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Florida Bill To Bolster Mental Health Resources For Families Advances

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TALLAHASSEE  (CBSMiami/NSF) — Florida lawmakers are starting to take action on a bill that aims to connect family members of students receiving mental-health services with additional resources.

The House Early Learning & Elementary Education Subcommittee advanced the measure (HB 899) with a unanimous vote on Thursday.

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The proposal would require schools to provide parents of students receiving mental-health services with information about additional behavioral-health services available through the school or in the community.

To meet the requirement, schools could provide internet addresses for web-based directories of services. The measure also would connect people living in the same home as a student receiving mental-health assistance with behavioral-health services, if “enhancements in those individuals’ behavioral health would contribute to the improved well-being of the student.”

House bill sponsor Christine Hunchofsky, D-Parkland, said the proposal will “help both the student and their family get the care they need.”

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The measure received backing from Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina was one of 17 people who were killed during a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.

Montalto is president of the group Stand With Parkland, which advocates for safety and mental-health reforms in schools.

“This particular bill will help us by not only looking at the student but looking at the whole family,” Montalto told reporters following Thursday’s meeting. “It’s the environment that the student is in that we need to fix, and this bill will help provide information (on) services that are available.”

An identical measure (SB 1240) has been filed in the Senate.

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(©2022 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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Canes nab UAB transfer Antonio Moultrie

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The Hurricanes add much-needed depth on the defensive line with the addition of UAB transfer Antonio Moultrie, who committed to UM Monday evening. He has two years of collegiate eligibility remaining.

Moultrie finished the 2021 season with 55 tackles, eight tackles for loss and two sacks. His finale with the Blazers was especially productive, as Moultrie registered nine tackles and four tackles for loss in the Independence Bowl against No. 13 BYU.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound rising redshirt senior entered the transfer portal in late December and took an official visit to Miami on Jan. 11.

“On my visit to Miami they made it feel real fun,” Moultrie told the Miami Herald. “Everywhere we went, whoever we visited, it felt like home.”

“When we first got dropped off from breakfast at the hotel, all the coaches were standing by the dorms and began to applaud and cheer,” Moultrie continued. “They made me feel like a priority. Everything about Mario Cristobal and that staff is nice. That type of energy makes you want to play for coaches like that.”

A graduate of West Florida High School in 2016, Moultrie was ranked as the No. 61 player in Florida according to Max Preps. He then attended Northeast Mississippi Community College in 2017 before transferring to UAB.

Moultrie joins USC transfer Jacob Lichtenstein as the second defensive lineman to transfer to Miami this offseason.

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Miami International Ballet Competition Announces the Winners of its Fifth Edition

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Founding Artistic Directors of the Miami International Ballet Competition, Vladimir Issaev and Yanis Pikieris are proud to announce the awarded dancers of their fifth edition. The event was hosted at the Julius Littman Performing Arts Theater, from January 19 to January 23, 2022 and by virtue of the City of North Miami Beach, all competition rounds were free and open to the public.

MIBC awarded 10 individual participants and 2 ensembles with gold, silver and bronze medals and $10,000 in cash awards, as well as dance merchandise prizes sponsored by Russian Pointe, Capezio, Balletwear and DanceBuddy valued in more than $10,000. 

Additionally, awardees received about 80 international scholarships awards to important ballet schools in Europe, Asia and the United States, as well as scholarships to enter international ballet competitions in Asia and Europe, valued $68,000, approximately. 

For the Individual Category, the awarded dancers are as follows: Division 1 – 9 to 11 years old: Myla Goldberg, from Singapore (Cheng Ballet Academy) First Place – Gold Medal; Dana Chong, from Peru (Danzaria Escuela de Ballet) Second Place – Silver Medal; Emma Vallarino, from Panama (Ballet Academy by Maruja Herrera) Third Place – Bronze Medal. Division 2 – 12 to 14 years old: Fatima Bodden, from Panama (Conservatorio de Danzas Panamá) First Place – Silver Medal; Jacquelyn Ng, from USA (Dance Empire of Miami) Second Place – Silver Medal; Carol Navarro, from Panama (Ballet Academy by Maruja Herrera) Third Place – Silver Medal. Division 3 – 15 to 18 years old: Kyle Dyson, from USA (All American Classical Ballet School), First Place – Gold Medal; Marissa Mattingly, from USA (All American Classical Ballet School) Second Place – Gold Medal; Livia Childers, from USA (Ballet CNJ), Third Place – Silver Medal. Division 4 – 19 to 21 years old: Julieta Del Castillo, from Panama (Ballet Nacional de Panamá), First Place – Bronze Medal. For the Ensemble Category, the awarded dancers are as follows: First Division: Vladimir Issaev School of Classical Ballet, Second Division: Miami Youth Ballet

Moreover, MIBC gave the Ewa Glowacka Award to Kylie Dyson, from Division 3; The Founders Directors’ Encouragement Award to Julieta Del Castillo, from Division 4; Best Choreographer Award to Michelle Chaviano, from USA (Ballet Elite Dance Studio); and the Best Ballet School Award to Steps Ballet School, from Panama.

All dancers and ensembles were be invited to perform at The Miami International Ballet Celebration, the closing gala performance that gave the event to an end.

The Miami International Ballet Competition will soon be announcing its dates for their international editions in Colombia, Paraguay, Denmark, and Hong Kong. 

This program was sponsored by the City of North Miami Beach, The State of Florida Department of State’s Division of Arts and Culture, and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, South Dade Toyota and Kia. For more information, visit our website at www.miamiibc.org or follow us on Instagram and Facebook @miamiibc.


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Florida Senate Bill Targets School Worker Shortages

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A Senate bill that would require school districts to identify shortages of school employees such as bus drivers and food service workers and take steps to fill vacant positions was approved in its first committee hearing Tuesday.

The Senate Education Committee advanced the measure (SB 1576) in a unanimous vote on Tuesday.

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Sen. Tina Polsky, a Boca Raton Democrat who sponsored the bill, said a scarcity of school staff in Florida isn’t a new phenomenon.

“These individuals work every day to support our classroom teachers and other instructional personnel with student learning. Florida was already facing a shortage prior to COVID, but the pandemic has exacerbated it,” Polsky said.

There were 2,457 fewer education support staff working in public schools during the 2020-21 school year compared to the previous year, according to a Senate staff analysis of the bill. School support staff also includes positions such as janitors, teacher aides, secretaries, and clerical workers.

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Under the proposal, school district superintendents would be tasked with making a list of “critical employment shortages,” which the legislation defines as support-staff positions with a vacancy rate of more than 20 percent. Staffing deficiencies of paraprofessionals, or school employees who work under direct supervision of instructional staff, also would have to be documented.

Once staffing shortages are identified, the bill would require districts to “fund incentives that will help retain and recruit personnel for critical shortages or hard to staff positions or worksites in support staff positions as appropriated” by the state Legislature.

Superintendents would be required to report to the Senate president and House speaker how such funds were used.

A similar House proposal (HB 1017) is awaiting committee action.

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(©2022 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

CBSMiami.com Team

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