March 2015 Update

March 2015


The Council for Educational Change recently honored former Miami Heat All Star Center Alonzo Mourning with its Inaugural Leadership in Education Award for his contribution to education. Business executives attended the function to support the Council and pay tribute to Mr. Mourning. In his acceptance speech, Mourning explained that public schools are in dire need of resources and that simply relying upon state funds is not enough. Mourning encouraged those in attendance to develop business partnerships with public schools and explained that “together we can make a difference.” Highlights of the event can be found here.

Dillard High School Principal, Casandra Robinson, has been named one of Florida’s top performing principals by Florida TaxWatch Center for Educational Performance & Accountability and the Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University. Recognition is based on analysis of student achievement gains in reading and mathematics in high-risk public schools. Ms. Robinson is participating in this year’s class of the Commissioner’s Leadership Academy Institutes and was also named one of the 2014 Top Black Educators in South Florida.

Former Council for Educational Change board Chair, Gene Marshall, will join the governing board of Tampa General Hospital in March. He is a founding board member and vice chairman of NorthStar Bank in Tampa, and a consultant with Success Sciences Inc.

Commissioner’s Leadership Academy (CLA) Institutes…

The participants in the CLA Institutes met in Orlando on January 14th. The workshop was conducted by the staff of the Center for Educational Leadership at the University of Washington. The intent of the Institutes is to build capacity of the highest performing principals in the state. The workshops are followed up by “Walk Throughs”, where principals visit actual classrooms and hone their skill in providing feedback to teachers with the intent of improving their performance. Each Cohort will participate in five “Walk Through” sessions. 

PASS© - Partnership to Advance School Success…

The Robotics Program at Carver Middle in Palm Beach enables students to develop skills covering a wide range of academic disciplines. Students design and create mobile robots and path plans using geometry and multiple sensor feedback. Students interpret sensor feedback, calculate threshold values, and understand condition statements. The focus of the class is a series of discussions and projects designed to familiarize students with the planning and development for space exploration. Topics covered include: human biology, the environment, factors needed to sustain life, energy systems, design briefs, using the scientific method, and robotics. Each year the program participates in the First LEGO League (FLL) competition which encompasses a different theme and mission for the students to accomplish.

Executive PASS© - New South Florida Partnerships…

New Executive PASS partnerships in Miami-Dade include:

  • Carol City Senior – Principal Jay Dunn and business partner Jamie Bryant of Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets;
  • Homestead Middle – Principal Keith Anderson and business partner Javid Mortazavi of MassMutual;
  • Dr. Robert B. Ingram Elementary – Principal Dr. Cynthia Clay and business partner Jasmine Glover of First Investors Corp.;
  • Paul L. Dunbar K-8 Center – Principal Ann Lewis and business partner Dr. Donnie Hale of Florida International University, The Education Effect;
  • Holmes Elementary – Principal Dr. Yvonne Perry and business partner Dr. Nathaniel Lester of Invest In Our Children, Inc.;
  • Ponce de Leon Middle – Principal Martha Chang and business partner Remy Dou of MassMutual.

Executive PASS – Duval...

This is the first year that Duval County is participating in the Council’s Executive PASS program. The partners came together February 19th at the John E. Ford PreK-8 School for a networking meeting with a focus on leadership to influence success. Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti shared opening remarks and commended the business partners and principals for working together to support student achievement. The business partners and principals participated in a “Day in the Life of a Principal” activity, shared many stellar Executive PASS activities underway at their schools, and worked together sharing expertise, ideas and next steps. Special thanks to John E. Ford Principal Paula Renfro for hosting this event, and Region Superintendent Iranetta Wright.

Carter G. Woodson Elementary School – Saturday school is the number one priority. The school began its Saturday school on January 24th and will continue until testing begins. The school hosted a Doughnuts for Dads Day on Friday, February 13th.

Woodson Elementary is dealing with a huge overcrowding issue. The principal has invited stakeholders to do a walk through to see firsthand the problems the school is facing. Business partners – Muffet Corse, Helen Lane, and Joannie & Russell Newton – met with the principal and vice principal in October to discuss issues facing the school. The school is planning a Shakespeare presentation in late spring.

William M. Raines High School – next steps leading to implementation of identified goals over the next five months:

  • Multiple meetings were held with Principal Vincent Hall prior to meeting with Executive PASS Partner Nathaniel Ford, CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) emphasizing School Improvement and next steps.
  • Mr. Ford expressed much interest and support of the draft plan presented, and directed Mrs. Gibbs, Vice President of External Affairs, to pull JTA staff together to develop an action plan to address identified School Goals/Strategies.
  • Principal Hall will provide a list of planned events and activities, potentially becoming a pilot for JTA DIGITAL Bus Information System to market the school within the community.
  • Implementation efforts about the partnership with metrics on a monthly basis; encourage Executive PASS Partner Ford to attend school meetings and special events.

Executive PASS – Pinellas…

Ponce de Leon Elementary has reported the following partnership activities with the City of Largo:

  1. Beautification Day – Over 50 parents, staff, students, and City of Largo employees came together at the school one Saturday morning to plant over 23 trees and over 200 plants. They spread mulch to complete the landscaping beautification project.
  2. English Language Tutoring – The City of Largo’s English Language Learning Library is working with parents to learn English. They provide a six-month program where tutors meet one on one with parents weekly.
  3. Mentors – The City of Largo has provided 25 mentors who meet weekly with students currently in either fourth of fifth grade. These students are struggling academically and benefit from having an adult who can mentor them.
  4. End of Year Celebration – An evening event will be held at the end of May to celebrate the year-long partnership. Students, staff, and families will be invited for an “open house” time at the Rec Center – free of charge!

Belleair Elementary School, Nielsen, and the Pinellas County ESOL Department collaborated to bring SIOP strategies to Belleair students. The professional development was held at Nielsen’s company headquarters. The collaborative effort included a full day of modeled engaging strategies that will enrich the learning of the school’s ESOL students. The unique setting allowed staff members to embrace new knowledge that will only produce greater learning within the classroom setting.

During the school’s Saturday Science Club, Nielsen promotes healthy choice through an interactive garden. The Saturday Scientists were provided with, and planted, a variety of plants, including cabbage, strawberries, tomatoes, and herbs. They write their observations in their science journals, and predict what the plants will do next.

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

Council for Educational Change Board....Florida's Educational Think Tank
Charles B. Blumenkamp, Chair • Dr. Elaine Liftin, President and Executive Director
Founder, Leonard Miller
Andrew L. Ansin* • Philip F. Blumberg • Hugh M. Brown* • Columba Bush* • Charles E. Cobb Jr.* • Irv Cohen
Scott A. Curtis* • Edward W. Easton* • T. Willard Fair* • Maribel Ferrer • Edward T. Foote, II* • Karen Fryd
Dr. Robert W. Graham, III • Bill Habermeyer* • Steven T. Halverson* • Elsie Sterling Howard • Cyrus M. Jollivette
David S. Kenin Esq* • Jonathan I. Kislak* • Daniel W. Mahurin* • Richard Manners • Gene E. Marshall • Beth G. Martinez*
Jeffrey Miller • Sue Miller • Robert A. Morris Jr.* • Robert Moss • Anabel I. Nemrow • Arthur Noriega V • 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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