Step Up For Students has ‘stepped up’ its support of families and schools by establishing the Office of Student Learning. This department’s intentional focus is helping schools develop and strengthen their structures, conditions, and processes to best sustain collaboration between teachers and families, with the goal of improving student learning during and outside of the school day.
Beginning with an idea developed by Doug Tuthill, SUFS president and Dr. Carol Thomas in 2010, 10 schools in the Tampa Bay area agreed to pilot Success Partners professional development modules. Fast forward to 2015 and the Office of Student Learning has a team of 10 educators and an Instructional Technology Specialist supporting more than 400 schools across Florida implementing a variety of our initiatives. Any school accepting Step Up For Students or Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) scholars is invited to join our network.
Vision: A network of Step Up For Students schools focused on the importance of sustaining a thriving, collaborative parent-school partnership to ensure the success of each and every child.
Mission: The mission of the SUFS Office of Student Learning is to assist and support the establishment and maintenance of collaborative partnerships with parents, families, and schools to improve the academic, social and emotional success of every child. To achieve this goal, schools receive and utilize comprehensive professional development, personalized support and an online learning management tool, the Teaching & Learning Exchange.
During the 2011-2012 school year, 10 SUFS schools statewide were selected to participate in an two-year pilot project to identify and deploy structures, conditions and processes within schools that sustain collaborative partnerships with parents and families to ensure the academic, social and emotional success of every child. Success Partners is grounded in current research that directly correlates student success with parent involvement regardless of economic, racial/ethnic and educational backgrounds.
Success Partners is a free two-year professional development initiative comprised of 15 interactive modules. The modules are designed to encourage shared decision making, equity of voice and participation and structured problem solving. Teacher leaders that attend our Summer and Winter Institutes, leave prepared to facilitate the modules to their staff. The end goal of year one is to create a personalized Parent-School Partnership Plan. The plan is implemented and studied during year two and beyond through the cycle of continuous improvement.
This initiative offers great benefits to participating schools such as robust, well-researched professional development, personalized coaching and support from an OSL Coordinator, access to the Teaching and Learning Exchange, and an invitation to participate in the Master Leadership Academy and Parent Partners for Success. Detailed data and outcome measures continue to be collected, studied and utilized in the ongoing development of the Parent-School Partnership programs for hundreds of SUFS schools statewide.
The Teaching and Learning Exchange (TLE) is a free web-based application designed to support teaching, learning, communication and accountability for administrators, teachers, parents/guardians and students.
Developed by the Office of Student Learning and Step Up For Students’ IT department, this proprietary learning management system was developed by educators for educators.
- Personal Learning Plans, a collaborative framework for the parent and teacher to use at conferences, in which academic, social, emotional and behavioral goals are established
- Pre-loaded Florida Standards as well as customizable school standards
- Unit Planner, Lesson Planner, Gradebook
- Attendance Tracking and Lunch Count
- Report Cards
- Free support online, videos, webinars, email and in-person training available from the OSL team
Master Leadership Academy was developed in direct response to requests of many private school administrators to receive training and support in school leadership and administration. Many school leaders are unprepared to face the growing demands placed on them and this course serves as an opportunity for them to step outside of their environments, take a fresh look at the processes and procedures present in their school, and gives them the ability to begin looking at the data behind their decision making within their school community.
Vision: To develop data-driven educational leaders in the areas of instruction, operations, and school transformation.
Mission: Educational leaders will work with data to establish goals and expectations, allocate resources strategically, ensure quality teaching, lead learning and development, engage parents and community, and ensure a safe and orderly environment (Fullan, 2014; Marzano, 2005).
This class is offered free of charge to administrators and teacher leaders who have participated or are currently participating in OSL’s Success Partners initiative. Facilitated by OSL staff who are former school administrators, this course has six face-to-face sessions in various locations across the state of Florida that are organized by cohorts (Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee, Tampa). Information, engaging strategies and assignments are connected directly to the administrator or teacher-leader’s daily processes. Networking, sharing of ideas and a resulting School Leadership Improvement Plan are valuable resources for all school leaders.
Topics covered include:
- Data-Driven Educational Leaders
- The Roles & Responsibilities of a School-based Leader
- Using Data to Establish Goals and Expectations in Your School
- Using Data to Ensure a Safe and Orderly Environment in Your School
- Using Data to Allocate Resources Strategically & to Ensure Parent and Community Engagement in Your School
- Using Data to Ensure Quality Teaching in Your School
- Book Study: The Handbook for the Art and Science of Teaching
- Using Data to Lead Learning and Development in Your School
- Being a Transformational Leader through Developing and Implementing a School Improvement Plan in Your School
As part of this program, parents at participating schools are provided with four learning sessions covering the following topics:
Session 1: Kickoff for Success
- Strengthen your parent-school relationships.
Session 2: The Feeling of Success
- Recognize the correlation between behavior and academic success.
Session 3: The Proof of Success
- Understand standardized test scores and access free academic resources.
Session 4: The Road to Success (Grades 6-12)
- Learn how to support college and career readiness.
Parent Partners for Success will empower parents to:
- Create a home environment that encourages learning
- Become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community
- Communicate high, yet reasonable, expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers
At this time students ages 3 to 22 with the following diagnoses are eligible to receive Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) funds: Autism spectrum disorder, Muscular dystrophy, Cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, Williams syndrome, Intellectual disability (severe cognitive impairment), or Kindergarteners who are deemed high-risk due to developmental delays.
The Office of Student Learning has designated a Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) Educational Intermediary to establish structures and processes to lead schools and parents in the educational needs and requirements of students receiving the Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) scholarship.
AmeriCorps is a network of local, state, and national service programs that connects more than 70,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet community needs in education, the environment, public safety, health and homeland security. AmeriCorps’ members serve with more than 2,000 non-profits, public agencies and community organizations. Since the program’s founding in 1994, more than 900,000 AmeriCorps members have contributed more than 1.2 billion hours in service across America while tackling pressing problems and mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.
In 2015, Step Up For Students was awarded an AmeriCorps grant for a tutoring program called Achieve. This opportunity will provide schools additional personnel, professional development and support to enhance parent engagement and improve student achievement. AmeriCorps Achieve will place 18 additional personnel and members into south St. Petersburg Schools to provide prescriptive reading and math tutoring based on diagnostics and instructional software. The tutoring sessions will take place during, after, and in a summer school programs.
Additionally, Step Up For Students will provide human resource development to participating schools which will include Success Partners modules, The Parent Partners for Success Program, I-Ready and Khan Academy software, and the implementation of the Teaching and Learning Exchange.