Loading Information

Hang in there, we're processing your request...

South McKeel Academy Awarded $250,000 for Dissemination of Best Practices

Lakeland, FL (April 4, 2014)  Soon teachers from South McKeel Academy will be helping other charter schools across the state improve their results in the classroom.  The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) has awarded the high-performing charter school a 2-year Instructional Best Practices Dissemination Grant of $250,000 to address FLDOE’s strategic goal of improving student performance in the state’s charter school sector. South McKeel Academy Active Literacy BLUEPRINT Project was created to assist and support Florida’s lower performing charter schools in the areas of technology integration and literacy.  The grant will give South McKeel teachers the opportunity to share “ready to use” curricular, instructional and assessment activities with charter elementary schools who scored C, D or F on the state grading system.  Currently there are 45 charter schools which are considered low performing and will be targeted for assistance.   Resources developed for the grant will also be available to teachers, instructional staff and leaders of all Florida public schools.

For the South McKeel Academy Active Literacy BLUEPRINT, Assistant Principal Kim Benson, lead teacher Tara Dunsford, and classroom teachers Kim Hatten, Michelle Sells and Kristine Nelson, were instrumental in writing the successful 149-page grant proposal with the help of Principal Judi Morris.  With the grant, South McKeel is creating a statewide staff development program to share what has been successful for South McKeel teachers and was instrumental in helping the school achieve their high-performing status.  The project will include hosting a series of workshops on their campus with demonstrations of the best practices in action with students in the classroom. The grant supports Florida’s Next Generation PreK-20 Strategic Plan, Race to the Top, Just Read Florida, and the new Florida Standards.

There will be additional workshops throughout the state and during educational conferences. South McKeel’s project will be focusing on learning gains in the areas of reading and writing, as evidenced by improved FCAT scores for the targeted charter schools.  The project has engaged the Comprehension Toolkit (Stephanie Harvey) to assist teachers in blending reading and writing across the curriculum. Workshop participants completing follow-up will receive a Comprehension Toolkit for their schools.  Through a partnership with Nearpod, each targeted school that participates in a workshop will also be offered a reduced price for Nearpod licenses to help schools blend technology throughout the curriculum.  Partnerships with Lumens, National Geographic, Heinemann and Mentoring Minds are also providing training and products to assist model classroom teachers at South McKeel Academy.

South McKeel will be working with the regional educational organizations in the three Rural Low- Income Schools (or RLIS) districts in Florida who will help host workshops in their areas and communicate through their newsletters and membership meetings as part of the project’s outreach plan.  The organizations are Heartland Educational Consortium in Lake Placid, North East Florida Educational Consortium in Palatka and the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium in Chipley.  The Florida Society for Technology in Education is also supporting the dissemination plan for statewide outreach to schools interested in the resources being developed.

The 2-year grant extends until 2016 with the first demonstrations starting with a May 21st workshop on campus.  To qualify to apply for the grant, South McKeel Academy was identified as a high-performing charter school in 2011 by the Florida DOE based on their strong academic achievements and financial stability.  In 2006 South McKeel Academy opened as a startup charter school and currently serves 1,224 students with grades PreK-7 with 94 teachers and staff.

Your message was successfully sent