Friday, August 17, 2018
Education

Guidmii helps high school students point toward the future

Like most freshman, Abagail Meler, 14, had a lot to learn when she made the leap to East Bay High School.

She had to navigate new hallways, adjust to new teachers and make new friends.

But, thanks to a computer program called Guidmii, Meler possesses a better grip on some other aspects of high school. Guidmii, an academic planning tool, helps the teen stay on top of her grade point average, credits earned and the requirements she needs to graduate.

She uses her computer to log onto Guidmii (it's pronounced guide me).

Her login is the same one she uses to access Edsby, which lists students' grades and assignments.

"I really like it," said Abagail, who lives in Gibsonton. "It's really helpful."

Ansberto Vallejo, supervisor of guidance services for the Hillsborough County School District, said Guidmii isn't replacing counselors but instead gives students another avenue to keep track of their records. Vallejo said it's a great tool because there is only one counselor for about every 550 students in the district.

Vallejo said students who take advantage of Guidmii are able to have meaningful discussions with counselors rather than spending some of that valuable time asking basic questions such as their current GPA.

Guidmii is a free program that is available to middle and high school students in Hillsborough County. In addition to keeping track of GPA and credits, students can keep tabs on their community service hours, access ACT and SAT information and visit its College Hub.

The district started offering Guidmii in 2014. About 35,000 students have signed up for the program.

Through the district's $216,603 contract with Lighthouse Guidance Systems, students have access to the program for three years.

William Farragut, a product of Sickles High School and the University of South Florida, is the man behind Guidmii. He developed the idea a few years ago after trying to help a student apply to college.

A woman at church told Farragut her son wanted to go to college. She was a single parent and needed help with the application process.

The teen, described by Farragut as a good kid, had the necessary credits to graduate high school but ultimately did not have the required GPA to attend. The young man joined the military.

Farragut said the teenager would have benefited from more help planning his high school road map and course selection. For example, he should have taken core courses rather than some electives to boost his GPA.

Troubled by the experience with the teen, Farragut went to work. He thought about how he might help others avoid that pitfall.

"I kept saying, what would have helped me help him?"

Farragut, 33, who lives in Wesley Chapel, had worked in the business world with Verizon and had some information technology knowledge, began tinkering on paper and his computer.

Farragut got help on the issues he couldn't do alone and by 2012 was testing the program at Sickles High and Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, a charter school, both in Tampa. His first paid contract was with the Pinellas County School District. Hillsborough soon followed.

"It started as a concept," Farragut said. "It's been a real labor of love."

Farragut said he is working on an update, which he hopes to launch this spring. Hillsborough and Pinellas will receive the updates.

"I think there's nothing out there like it," he said. "I'd like to obviously expand outside the bay area and then let God run with it."

The Melers are thankful for Guidmii.

Abagail often taps into the program to stay on track. Her mom, Carrie Meler, is happy it is available and thrilled her daughter is taking advantage of it.

"Any help she can get is wonderful," Meler said.

To learn more about Guidmii, visit guidmii.com.

Contact Monica Bennett at [email protected]

Comments
A USF milestone: Three new dorms, more than 6,300 students living on campus

A USF milestone: Three new dorms, more than 6,300 students living on campus

TAMPA — The paint on Pinnacle Hall’s white-and-gold walls still smelled fresh as Lilly Myskey led a parade of parents and bins and bags down the hall toward her new room at the University of South Florida. "Speaking of the building being brand-new, L...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Florida girl denied school lunch because she was 15 cents short, mother says

Florida girl denied school lunch because she was 15 cents short, mother says

A sophomore at University High School in Volusia County was denied lunch on her first day of school Tuesday because she owed 15 cents, according to WKMG in Orlando.The girl’s mother, Kimberly Aiken, told WKMG a cashier in the school’s lunchroom threw...
Published: 08/16/18
Brooksville pastor challenges longtime principal trying for reelection to Hernando’s District 5 School Board seat

Brooksville pastor challenges longtime principal trying for reelection to Hernando’s District 5 School Board seat

Hernando County School Board District 5 incumbent Susan Duval seconded the motion to fire superintendent Lori Romano on June 12. And that’s why Joe Santerelli said he filed to run against her about a week later.A week after that, the local pastor spo...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Candidates for Hernando’s District 3 School Board seat talk mental health, technical education

Candidates for Hernando’s District 3 School Board seat talk mental health, technical education

As Hernando County School Board member Beth Narverud makes her run for a spot on the County Commission, three hopefuls are running to fill her District 3 seat.One is Jimmy Lodato, a Tampa native and 19-year Hernando resident. Retired from a career in...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Incumbent chairman and newcomer battle for Hernando’s District 1 School Board seat

Incumbent chairman and newcomer battle for Hernando’s District 1 School Board seat

Mark Johnson was elected to the Hernando County School Board in 2014. He said his successful track record, combined with local business savvy, make him the clear choice over Catherine "Kay" Hatch for the District 1 seat."It’s not just an opportunity ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Corbett Prep marks 50th year with compassionate stories, family love

Corbett Prep marks 50th year with compassionate stories, family love

TAMPA — Sammi Borosh sat Tuesday afternoon in one of those tiny chairs for kindergartners and looked across the table at four of her former teachers — and her eyes misted.Borosh said she loved those four ladies and she loved the school where they tau...
Published: 08/15/18
For this Marjory Stoneman Douglas student, start of school is ‘beginning of the end’

For this Marjory Stoneman Douglas student, start of school is ‘beginning of the end’

Barbara Ojago saw her grandson’s first day back at school as the beginning of the end.Her grandson, Emea, will finish his senior year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. But Emea returns to a school forever changed by a former student he pe...
Published: 08/15/18
Pinellas plans new arts and gifted magnet schools in north county

Pinellas plans new arts and gifted magnet schools in north county

Next school year, if all goes according to plan, two new programs will expand the slate of options for Pinellas County elementary students — a conservatory for the arts in Clearwater and a gifted center in Palm Harbor.The programs, which will go befo...
Published: 08/15/18
Report card on ousted Hernando schools superintendent shows little change from last year

Report card on ousted Hernando schools superintendent shows little change from last year

BROOKSVILLE — Two months after firing superintendent Lori Romano, the Hernando County School Board on Tuesday reviewed results of a second district-wide survey to evaluate her performance, finding that little changed from last year.Romano’s overall a...
Published: 08/15/18

Pasco schools don’t plan to move teachers over state scores

Florida school districts recently received their teachers’ state "value-added" scores, and some scrambled to reassign those who got poor marks out of schools in turnaround status.But Pasco County wasn’t one of them, despite state rules relating to pe...
Published: 08/15/18