Jessica Bakeman

Jessica Bakeman reports on K-12 and higher education for WLRN, south Florida's NPR affiliate. While new to Miami and public radio, Jessica is a seasoned journalist who has covered education policymaking and politics in three state capitals: Jackson, Miss.; Albany, N.Y.; and, most recently, Tallahassee.

Jessica first moved to the Sunshine State in 2015 to help launch POLITICO Florida as part of the company’s national expansion. She is the immediate past president of the Capitol Press Club of Florida, a nonprofit organization that raises money for college scholarships benefiting journalism students.

Jessica was an original member of POLITICO New York’s Albany bureau. Also in the Empire State, Jessica covered politics for The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. As part of Gannett’s three-person Albany bureau, she won the New York Publishers Association award for distinguished state government coverage in 2013 and 2014. Jessica twice chaired a planning committee for the Albany press corps’ annual political satire show, the oldest of its kind in the country.

She started her career at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson. There she won the Louisiana/Mississippi Associated Press Managing Editors’ 2013 first place award for continuing coverage of former Gov. Haley Barbour’s decision to pardon more than 200 felons as he left office.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and English literature from SUNY Plattsburgh, a public liberal arts college in northeastern New York. She (proudly) hails from Rochester, N.Y.

The speaker of the Florida House is stepping in to help charter school teachers get a share of the revenue from Miami-Dade County’s recently approved property-tax increase.

Republican House Speaker Jose Oliva, of Miami, accused the leaders of Miami-Dade County Public Schools of “deception,” writing in a letter Friday that “an illusion was created that the additional taxes would be used to benefit all schools.”

DISCLOSURE: The author and editors of this article are employees of South Florida Public Media, the nonprofit that operates WLRN News.

The Miami-Dade County school board expects to consider by June a new plan for the management of the WLRN public radio and television stations, and the district’s superintendent is likely to recommend stronger oversight from an existing community advisory board or a newly created nonprofit.

More than a year after the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Broward County school board voted unanimously to adopt two new emergency policies that state investigators and parents of Parkland victims argue could have saved lives had they been in place sooner.

The board on Wednesday approved a policy clarifying that all staff members are responsible for initiating "code red" lockdowns if they believe there is a threat to students' safety.

A year after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Robert Runcie says he wants to make Broward County Public Schools the safest in the nation.

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said he wants schools in his county to be the safest in the nation.

His pledge comes one year after 17 students and staff members were murdered, and another 17 were injured, during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

In the year since their daughters were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14, 2018, Lori Alhadeff and Ryan Petty have taken on public roles.

Alyssa Alhadeff and Alaina Petty were both 14-year-old freshmen, and were among the 17 people killed inside Building 12 at the school.

Alhadeff is now an elected member of the Broward County school board. Petty serves on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. They are focused on honoring their daughters by improving school safety and holding those in power accountable. 

When Annabel Claprood walks into a room, the first thing she does is look for a place to hide.

The 17-year-old has practiced moving quickly from the driver’s seat of her car to the back, so she can’t be easily seen through the windows.

Her mother, Elyse Claprood, uses her cell phone to closely track her daughter’s location, feeling relief only when she confirms, yes, Annabel is at home. She’s at school. At the horse barn where she volunteers.

About a dozen parents with signs and red banners gathered in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Monday evening to protest the leadership of Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.


The protest took place while Runcie was holding a private meeting with parents of 10th-grade students at Stoneman Douglas. 

Education experts at the University of Florida are tackling an urgent question: How can schools be made safer without scaring or psychologically hurting students?

The Palm Beach County school district is encouraging students to do one act of kindness every day leading up to the first anniversary of the school shooting in nearby Parkland.

It was teaching that led Tonya Lightbourne to playwriting.

Several years ago, her group of gifted third, fourth and fifth graders at Brentwood Elementary School in Miami Gardens needed an act for a holiday show. They suggested performing "How The Grinch Stole Christmas!" or "A Christmas Carol." So she combined the stories, recasting the Grinch as an orphan girl — Grinchetta — who is visited by ghosts of the past, present and future.

Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie abruptly canceled a meeting with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School parents over concerns that the event might draw protesters.

The forum — organized by Stoneman Douglas parent groups and billed as a question-and-answer session with Runcie and other district leaders — was planned for Thursday night in the Parkland school's auditorium.

This week's Florida Board of Education meeting might be the first and last for Andrew Pollack, the father of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victim.

On Friday, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected his predecessor's decision to appoint Pollack to the board that oversees schools and community colleges statewide. He also rescinded dozens of other selections announced by then-Gov. Rick Scott during his final days in office.

Broward County schools' superintendent Robert Runcie outlined plans on Thursday to quickly implement some of the key safety recommendations from the state commission tasked with investigating the Parkland shooting, amid criticism from the panel's members, victims' families, and even the new Republican governor.

The newest member of the powerful state board that regulates education in Florida is singularly focused on ousting the superintendent of the state's second-largest school district.

A new federal lawsuit accuses the Miami-Dade County school district of punishing a student for reporting alleged sexual assaults.

The National Women's Law Center filed the lawsuit Tuesday in a federal court in Miami on behalf of its client, identified as Jane Doe. The lawsuit says Jane was a 14-year-old student at Miami Carol City Senior High School in 2017 when she was allegedly sexually assaulted three times by older male peers in school bathrooms.

 

The Broward County school board  approved on Tuesday a new agreement that gives the sheriff's office access to school security cameras during emergencies.

It's a move that members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission have argued is long overdue. Delays and confusion over the camera system at Stoneman Douglas slowed down the police response to last year's deadly shooting there.

The Miami-Dade County school board on Monday approved new contracts that increase teacher pay and allow for the hiring of hundreds of new police officers, both efforts funded by the local property-tax increase voters approved in November.

Survivors of the Parkland high school shooting won't have to go to class on the first anniversary of the shooting that took 17 lives.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students will have the option to report to campus on Feb. 14 for a half-day of community service activities. If students choose not to come to school, they're being encouraged to plan their own community service projects off campus.

Nearly three-quarters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender middle and high school students in Florida have been verbally harassed at school, and some have experienced physical harassment and assault, according to a biennial national survey that includes data from each state.

Seventy-four percent of LGBTQ students in Florida middle and high schools said they were verbally harassed over their sexual orientation in the last year, GLSEN found in its most recent survey, released on Wednesday.

The father of a Parkland shooting victim who has been a high-profile conservative advocate for school safety has been tapped for the board that governs all K-12 schools and community colleges in Florida.

Outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Scott announced his pick of Andrew Pollack — whose daughter, Meadow, died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last February — for a seat on the state Board of Education. Pollack campaigned for Scott during his successful bid for U.S. Senate.

Camp Shine — a free arts therapy program that began over the summer for survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting — was back in session in Parkland last week.

A few South Florida Democrats will have new leadership positions in the state Legislature when session starts in March.

Rep. Kionne McGhee, a Democrat from south Miami-Dade County and the incoming minority leader in the Florida House, created four new deputy positions. Three of them represent South Florida.

Each new deputy minority leader will oversee a group of House members; the Democratic caucus of 47 members is divided roughly along geographic lines. There are a total of 120 members in the House.

Videos and photos of police officers responding to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 show them saving at least two victims by applying tourniquets to gunshot wounds on their legs.

Now, Julie Osheroff is learning how to do that. And she's not a cop — she's a teacher.

Osheroff recently trained with about 85 of her colleagues in how to be a first responder.

The Broward County school district and sheriff's office expect to have an agreement by early next year that would allow law enforcement officers access to live surveillance footage in schools in case of an emergency.

The commission that's directing the Florida Legislature's response to the Parkland shooting will recommend that public school teachers be allowed to be armed.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission voted 13-1 on Wednesday evening to suggest that lawmakers expand a state law that now allows some school staff to carry guns but excludes people who are primarily classroom teachers.

The state House member who represents the communities devastated by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting is leaving his seat for a position in the incoming governor’s administration — opening a spot in the Legislature that could be filled by one of the parents who lost a child in the tragedy.

DISCLOSURE: The author and editors of this article are employees of South Florida Public Media, the nonprofit that operates WLRN News.

The Miami-Dade County school board will soon take action that could determine the future of WLRN, South Florida's public radio and television stations, considering several options that include the unlikely but possible move of selling its broadcast license.

A lobbying group that represents charter schools in Florida wants its members' teachers in Miami-Dade County to get pay raises with some of the money that will be generated from a new tax increase approved by voters last month.

A Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School administrator who predicted Nikolas Cruz might become a school shooter — and joked with others that the troubled student might target him specifically — is among the latest people to face consequences for missteps in handling the Feb. 14 shooting there.

Stoneman Douglas Assistant Principal Jeff Morford and three other staff members will be reassigned, Broward County Public Schools announced Monday.

Pages