Education

News

Flooding costs schools $2 million

The epic April 29 rainstorm is going to cost the Escambia County School District about $2 million in damage to buildings and facilities, said Superintendent Malcolm Thomas. Holm Elementary School on Lanier Drive got the worst of it; 20 inches of water in the two main buildings. Worse, the water had contaminants in it from a filling station near there. “We’re still in restoration and demolition mode there,” Thomas says. “Then will come construction.” Holm students will be in a wing of Workman Middle School for the last 17 days of the school year. “We took over eight classrooms and every available space there was and turned it into multiple classrooms — the cafeteria, the music room, the art room,” Thomas says. It’s not ideal, but it will do until the end of the school year. “Those parents needed those children to go back to school so they could go back to work,” Thomas says. About six or seven other schools had damage in at least two or three classrooms, but as long as the water stayed under 4 inches, Thomas says, “you can usually dry it out. You may have to replace carpet.” This article originally appeared on Progress+Promise. Read full story

Education

Investing in students with promise

Sally is the director of the Take Stock in Children mentoring program for the Escambia County Schools Foundation. Take Stock is a statewide program that matches mentors with students from poor families who apply to the program. Students get a mentor with whom they meet at least once a week to talk, work through problems in school, whatever they need. Students who complete the program by keeping at least a 2.5 GPA, meeting citizenship and attendance requirements, and staying away from crime and drugs, get an $8,400 college scholarship. The Florida Prepaid Foundation matches the donations dollar for dollar. Watch our interview to hear from Sally about the program and how it aims to make a difference. Read full story

News

Mentors make a difference

On this edition of Progress + Promise, we look at the role mentoring can play in the life of a young person. Pensacolians have always given to others when asked. A recent town hall meeting about the struggles of Warrington Middle School included call to the parents and the community to take a larger role in helping the students there get ahead. While the needs are great at Warrington, students across Escambia County are in line waiting for the help of a mentor. That’s why we wanted to highlight a couple of the great programs in our community that aim to pair young people with a mentor to give them the guidance to improve their lives. With us today will be Sally Lee and Paula Shell. Sally runs the Take Stock in Children mentoring program, which gives qualified students the chance to earn a college scholarship by keeping their grades up and keeping out of trouble. Paula is the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, which this year is celebrating 25 years of pairing “bigs” and “littles” together to give young people a mentor they need. Read full story

News

Mentoring program teaches more than academic success

Washington High School Senior Anna Steffanini is thrilled! She just got accepted to the University of Florida. Read full story

News

Students succeed thanks to mentoring, scholarships

Nichole Brown is living her dream, teaching these Exceptional Education Students at Jim Allen Elementary in Cantonment. The four-year-olds need special attention to overcome developmental disabilities. Read full story

Education

Washington Singers lead off big week

The Washington Singers perform the national anthem at the Pensacola Blue Wahoos game on April 28. In conjunction with this performance, the choir is selling tickets to the game for $10 to raise money for the choral program. If you would like to purchase a ticket, contact Mrs. Jamie D. Broxson, Choral Director, Piano & Music Theory Instructor/Sr. High Choral Directors District Team Leader, 475-5257 extension 266. Elsewhere in Escambia County schools: Ø    Montclair Elementary School will host a Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m. on April 30 in the school’s media center.  Faculty and staff will provide breakfast to thank the many volunteers that have helped at Montclair Elementary during this school year.  For additional information, please contact the school, 595-6969. Ø    Lincoln Park Primary School will be hosting an exciting “STEM” themed Family Literacy Night beginning at 5:00 p.m. on May 1. Students, parents and community members will be afforded opportunities to engage in “hands-on, mind-on” activities.  These activities will integrate science, technology, engineering and math in a fun and exciting learning environment.  For additional information, please contact the school, 494-5620. On May 2: Ø    Montclair Elementary School will have Field Day for all kindergarten through fifth grade students.  Students will have the opportunity to compete in a variety of team sports.  For additional information, please contact the school, 595-6969. Ø    Gulf Power’s Safety City will present “Electrical Safety World” to all Montclair fourth graders, beginning at 9 a.m. This program will include videos, handouts, and a live-wire demonstration showing what happens when a person, vehicle, tree, or other item comes in contact with a power line.  For additional information, please contact the school, 595-6969. Ø    Scenic Heights Elementary School will have their Annual Spring Carnival from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Pre-sale tickets are on sale now, 5 tickets for $1.  On the day of the Carnival, tickets will go on sale, 4 tickets for $1. There will be food, prize drawings, local entertainment, inflatables, a dunking booth and much more.  This event is being sponsored by the school’s PTA.  For additional information, please contact the school, 494-5635. Ø    N.B. Cook Elementary School third graders will perform the musical “You’ve Gotta Have Heart” in the school’s auditorium at8.45 a.m.  This musical play is related to pursuing a healthy lifestyle.  For additional information, please contact the school, 595-6826. Ø   Hellen Caro Elementary School will host a May Day Celebration at 9:00 a.m.  For additional information, please contact the school, 492-0531. Read full story

Education

Town Hall follow-ups: Schools

Tuesday’s District 3 town hall meeting at Brownsville Assembly of God church was a packed house. Here are answers to questions that didn't get answered. Read full story

Education

Town hall fact check: Education

Malcolm Thomas, superintendent of Escambia schools, talked a lot about education Tuesday at the District 3 Town Hall Meeting. When a question was raised about what young people can do to fix their lives after getting in trouble or dropping out of school, Thomas stressed the importance of high school graduation. He told a story about a 16-year-old student who dropped out so he could get more hours on his job. Thomas pointed out that parents can play a role in preventing their children from dropping out because a students needs parental permission to quit school. “In the state of Florida you cannot drop out of school if you’re under the age of 18 unless a parent or guardian signs the form,” Thomas said. FACT CHECK: True, according Florida Statute 1003.21(1)(c)  “When a student reaches 16 years of age he/she is no longer required to attend school if he/she files the required formal declaration of intent to terminate school enrollment with the school district and the declaration is signed by a parent. The declaration must acknowledge that leaving school will likely reduce the student’s earning potential. The school district is required to notify the child’s parent or legal guardian that the student has filed a declaration of intent to leave school.” Read full story

Education

Lending a student vet a hand

PRESS RELEASE – Elizabeth Jones recently became the first student veteran at the University of West Florida to receive a scholarship through the Student Veterans of America. Jones was selected for the Rockwell Collins-Student Veterans of America Wounded Veteran Scholarship, totaling $5,000. The scholarship is awarded to five wounded student veterans each year to support them as they pursue a degree in higher education. “I was so excited when I heard I had been chosen to receive this scholarship,” said Jones, a senior electrical engineering major. “It is going to make it a lot easier and less stressful financially on my family as I continue my education at UWF.” Jones served 23 months in the Marine Corps before being medically discharged under honorable conditions at the rank of corporal. She said she hopes to use her engineering degree to make it easier for residential and commercial buildings to utilize efficient power and energy renewable resources. Jones said her experience at UWF has inspired her to broaden her future career goals. “Higher education has changed how I look at what I’m capable of and the opportunities I could pursue,” Jones said. “The faculty has impacted what I want to do with my career, and with their support, as well as my involvement with the math association on campus, I have been encouraged to pursue not only my engineering degree, but also my professional engineer’s license.” Jones credits the UWF Military and Veterans Resource Center, as well as the Student Disability Resource Center, for assisting her throughout her college career. “The MVRC has been instrumental in helping me transition to a four-year university, from registration to applying for Veteran Affairs benefits,” she said. “They were more than willing to stay open late just to help me determine my senior status as I was applying for this scholarship. The Student Disability Resource Center also encouraged me to apply for scholarships, and without their support and motivation, I wouldn’t have pursued this opportunity. They are excellent at letting disabled students know they can succeed.” UWF has an extensive history of supporting veterans as they pursue higher education, showcased by its recognition as a top military-friendly school by both Military Advanced Education magazine and G.I. Jobs magazine consecutively since 2008. The MVRC at UWF serves as a resource center to assist military and veteran students as they transition from the military environment to campus life. Tutoring, advising and counseling are some of the services that are provided through the center. For additional information about UWF’s support for military and veteran students, visit the MVRC website, uwf.edu/militaryveterans. The mission of the Student Disability Resource Center is to deliver innovative and high quality service through collaborative networks that ensure educational access and support for students with disabilities. They aim to empower students with disabilities in their pursuit of educational and career opportunities by assisting in the creation of an inclusive and supportive campus environment that facilitates graduation and participation in the global community. For additional information, visit uwf.edu/offices/student-disability-resource-center. This article originally appeared on Progress+Promise. Read full story

Education

All the right moves

Ransom Middle School’s Chess Club is traveling to compete in the 2014 National Junior High Chess Championship April 25-27. Middle schoolers from across the country will participate in this tournament at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta.  Last year, Ransom Middle School placed third in their division. Back in October, club sponsor and English teacher at Ransom John Lowe was kind enough to invite me to visit a practice session of the club, just before they were to host a tournament at their school. In this video, you can learn a bit about the club. This article originally appeared on Progress+Promise. Read full story

Shannon's Window

Shannon's Window: Is Tallahassee smarter than a fifth-grader?

Is anyone in Tallahassee smarter than a fifth-grader? Read full story