Community comes together to support public school student success


Local public school students gathered at Riverside Baptist Church on Sept. 24 and shared their definitions of success with the community at Jacksonville Public Education Fund’s (JPEF) first ONE by ONE: Student Voice event. Student presenters kicked off the morning with presentations that illustrated their personal definitions of success.

Zaria Middleton, senior at Mandarin High, shared her experience with the Leadership Club at school and how the skills she was developing in that program have contributed to her overall success.

Myah Freeman, senior at Paxon High, followed this presentation by sharing her passion for art. She showcased some of her artistic pieces while sharing the role sacrifice has played in her success.

How often do students have an opportunity to determine what success looks like for them? How often do we ask them to measure success using their own metrics? The unfortunate answer is: not often enough.

These young ladies did not spend a significant time addressing grades, test scores or other metrics commonly associated with student success. Rather, they spoke from the heart about topics that mean a great deal to them.

These presentations were followed by rich dialogue between community members and student participants around how the community can support students as they uncover their own definitions of success. Participants discussed topics ranging from the availability of mental health services, transportation restrictions and the arts.

Overall, the general consensus in this part of town was that the community’s role is to expand the availability of resources for all students throughout the county. JPEF staff members will analyze the notes collected from this event in greater detail with our data analysis team. Then, we will begin meeting with nonprofit agencies directly serving our students such as United Way, Full Service Schools and City Year to create a plan of action in response to the feedback we receive from the table discussion notes.

Together, we are committed to identifying specific ways we can work as a community to provide students with the resources they need to be successful -- not just by district standards -- but by metrics we work with them to identify. 

If you missed this first event but would still like to contribute to this important community conversation, you are in luck! JPEF is hosting two additional community gatherings:

  • The first will be held on October 27 from 5:30-8:00 p.m. at the Johnson Family YMCA. Registration is available here.
  • The final gathering will take place on Saturday, January 28 from 8:30am-12pm at the Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Performing Arts at FSCJ’s South Campus. Registration is available here.

We look forward to hearing your voice!





of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2021-2022.