Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg's Fairmount Elementary to be part of pilot education program

ST. PETERSBURG — Teachers at her son's high school used to call Linda Bell "that parent."

As in: "That parent who's so involved."

A new program announced Wednesday for one of Pinellas County's three F schools is designed to replicate parents like her.

Fairmount Elementary School will be part of the Childs Park pilot program, which will join multiple agencies to help at-risk kids and will require extensive parental involvement in return.

Bell's son is an adult now. But her two nephews, Sheldon, 7, and Keyshawn, 6, will be part of the new program. She has guardianship of the boys, who will be entering first grade.

"I can't wait to go home and tell my husband how involved they want parents to be," Bell, 49, said Wednesday after a parents' meeting. "I've got chills on my body."

Pinellas County schools, the city of St. Petersburg and the Juvenile Welfare Board are involved with the program, which was in the works before the school, at 575 41st St. S, dropped from a C to an F this year.

The F grade adds urgency to the project, said Valerie Brimm, director of Pinellas County Schools Strategic Partnerships. Only 42 percent of students tested at grade level in reading this year, down from 61 percent.

Childs Park, the neighborhood from where Fairmount draws its students, was picked because of its high poverty and unemployment. Most homes in the area are led by single mothers.

The goal is to help parents provide a good learning environment. The program will be like a mini-school within the school. One class each of pre-K, kindergarten, first grade and second grade will be part of the program. Additional grades will be added each year, and children will get college scholarships if they graduate from high school.

The goal is to staff each class with a teacher, teacher assistant, social worker and parental advocate, but the extra support isn't in place yet. Right now, one social worker will help families.

The program isn't costing anything additional yet because staff and resources were just realigned. Expanding the program will add costs, but organizers hope grant money will help.

The Fairmount project is modeled after the Harlem Children's Zone, a project that covers about 100 blocks in New York City. A book about the Harlem project, Whatever It Takes, helped inspire Pinellas leaders, who learned of it as copies of the book were passed around as Christmas gifts.

The Harlem model has been reproduced in the Tampa Bay area already. Tampa's Sulphur Springs Elementary School brought its grade from an F to a B last year, though it dropped to a C this year.

"I know the parents that I've spoken to whose children are involved are very excited," Fairmount principal Cooper Dawson said.

St. Petersburg's Fairmount Elementary to be part of pilot education program 08/11/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 12, 2010 8:55am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Buckhorn's joke about pointing machine guns at media draws fire

    Military

    TAMPA — At a time when journalists are under fire both literally and figuratively, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's "joke" last week at a military conference about pointing twin 50-caliber machine guns at journalists and watching them "cry like little girls" rankled several war correspondents in the room.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn fires a .50 caliber machine gun from a rigid hull inflatable boat during a  Special Operations Capabilities Demonstration at the Tampa Convention Center last year.JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times
  2. For starters: Rays vs. Angels and Trout, with Odorizzi on mound

    Blogs

    After losing Sunday's game but winning a third straight series, the Rays open a four-game series tonight against the Angels and Mike Trout.

    RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, RHP J.C. Ramirez for the Angels.

    Evan Longoria is getting a DH day, so the Rays have rookie Daniel …

    Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays.
  3. Lightning's Swedes live their dream in Worlds

    Blogs

    You could see it in his face.

    Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman screamed as he hoisted the World Championship trophy Sunday afternoon in Cologne, Germany, and it looked like an exhale that was years in the making. Stralman kissed the forehead of Swedish teammate Joel Lundqvist, the joy unmistakable.

    Victor Hedman of Sweden celebrate with his teammates after scoring the opening goal in the gold-medal game against Canada.
  4. Citigroup agrees to pay nearly $100 million fine for Mexican subsidiary

    Banking

    NEW YORK — Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering.

    Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering. 
[Associated Press file photo]

  5. Bob Buckhorn apologizes amid online uproar over his joke about pointing machine gun at journalists

    Blogs

    The office of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn issued a statement Monday afternoon saying Buckhorn is apologizing to combat journalists for a joke he made last week about pointing …

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn fires a .50 caliber machine gun from a rigid hull inflatable boat during a Special Operations Capabilities Demonstration at the Tampa Convention Center last year.