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Press Release

Friday, July 2, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Okaloosa School District Promotes Academic Excellence Through Innovative Programs

~ Emphasis on community involvement helps students achieve their dreams ~

TALLAHASSEE – Students in Okaloosa County are achieving at higher educational levels thanks to an exciting program championed by school superintendent Dr. Alexis Tibbetts. Highlighted during the June 15, 2010, State Board of Education meeting, the Advancing Minority Achievement initiative was established to close the achievement gap and maximize the academic potential of every child in the Okaloosa County School District.

“I am thoroughly impressed with Okaloosa County School District’s unique approach to raising minority student achievement through a combination of community and school-related activities,” said State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair. “Each one of us has a role to play in developing a culture that supports every child reaching their full potential and Okaloosa’s inclusive approach sets a solid example for all to follow.”

Headed by the district’s No Child Left Behind Curriculum Specialists, Dr. Cheryl Seals and Ms. Elaine Anderson, the initiative includes a number of unique programs that are designed to promote academic excellence and develop student leadership skills. Examples of these programs include the Academic Excellence Society which connects educators, parents, civic organizations and the community in working together to close the achievement gap between White and minority students; Minority Councils at 13 middle and high schools across the county that provide academic support, peer mentoring and leadership opportunities to assist students in setting goals for their future; and the Summer Bridge program which aims to sharpen the academic skills of middle school students to prepare them for advanced studies.

“Dr. Seals and Ms. Anderson should be commended for their commitment to closing the achievement gap in Okaloosa County and providing every student in the district with an opportunity to succeed,” said Superintendent Tibbetts. “By working together with a variety of local organizations, they’ve energized the community and created a framework of support that is making the difference in the lives of many of our children.”

Other innovative programs involved in the initiative include:

  • Educational Summits – Workshops that bring the community together in planning for minority students’ educational excellence.
  • Saturday Success Tutoring – Community partners facilitate tutoring programs and serve as role models.
  • Young Men of Tomorrow – Male community volunteer coaches work with minority male students to improve academic achievements and encourage lifelong learning to prepare for college or career opportunities.
  • Achievement Campaign – A county-wide messaging campaign that encourages community partnerships, mentoring and other activities designed to promote student academic achievement.

For more information about the Advancing Minority Achievement initiative in Okaloosa County Schools, contact Dr. Cheryl Seals at (850) 689-7177 ext. 1-8000, or Ms. Elaine Anderson at (850) 833-5815. Both can also be contacted through e-mail at sealscr@mail.okaloosa.k12.fl.us or andersone@mail.okaloosa.k12.fl.us.