ACT had been the overall leader since 2012. But the College Board, which owns the SAT, pushed to expand its market share in recent years by revising the test and entering into deals with numerous states and school systems to give students the exam. New contracts with Colorado and Illinois, College Board data show, were instrumental in the SAT’s growth.


Margaret Spellings resigns as president of the University of North Carolina system – By Mike Kennedy, American School and University

Margaret Spellings, the former U.S. secretary of education, has announced her resignation as president of the University of North Carolina System President.

The university says in a news release that the university Board of Governors met Friday and approved a separation package for Spellings. 

Spellings has agreed to continue serving at the university through March 1, 2019. She served as education secretary from 2005 to 2009.

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that Spellings had been receiving an annual salary of $775,000 and was paid performance bonuses of $90,000 last year and $95,000 this year.

The separation package for Spellings calls for a payment of $500,000, a retirement contribution of $77,500, and $35,000 in relocation expenses. Sources close to Spellings say she wanted to return to her home state of Texas.

"The state’s commitment to higher education is what drew me here three years ago, and it’s what propelled me forward every day on the job,” Spellings said. “I will forever be honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve alongside our terrific chancellors, faculty, staff, students, and our Boards of Trustees and Board of Governors."