Today's Community Agreement Convention exceeded all of our dreams for what an empowered and passionate community can do!
Citizens gathered from all over Jacksonville to define the community's top priorities for public schools in Duval County.
The energy of the 170 participants crafting a Community Agreement for public education today was nothing short of electric.
Using the top themes that emerged from the ONE by ONE conversations, the delegates voted on four top priorities:
- Educate the whole child. - Individualize instruction to meet the unique needs of each child; ensure art/music/counseling/vocational education opportunities; prepare students for a global world as a moral obligation.
- Great teachers and leaders. - Focus on training of new and existing teachers and leaders; purposeful, focused and ongoing professional development; teachers and leaders need time to teach and train, without being taken away from their classes; recognize, respect and pay teachers as professionals.
- Policy and political reform. - Need for autonomy, flexibility and local control; ensure transparency; use research and evidence-based practices; highly qualified, responsive and informed elected officials.
- Family and caregiver involvement. - Increase two-way communication; ensure that schools are physically and emotionally accessible and welcoming; educate and empower families and caregivers.
Using data from 169 ONE by ONE conversations held in every part of the county with nearly 1,700 people, the delegates - who represent a diverse array of neighborhoods and stakeholder groups - advocated for these priorities to be the focus for public education.
"The citizens of Duval County have never been more energized to support a system of universally high-quality public schools," said Trey Csar, President of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund.
The delegates will now seek 2,000 ratifications for the Community Agreement.
Printed copies will be available sometime late next week.
The priorities will be submitted to Duval County Public Schools for inclusion in its strategic plan. On Saturday, the delegates also brainstormed ways the community can help make these priorities real, and pledged specific roles they will play.
Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, told delegates that the level of civic involvement and civic engagement in Jacksonville is unprecedented.
"I commit as superintendent that the work that you've already done and are going to do today will be funneled and incorporated in the strategic plan," Vitti said.
Want to see a blow-by-blow replay of the day's events? Check out the replay of the live blog here.