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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco principal recognized for high achievement in high-risk school



Hoping to find high-risk schools that "beat the odds," Florida Tax Watch and the Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University pored over the test results of thousands of Florida public schools seeking outcomes that outstripped expectations.

The groups recognized the principals of six of those schools on Tuesday, giving out their inaugural Elite Principal awards. Five of the school leaders came from Miami-Dade County. 

One came from Pasco County.

Yvonne Reins, principal of Cox Elementary School since 2009, has spent five years working to move the school away from forced restructuring under No Child Left Behind. It was one of two schools in the county to never make adequate yearly academic progress since the advent of the federal act.

Over time, it has dramatically improved student performance, particularly in the area of learning gains. Its overall proficiency rate remains toward the bottom of the district, but continues to rise.

"The credit goes to my staff," Reins said. "The teachers are very dedicated and they have a lot of tenacity to work with these students. They truly care about them."

The Elite Principals Awards are part of a larger initiative to improve student achievement at high-risk schools, Tax Watch CEO Dominic Calabro said. The six principals will participate in a study to identify the traits, habits and practices of top-performing school leaders. Calabro hopes the study will inform future education policy and principal preparation programs.

The other award winners are: Tangela Goa, of Van E. Blanton Elementary; Linda Amica-Roberts, of Coconut Palm K-8 Academy; Anna Hernandez, of M.A. Milam K-8 Center; Guillermo Munoz, of Westland Hialeah Senior High; and Verena Cabrera, of Hialeah High.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 1:07pm]


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