PINELLAS COUNTY — During a community meeting hosted at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum before the start of school last year, several overarching comments were made: that the Pinellas County School District was not keeping he community informed, there was not a sufficient opportunity for the community to express their concerns or comment on district issues, and last but certainly not least the leadership from the district needed to get out in the community more often.
During my campaign in 2012 and since my election, I have requested that the leadership team and school board members in the district take a proactive stance. by presenting ourselves before the community, this allows for a true dialogue and collaboration regarding the education of our students.
I am excited to announce that there will be a number of community meetings to share with the community what the district is doing to infuse additional learning tools and techniques into the lesson plans, provide information regarding instructional modeling, provide information on technical training programs within our middle and high school classrooms, inform the community in regards to what types of professional development opportunities are available for our teachers and support professionals, and share what changes have occurred based on the Department of Education’s focus regarding the new ELA/FSA Testing measures.
The community meetings (held in the form of charrettes where individuals can select what topic they want to discuss further when breaking up into smaller groups) will allow the district to hear the ideas and or concerns regarding education so that they can be addressed.
Taking into account the varied schedules of our parents, students, and community organizations, and understanding that meeting in the morning or afternoon is not a true option for most, the meetings will be held in the evening and at varying locations throughout the county. The initial schedule is as follows with all start times beginning at 6:00 p.m.:
• October 18 — Boca Ciega High School
• November 1 — Gibbs High School
• November 15 — Tarpon Springs High School
The dates above are not the only opportunities to engage in this fashion. There will be a number of additional dates, locations, and opportunities added.
A number of organizations have held community meetings regarding education, listening sessions, sessions on how to engage your student’s teacher, and so much more. I am extremely appreciative for all of those who have engaged in this local, state and national debate. This is yet another opportunity for you to share what you feel is working for your student(s), what you would like to see the district engage in, and where do you see the district in the immediate and extended future.
By no way and by no means have any decisions been made nor will there be. This is just one step among many to assure that voices can be heard and information can be provided.
I hope to see you at one or all of the dates noted above. PCS with the help of students, parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, mentors, community organizations, and the business community have all joined in to show support and to encourage our students. Let’s keep the momentum going. We have so much more work to do-none of us can do it alone — all of us can do it together!
These are the comments of Rene Flowers as a Pinellas County School Board Member, District 7 and not the comments representing the school board or the administration.