PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Community members in Pinellas County are starting off the new school year on the right foot, with the right attitude.

  • New program giving schools the tools they need to improve
  • Fairmount Park Elementary has already shown improvement 
  • School officials, students, starting out school year with new confidence

“Proud, one proud principal,” Lakisha Lawson, Principal of Fairmount Park Elementary School, said. 

That’s because her school is one of 13 that has already shown improvement on the Florida Standards Assessments since forming the ‘transformation zone.’

“Improvements have been made day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, and year-to-year, just from learning, from the environment, from the culture, from the community,” Lawson said.

The goal of the program is to offer schools that may require added support the tools they need for success.

“We have a laser-like focus on the community piece and we also teach grade-level expectation,” Nikita Reed, Chief Transformation Officer with Pinellas County Schools, said.

With that success comes recognition for the community members and teachers who are helping make it happen.

“It’s a hard job, but it takes heart to stay in it. And we want them to know we believe in their leadership and we are here to support them,” Reed said.

As the news of their success comes out at the end of the summer, Superintendent Michael Grego said he hopes it gives students, faculty, and community members a new found excitement and confidence as they start a new school year.  

“My hope is that within our transformation zone and throughout our entire school district, we start to build on the successes that we’ve had in the last few years,” Grego said.

School officials encourage community members to get involved by volunteering at the schools, tutor in specific subjects, help beautify the school campuses, and make donations.

They also encourage community members to vocalize the importance of school attendance and to advertise the first day of school in church, business bulletins, on Facebook, or anywhere it can reach a wide audience.