April 2014 Update

April 2014

Spotlight On Partnership: Raymond James Financial & Mt. Vernon Elementary
The Executive PASS© experience has provided the staff and students at Mt. Vernon Elementary, with numerous opportunities that has benefitted the entire school. One of the most meaningful outcomes of working with Ron Diner and the employees of Raymond James Financial were the mentors and tutors that supported many of the students. Thirty six students had mentors from Raymond James. These students and mentors met weekly for 30 minutes during lunch. The bonds formed between the mentors and mentees were incredible. These students anticipate the arrival of their mentors and have so much to share about their school “happenings”. The mentors served as a positive incentive for students and created a motivation for them to strive for success in school. In addition to academic gains, many of these children have had an increase in their social and emotional well-being as a result of this opportunity. 

The continued support is evident in the donation of 54 computers to the school. Raymond James Finanical, in conjunction with Pinellas County Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego, provided these in an effort to enhance technology. The computers have enabled the school to create a second computer lab to support technology-based programs in the primary grades. This computer lab is also used to support the students in the gifted program as they complete research projects and other activities.

The Executive PASS experience has supported the administrative team at Mt. Vernon in their attempts to reach out to the school’s homeless and foster care populations. The funds and contacts shared through the Raymond James partnership and the Title I budget have allowed Mt. Vernon to schedule a Family Night at the Salvation Army Center. This will allow these families to attend a Family Night at a location closer to their residence and benefit from the trainings, materials, and networking that Family Nights offer. Following the training, parents and students will receive a Readers Toolkit, a Reader Theater book and some grade level appropriate books for use at home. In addition, dinner will be served to the families.

Ron Diner and Raymond James have provided teacher and student incentives, three classroom volunteers to support teachers in areas relating to their specialized skills, continuous collaboration with the school’s Leadership Team to generate ideas for continued academic and social growth of the students, and a successful ongoing relationship between an established business and a school with the goal of student success at the forefront.


  • Congratulations to all three Middleton High School Robotic teams for their outstanding performance at the South Super-Regional and all winning a bid to the First Tech Challenge (FTC) World Championships in St. Louis! There are currently 3,000 FTC teams worldwide - only 128 will qualify for the World Championship. The Teams - Maelstrom, Masquerade, and Minotaur - competed in San Antonio, at the new South Super-Regional Championship. A total of 72 teams competed at this event - all earning a bid to this Super-Regional by either winning their State Championship or receiving a prestigious Judges Award. Ten of the 72 teams were from Florida, and three of those ten were from Middleton High in Tampa. This will be the fourth consecutive year that a Middleton FTC Team attends the World Championship.

  • James F. Griffin, II was recently recognized by the Jim Moran Foundation as an African American Achiever for 2014. He is a member of the Council for Educational Change’s Steering Committee for the Commissioner’s Leadership Academy. He is an outstanding member who participates in all of the events.
  • Coral Gables High Cavalier Chorus attended District Solo/Ensemble Vocal Evaluations where chorus students earned Superiors and Excellent ratings for their work:

1. Katerina Rivero - Superior Solo

2. Jorge Diaz - Excellent Solo

3. DIVISI Excellent Ensemble

  • The Coral Gables Senior High School Jazz band received Straight “Excellents” for their performance, and 17 students earned a Superior Rating for their performances in solo instruments. They will be going on to an Evaluation at the State level. Cavalier Singers and Women's Ensemble earned Superior ratings for their sight reading. Cavalier Singers earned a split superior. Women's Ensemble earned a straight Superior rating and will be going on to State Evaluation.

PASS© and Executive PASS©...;

  • Students at Campbell Park Elementary are delighted to be using the new iPads purchased with PASS funds. Campbell Park Elementary is one of two PASS schools in Pinellas.
  • Robert Ovalle, Principal and Emery Ivery, Tampa Area President, United Way Suncoast, and PASS coach Valerie White have formed a strong PASS team who welcome stakeholders to engage in Campbell Park Elementary improvement initiatives. They celebrated their partnership with a PASS Banner Launch event. Along with the banner presentation, guests received a school data update from Mr. Ovalle. Area Superintendent Pat Wright shared a warm district welcome.
  • New Executive PASS partnerships include: Miami Jackson Senior, Principal Carlos Rios and business partner Dr. Victor Vazquez-Hernandez of Miami Dade College – Wolfson Campus; Silver Bluff Elementary, Principal Maria Mason, and business partner Sean Austin of John Hancock Financial Network; Lenora B. Smith Elementary, Principal Dr. Contessa Bryant, and business partner Pamela Barnett of The Beautiful Gate, Inc.; Brownsville Middle, Principal Dr. Edward Robinson, and business partner Dr. Maria Lovett of Florida International University.
  • Students in the Fundamental S.W.A.S. (school within a school) program at Gibbs High School participated in a program sponsored by United Healthcare, a corporate partner with Gibbs High School through the Executive PASS Partnership program with Pinellas County Schools. The celebration included a presentation of S.W.A.S. polo shirts to the students and a meet and greet with representatives from United Healthcare. Nikki Capehart-Gaskin from the Mayor’s office, a Gibbs alumnus, spoke to the students. Executive PASS Coach Debbie Ramker and Lori Matway, Associate Superintendent of Student and Community Support in Pinellas attended also.
  • Richard Russ, Executive PASS partner at Frederick Douglass Elementary, introduced Principal Yolanda Ellis to Marilyn Perlyn, author of "The Biggest and Brightest Light". Ms. Perlyn later developed the OCHO (Opportunities for Children to Help Others) Project: Read for a Need. This project is an initiative for students to read books, complete coordinating activities, earn books to begin their very own library at home, and learn important character traits along the way. Ms. Perlyn donated $1,000 for purchase of free books to encourage students to read and to earn books of their own. NFL kicker Dan Carpenter also participated.
  • The Executive PASS partnership between Melrose Elementary in Pinellas and Nita Smith of the Boys and Girls Club was recognized in the St. Petersburg Times. In addition to providing uniforms for students and incentives, students are provided with scholarships to attend after school programs. For students on the Principal’s List, she provided a luncheon, as well as bicycles to be used as prizes.


A printable version of the Update is available for download below.

Council for Educational Change Board....Florida's Educational Think Tank
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Founder, Leonard Miller
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Edward W. Easton* T. Willard Fair* • Maribel Ferrer • Edward T. Foote, II* • Karen Fryd • Dr. Robert W. Graham, III • Bill Habermeyer*
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Richard Manners Gene E. Marshall • Beth G. Martinez* • Jeffrey Miller • Sue Miller • Robert A. Morris Jr.* • Robert Moss
Anabel I. Nemrow • Beau Parrillo Fred Pezeshkan • Andrew S. Rosen • Peter S. Rummell* • Steven J. Saiontz • Michael Scheck*
Roger Slade • Elliott Stern*Steven J. Uhlfelder Keith T. Ward • Steven Wasserman • Joe G. Weaver • Lynne Wines
Dr. Paul Zimmerman • Robert A. Zinn
*Life Trustees
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APR 2014 Update.pdf613.89 KB