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GUEST POST: Community gathers at Public Forum to discuss high-quality education in Duval

Sarah Niss served as a facilitator at the Jacksonville Public Education Fund's Public Forum and shares her reflections below.

When our community comes together to support public education, we all win. Last night, more than 100 community members attended the Jacksonville Public Education Fund’s Public Forum to discuss greatness--what makes a teacher, school leader or school great? And how can teachers, school leaders and parents or caregivers help students succeed?

The energy in the room continued to build as students, parents, teachers and education advocates eagerly shared their thoughts on high-quality education. A few common themes emerged from the upbeat table discussions: simply put, high-quality teachers care about their students. They know the students and care for them on a personal level, beyond data and test scores. High-quality teachers also love their jobs and express genuine enthusiasm to teach each day.

The trend of engagement with students continued when discussing school leaders. A high-quality principal is visible and accessible to students and parents. Although the principal job has many layers, principals should work to be just as visible as teachers from day to day. 

According to many in the room, parents should take an active role in schools to best support student learning. Parents must advocate for their children while also supporting teachers.

The Public Forum provided an opportunity for many different stakeholders to weigh in on creating high-quality education for Jacksonville students. The table discussions flourished and participants shared a wealth of information to be further discussed. These conversations are critical to ensuring that our students receive the education they need to be contributing citizens who lead Jacksonville forward.

Check back in the upcoming weeks for responses from the community surveys and our thoughts! You can learn more about ONE by ONE and ways to get involved here