Jessica Bakeman

Reporter

Jessica Bakeman reports on K-12 and higher education for WLRN, South Florida's NPR affiliate. A seasoned investigative journalist, Jessica has also covered education policymaking and politics in three state capitals: Tallahassee, Fla.; Albany, N.Y.; and Jackson, Miss.

She is the reporter and producer behind WLRN's 2019 audio documentary and investigative series, "Chartered: Florida's First Private Takeover Of A Public School System." She also played a leading role in WLRN's coverage of the aftermath of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In 2019, Jessica won a Salute to Excellence award from the National Association of Black Journalists and a Journalism Award of Excellence from the American College of Emergency Physicians. She was also recognized with the national Education Writers Association's 2018 award for education beat reporting in a small newsroom.

Previously, Jessica helped establish POLITICO's national network of state capital coverage, serving as an original member of the company's bureaus in both Albany and Tallahassee. Jessica also covered New York state politics for The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Jessica is the past president of the Capitol Press Club of Florida, a nonprofit organization that raises money for college scholarships benefiting journalism students. Also, she twice chaired a planning committee for the New York State Legislative Correspondents Association's annual political satire show, the oldest of its kind in the country.

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.

Ways to Connect

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Some Florida dentists, hygienists, students and advocates are promoting a legislative proposal to create a new tier of providers who could offer routine procedures to people who lack access to oral health care.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Teachers union members rallied outside the Sunrise Civic Center Friday as part of a statewide bus tour advocating for more education funding.

The Broward County stop was part of the five-week tour called "Fund Our Future." The Florida Education Association is asking for an investment of $2.4 billion dollars in public education: $1 billion to give teachers and other school employees a 10 percent raise and the rest for arts programs, classroom equipment and infrastructure upgrades.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

The board of an A-rated charter high school in Hialeah Gardens voted unanimously Tuesday to shut down by the end of the month.

lbaorg.com

A Hialeah Gardens charter high school hailed by the likes of Gov. Ron DeSantis, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush is slated to close by the end of the month, and students are preparing to transfer to a nearby campus affiliated with a politically connected for-profit education company.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Last year, the University of Florida announced it would spend $17 million trying to solve some of society's biggest problems through new approaches. One of the winning "moonshot" proposals aims to put a scientist in every Florida school — at least for a visit once a year.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

At Tradewinds Middle School in Greenacres, the spindly leaves of endangered native Florida orchids peek out from where the baby plants are carefully nestled in tree branches.

Cucumbers, strawberries and herbs grow out of halved plastic soda bottles hanging along a fence. The school garden is also home to a special peach tree formulated by the University of Florida to flourish in hot climates.

Sixth, seventh and eighth graders grew most of the plants in their classrooms before transferring them outside on the campus, collecting and analyzing data along the way.

Change.org

On a school night, Nicolas Ayala's curfew is usually 9:30 or 10 p.m.

"But on Halloween, it's different," he said.

Ayala, 17, is a junior at Ronald Reagan Senior High School in Doral. On Oct. 31, he usually stays out until 1 or 2 a.m., trick-or-treating and hanging out with his friends.

When Halloween falls during the week, that means a tough next day at school.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN NEWS

This story was last updated on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 11:26 a.m

Miami-Dade County Public Schools students performed at the same level or better than their peers statewide on federal standardized math and English tests, according to results released Wednesday.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Full-time faculty members at the public college in the Florida Keys plan to unionize, a move that follows a statewide trend.

More than 70 percent of the roughly 30 full-time professors at the College of the Florida Keys submitted cards to the Florida Public Employee Relations Commission on Thursday announcing their intention to form a union, according to organizers. The school recently changed its name from Florida Keys Community College.

Provided to the Miami Herald

Federal health officials visited Miami this week to learn more about why HIV infection rates are higher in South Florida and Puerto Rico than most of the rest of the country and what they can do to change that.

University of Florida

More than 30 percent of undergraduate women at the University of Florida have experienced nonconsensual sexual contact since enrolling at the school, a new survey found.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

A recently published Florida International University study found that weighted vests and stability balls are not effective in helping elementary-aged children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder focus in class, although teachers and school-based occupational therapists commonly use these tools.

Ricardo Montalvan / Miami Herald

A team of researchers at Florida International University and two other colleges is hoping to find out what barriers are keeping Latino transgender people from getting screened for breast and cervical cancer and better educate that population about their risks of developing the diseases.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

In February, groups of educators from five school districts throughout the state will be visiting classrooms in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, in hopes of learning how to improve teaching throughout Florida.

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