Education Foundation and Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee Introduce Anti-Bullying Initiative in Sarasota County Schools
By: Jacob Ogles, SRQ Magazine
cannot succeed to the best of their potential if they are subject to difficult and confrontational situations, particularly as it relates to online and
in-person bullying, racism and anti-Semitism." - Howard Tevlowitz, The Jewish
Federation of Sarasota-Manatee
An effort to make middle schools safer in Sarasota County could soon change the disciplinary environment for eight schools. Following an investment by the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee and facilitation of the program by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, the Restorative Strategies initiative will expand from a pilot program at Booker Middle School to start serving multiple campuses, and won’t be stopping there. “We have designed this program to be large-scale,” says Jennifer Vigne, executive director of the Education Foundation. “We will continue to expand this.”
The program is designed to promote positive behavior through problem-solving, conflict resolution and the careful establishment of expectations. Rex Ingerick, a program specialist with the Sarasota County School District, says the effort stems from successful efforts in Minnesota. The proactive approach increases dialogue between students and administrators through community-building circles. “There are no wrong or right answers in these circles,” he says. School officials will bring the circles into lessons, and conversations will be followed with problem-solving discussions where students themselves are encouraged to come up with solutions for behavior problems in school.
The effort will also facilitate dialogue when students have problems such as bullying. Ingerick notes that in a social media-connected society, physically separating students at school often doesn’t erase the contact or conflict. “Rather than an arbitrary suspension from school, which for some kids isn’t a penalty and just allows a problem to fester, this seeks to solve the problem that caused the incident to occur,” he says.
The initiative will be employed at Booker Middle, Brookside Middle, Sarasota Middle, McIntosh Middle, Laurel Nokomis, Venice Middle, Heron Creek Middle and Woodland Middle schools.
Howard Tevlowitz, executive director of The Jewish Federation, says the effort will boost the quality of education for all enrolled in the schools. His organization will invest $15,000 to cover the expansion. That money covers the expansion at seven of the schools, while a federal grant will continue to fund the effort at Booker Middle. “Students cannot succeed to the best of their potential if they are subject to difficult and confrontational situations, particularly as it relates to online and in-person bullying, racism and anti-Semitism,” Tevlowitz says. “We believe this investment will help mitigate that problem.”
Classroom Grants Program - Applications OPEN
Visit the Classroom Grants page for more details.
Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Search
The Education Foundation of Sarasota County is working with the Sarasota County School District and the Florida School Boards Association to conduct a national search for a successor to Superintendent Lori White, who is retiring in February 2017. It is essential that applicants for the position understand the values and expectations of the Sarasota County community regarding their public schools. That information also will be an important consideration for the screening committee and the School Board as they determine which candidate is the most qualified and best suited to lead our highly successful district to even greater achievement in the coming years.
One of the first steps will be to gather information from community members what they believe to be the strengths of the school district, what challenges it faces and what characteristics are the most important for a superintendent to exhibit. Opportunities for community input will be offered at four Superintendent Search Community Forums to be hosted by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County between April 26 and May 26 (see dates and locations below). Another opportunity for community input is through an online survey which can be completed by clicking here.
Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Search update page:
Who will lead Sarasota County’s 42,000 students?
Thank you to the community members, school staff, parents, and students who participated in the first Superintendent Search Community Forum at North Port High School. Please join us at the additional forums below:
Superintendent Search Community Forums:
Thursday, May 12, 2016 | 7:00-9:00PM
Booker High School - Cafeteria
3201 N. Orange Ave
Sarasota, FL 34234
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 | 7:00-9:00PM
Venice High School - Cafeteria
1 Indian Ave.
Venice, FL 34285
Grand Opening - Digital Learning Lab @ Tuttle Elementary School
Join us on March 10th and check out the new technology resources available to Tuttle Elementary School students and families.
2863 8th Street
Sarasota, FL 34237
CLICK HERE TO RSVP
thanks to the Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation for funding the launch of
this Education Foundation Digital Learning Lab!
Talent4Tomorrow FAFSA Workshops for Sarasota County Students
We know hard it can be to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on your own. Don't struggle alone! There are many volunteers ready to help you. Don't miss the chance to get FREE money for college (technical school, 2 year or 4 year college or university). Last year, over 2 million dollars for college was left unclaimed... Visit one of the workshops below to get help completing your FAFSA application and get money for college now!
Click here to learn what to bring with you to the workshops.
Thursday, February 11th at North Port High School, 2-8pm
Sunday, February 21st at Sarasota High School 1-4pm
Booker High School seniors only: after school, every-other Friday, starting 1/29
Adults going back to school are welcome to attend the following events to get help completing the FAFSA
February 27th at University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee, 9:30am-12pm Sponsored by
January 26th to April 16th at the following
United Way free tax prep sites:
Tuesdays, 2-6pm, United Way Downtown VITA (1800 2nd St.,Ste 102, Sarasota)
Saturdays 10-2pm, Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club (3100 Fruitville, Sarasota)
Saturdays, 10-2pm, North Port Family Service Center (1st Floor, 6919 Outreach Way, North Port)
Questions? Call 211 for more information!
Check out more of the winning (and hilarious!) Sarasota Film Festival FAFSA Public Service Announcements by clicking here.
Science Fair Expo Showcases Next Generation of Young Scientists
For the first time ever, students’ winning projects from grades 3-12 were on display for public viewing on the evening of January 27 at Robart’s Arena for the Sarasota Regional Science, Engineering & Technology Fair Expo. The Expo included demonstrations by students and the Suncoast Science Center and featured displays from local organizations.
Top scoring student projects have the opportunity to compete at the state and international levels. The top two high school student projects will be sent to the annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona this May.
Click here for a complete list of winning projects.