May 2014 Update

May 2014

Spotlight On: Lawyers’ Alliance

The Lawyers’ Alliance is a group of volunteer attorneys in Miami-Dade led by Council Board member, Roger Slade.  The lawyers have identified several activities which connect lawyers with local public schools.  Such activities include lectures at local schools on college admissions, the use of social media and various other legal issues, as well as tours of the courts led by these prominent attorneys.

Alan Fertel, a member of the Lawyers’ Alliance, who is also the Vice Chair of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, and a partner at the Miami law firm of Weiss Serota, lectured Coral Gables Senior High School student athletes on issues relating to sports law, college admissions, and career issues.  Fertel advised the students about the negative consequences which could result from the misuse of Twitter and Facebook.

Rossana Navarro, an associate from the law offices of David B. Haber, P.A. took students on a tour of the courts where the students were given the opportunity to witness the operation of the courtroom and meet an actual Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge.  Attorney Navarro explained the operation of the court system.

Diana Castiov, a commercial litigation associate from the law firm of Wargo French, visited the Law Studies class at Coral Gables Senior High School and spoke to the students about the life of a commercial litigator.  Diana explained the litigation process, how trials work, and why most commercial cases end up in a negotiated settlement. Diana also explained the importance of education in the pursuit of any career, and with respect to a career in law in particular. After Diana’s visit, the students definitely had a better idea of how successful careers are made in the legal profession.

Commissioner’s Leadership Academy…

After receiving a two year grant from the Florida Department of Education, the Council for Educational Change implemented the Commissioner's Leadership Academy (CLA). Fifty of Florida's best and most successful principals were selected to participate and provided the opportunity to expand their leadership skills and learn strategies to build upon their strengths. With the ultimate goal of increasing student academic achievement, these principals are available as a resource to build capacity in districts statewide.

Participants in the Commissioner’s Leadership Academy have three assignments.  The first is to build the capacity of their school’s Leadership Team. That way if the principal is out of the building, or is moved to another school, there is no lack of leadership. The second is to work collegially with another principal that was selected by the Superintendent of their district. Finally, each of the principals is to work with his/her Cohort (assigned as part of the academy) to design and deliver a one day educational forum around best practices of implementing the Florida Standards.

  • The four Cohorts worked with the districts to meet the specific needs of the identified attendees. Depending on the district, the audience may have been teachers, school leaders, including assistant principals, or other principals. Brian Dassler, Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality was a presenter at all four of the Forums. They took place in Tallahassee, Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale, where Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie welcomed the newly identified candidates for the principalship.
  • The final meeting of the 2013-2014 Commissioner’s Leadership Academy will take place on June 11 in Tampa. Florida’s Commissioner of Education, Pam Stewart, will be a presenter at this meeting.
  • Congratulations to CLA participant Owen Young who was recently promoted to Area Leadership Director of the Area VII District Office in Hillsborough County.

The Commissioner’s Leadership Academy is sponsored by Carnival Foundation, Florida Blue, and Publix Super Markets Charities, Inc.

PASS© and Executive PASS©
Publix Super Markets Charities and Raymond James Financial are statewide sponsors of Partnership to Advance School Success (PASS)

Village Academy is a truly unique PASS program. The school serves students as young as six months and as old as seniors in high school. It is a total choice public school located in the heart of the most impoverished area within Delray Beach. Principal Guarn Sims recently hosted a meeting which included representatives from Florida Atlantic University's School of Nursing, The United Way of Palm Beach County, Delray Chamber of Commerce, Palm Beach County Health Services, and numerous other health and community agencies. The purpose was to explore high impact health service initiatives for low income families and their children.

Principal Robert Ovalle of Campbell Park Elementary unveiled the school’s PASS (Partnership to Advance School Success) banners. The PASS banners will be displayed throughout the school showcasing the school’s partnership with PASS, Council for Educational Change, and United Way Suncoast. PASS Coordinator Sherry Clarke provided an overview of the PASS grant and Mr. Ovalle spoke of his excitement in increasing the grades of the students at the event. Mr. Ovalle mentioned that the grant provided funds for the use of iPads for all third, fourth and fifth grade students at the school. The students are taking advantage of their free time at the school to work on their rea ding and math skills. According to Mr. Ovalle students are making great strides.

The Pinellas County Schools newsroom reported, ”Business, school leaders meet to share strategies for success – Dozens of school principals, local business and community leaders, School Board members, district administrators, and representatives from the Council for Educational Change met recently to share school success stories and strategies for ongoing and future improvements at local schools.”

New Executive PASS partnerships in Miami-Dade include: Oak Grove Elementary - Principal Joyce Jones and business partner Karen Warner of MassMutual; Booker T. Washington Senior - Principal William Aristide and business partner Dr. Michelle Thomas of Miami Dade College–Wolfson Campus. Boots Richards is the Executive PASS coordinator.

Leonore Annenberg School Fund For Children Grants…

When the students at Skyway (Miami-Dade) and Sandy Lane (Pinellas) elementary schools return to classes in the fall, they will have new technology and stimulating materials to enhance their curriculum. This is thanks to the generosity of the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children which awarded each of the schools a grant of $50,000. The schools were nominated by the Council for Educational Change (CEC) which not only assisted with the writing of the grant, but will also serve as the fiscal agent and provide assistance with implementation.

Working with the CEC, its partner organization in Florida to identify school candidates, the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children awards grants each year to schools which serve student populations where at least 90% of the students qualify for the federal government’s free/reduced price lunch program. The projects must impact every student in the school and provide immediate value and usefulness. At Skyway Elementary, computers and interactive white boards will provide school-wide access to a digital reading and mathematics series. Sandy Lane Elementary will add technology, including interactive white boards and laptops for classrooms, as well as books for the media center.


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 • 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
3265 Meridian Parkway Suite 130 Weston, FL 33331 phone: 954.727.9909 fax: 954.727.0990


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