Aspiring teachers to host community event for "Fabulous Five" schools
College students active in the student chapter of a Florida teacher's union have organized a free community event for five south St. Petersburg schools.
The Student Florida Education Foundation has planned a day of "fun and outreach" on Sunday, Feb. 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Oliver Field at the Campbell Park Recreation Center. There will be food, music, bounce houses and family kickball as well as resources for families, such as voter registration and health and wellness information.
The event invites families from the five schools highlighted in the Times' Failure Factories series to attend: Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, Lakewood, Maximo and Melrose elementaries, which are among the lowest performing schools in the state. A flyer refers to the schools as the "Fabulous Five."
"We decided no way, we don’t want these kids going through education feeling (negative)," said SFEA state student organizer Mary Proud. "We want to turn it around and make it positive."
Proud is married to Bruce Proud, who retired in December from his post as executive director of Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association - Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association, the local teacher and support professional's union. The couple lives in Redington Beach with their 5-year-old son.
Proud said her organization hosts an outreach project somewhere in the state on the last day of their annual conference, which is being held in Tampa this year. She said the event is a good opportunity for students and their parents to have a positive interaction with their teachers.
"Almost all of our first-year teachers work in the most challenged schools because that’s where the vacancies are," she said. "I want these teachers to build relationships with these families."
About 110 student leaders from colleges and universities around the state will volunteer for the event, which is sponsored by the group's parent organization, FEA, PCTA-PESPA and other teacher's unions.
"We wanted to show kids and the staff there that we support them," said PCTA president and interim PCTA-PESPA executive director Mike Gandolfo. "We’re just trying to get the community more involved in their schools."