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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Stewart to principals: Soldier on, you're great



Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart is reaching out to principals, encouraging them to maintain a positive outlook in the face of growing challenges.

"I know from my own experience as an elementary and high school principal that a productive, positive culture starts at the top," Stewart wrote in a letter to principals, in which she called them the nation's best.

She recognized the importance of the human element, combined with accountability, in reaching students and improving schools.

"When I became principal of Reddick-Collier Elementary school in Marion County, Florida had not established the school grading system. But when the first year grades were released, we were an “F” school," Stewart wrote. "Yet we had many talented teachers and supportive administrative staff who deeply cared about students. We had great human capital, but we weren’t skilled at how to use the data to improve student achievement.

"It would have been easy to become discouraged or overwhelmed with the obstacles facing our school. But instead we pushed through, just as many of Florida’s principals do every day."

Many principals and superintendents have called upon Stewart to stay the course with the Common Core. Public input on the standards continues through Thursday. Stewart's recommendations are to follow. Any predictions about what she'll do?

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 2:23pm]


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