ST. PETERSBURG — Community leaders rushed in with offers of help after discipline problems and arrests at John Hopkins Middle School made headlines a few weeks ago.
Lining up were pastors, former educators, social workers, city officials and activists. Tuesday evening, the Pinellas County School District brought them together to take steps toward forming a Community Advisory Council, a concept superintendent Julie Janssen hopes will be replicated countywide.
"We need all of us to participate to give our children the skills they need," she told more than three dozen people gathered at the Enoch Davis Center.
Valerie Brimm, director of the district's Office of Strategic Partnerships, outlined goals of the group, emphasizing a collaboration with businesses, faith communities, athletic and fraternal groups, parents and students.
Those attending made suggestions such as using social media to communicate with students, training teachers in "assertive discipline" and starting a support program for administrators.
Teachers need to get to know their students, said Ray Tampa, president of the local NAACP and a former principal. "We need to have schools understand the community they're serving," he said.
The group next meets April 27.
Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2283.