« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

SRQ DAILY Aug 15, 2015

"I expect performance funding to remain part of our state funding, just as it is for the State University System."

- Dr. Carol Probstfeld, State College of Florida

[Argus]  Continue To Be Bold
Christine Robinson

“How strong is your school system?” 

This is one of the top questions a CEO or relocation firm asks when they are looking to start or move their company here. We have a lot to be proud of in terms of education in Sarasota County. We consistently have good rankings when compared with other districts. We should not stop there. We should also consider state, national and international numbers to really understand where K-12 education is headed.

While the Sarasota County School District consistently ranks high among all districts in the state, Florida has a ways to go in a nation that is not even ranked well internationally.

During a recent “Meet the Minds” luncheon, hosted by The Argus Foundation, the focus was education reform in Florida. Leaders from the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) and the Foundation for Florida’s Future shared some surprising insights on where the U.S. lands among its international counterparts.

The speakers suggested we are a nation in crisis, with the U.S. ranked 27th in the world in math, 17th in reading and 20th in science. 

Furthermore, they remarked that in 2013, across the nation 66 percent of eighth graders were not performing at their grade level in math and were performing below grade level in fourth grade reading.

These low numbers also lead to decreasing statistics for college and career readiness nationally. In 2014, 60 percent of high school graduates who took the ACT weren’t ready for first-year college schoolwork. Another 30 percent of high school graduates couldn’t pass the U.S. military entrance exam. 

On a statewide level, education reform is gaining widespread attention and there is a lot of work to be done. This year, Education Week ranked Florida 28th in its "Quality Counts" report – a significant drop from past years when Florida ranked as high as 5th.

Locally, we must strive for standards higher than Florida’s. We must also keep our eye on the national and international numbers to really understand how our district is doing. 

We have some exciting programs driven by passionate local leaders and our foundations in which we are seeing real change and data-driven results. A perfect example is the Eagle Academy at Alta Vista Elementary School.

The summer academy established four years ago was funded initially from one private donor. With unbelievable success and additional private funding from foundations and others, the summer academy is now helping more than 350 students in a Title 1 school, where 96 percent of the students are from low-income families, to achieve great things to significantly close the achievement gap.

The three-tiered program includes proficiency training for students, mandatory parenting and vocational training for caregivers and a food pantry with social activity nights for the entire family.

Great results demand stronger solutions. Programs like Eagle Academy are stretching the boundaries of conventional reform while looking at new solutions and thinking outside the box. Let’s continue to be bold and innovative—and look to national and international numbers for our standard. 

SRQ Daily Columnist Christine Robinson the executive director of The Argus Foundation.

[Higher Education]  School Performance Gold
Carol Probstfeld

Our goal for every student who enrolls at the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, is simple—stay enrolled and make progress to a degree, graduate, and get a job with a decent salary or transfer to continue their higher education. While the student does that, SCF provides the outstanding faculty, technology, facilities, resources and support services to make it all happen. At every graduation, I feel the pride and reward of being part of that accomplishment.

The state of Florida created another reward that measures the accomplishment of that goal in 2015, this one with a financial stake for SCF. The state legislature, in partnership with Florida Department of Education, created a performance funding model for the Florida College System, of which SCF is a member.

SCF proudly earned a spot in the gold category of the top seven state colleges, ranking sixth of 28. Financially, we protected the money from our base budget contributed to the model ($404,935) and earned an additional $655,739. Colleges in the gold (seven) and silver categories (16) protected their base money and earned new money. Those in the bronze category (five) must submit an improvement plan and demonstrate improvement to earn back their base budget contribution.

This is a great accomplishment and a strong indicator that SCF is headed in the right direction. I expect performance funding to remain part of our state funding, just as it is for the State University System.

The performance funding model consists of four measures: job placement/continuing education, completion rates, retention rates and complete entry wages. We are measured on our ability to retain students through graduation and their ability to earn a higher wage job with their education or transfer to another school to continue their higher education.

Providing the level of service that our students and community deserve is paramount—financial rewards from the state are a welcome addition. We are already strongly focused on serving our students and community. SCF is a member of one of the best community college systems in the nation—bronze category schools may have to demonstrate improvement in Florida, but they rank among the best colleges in the nation.

SCF did well in the quantifiable performance funding metrics, but we also want to highlight and focus on measures of quality, such as our extremely high certification rates in our health sciences programs. Our nursing students posted a 96 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensure Exam, exceeding the state rate by 20 percent. Our dental hygiene and radiography students posted 100 percent pass rates on their respective licensure exams. And I can’t help but mention our national champion Brain Bowl team. Across the board, a significant quantity of high-quality achievements that directly benefit our community.

Our goal is to blend quality and quantity—to produce graduates with the right skill sets and capabilities to fill the needs of our local economy. When students meet that goal, the graduate, community and college all benefit.  

SRQ Daily Columnist Dr. Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.

[Gulf Coast]  Clear Vision for 21st Century Schools
Mark Pritchett

We love our superlatives in Sarasota County. Best beach. Best place to retire. Best foundations (just kidding—sort of).

We’re also proud of our high-ranked, highly regarded schools. And as a community, we’ve consistently invested in making them even better—which takes some vision for the “best place to retire.”

Our STEMsmart initiative is just one example. Over five years ago, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Sarasota County Schools together identified science and math as areas in which we had substantial room to improve. Since then, we’ve invested over $9 million to transform the way teachers teach and students learn science and math in our local middle and high schools. (And that’s not just Gulf Coast funding; it includes contributions from the school district, individual philanthropists, business partners and more. 

STEMsmart has demonstrated success through 100 percent proficiency in the bellwether subject of algebra as well as geometry; increased enrollment in Advanced Placement courses; and greater interest in careers in science and technology—fields where our students will find the fastest-growing, highest-paying jobs. Anecdotally, teachers have said they could never go back to teaching like they did in traditional classrooms. That’s transformation.

But it’s not time to coast. Never is. Last summer, the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation funded expansion of our STEMsmart classroom technology to all language arts and social studies classrooms at Sarasota Middle School. This single-school pilot tested whether the technology and instructional methods could be transferred to these other subjects. Evaluation results said “yes,” with more than 80 percent of students reporting they were more engaged and found learning more enjoyable last year. 

Armed with that evidence, Gulf Coast and the Barancik Foundation have committed to outfitting the rest of the district’s middle-school language arts and social studies classes with the same technology over the next three years. Dr. Kevin Baird, a national expert in college and career readiness, already ranks Sarasota County’s middle schools in the top 10 nationally for district-wide technology implementation. Expanding the 21st-century technology we’ve implemented in math and science to the rest of the classrooms across our middle schools would make Sarasota County “a model site for all schools in the United States,” Dr. Baird told us, with “no comparable implementation” anywhere in the country.

The success of our schools and our students so far is something to celebrate. The distinction of being the most technologically advanced school district in the nation is a superlative worth striving for. But ultimately, the results we aim for speak best for themselves: As one eighth-grader in a Sarasota Middle School language arts class said last school year, the difference between learning in his old and learning in his new classrooms “is like the difference between looking through a wall and looking through a window.” 

Mark Pritchett is senior vice president for community investment at Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

[On Leadership]  Quit Spats, Focus On Problems
Bob Richardson

As president of the Downtown Partnership in 2004, I can tell you that we were in the middle of a territorial representation dispute that had been going on for a decade. It continues to go on today and is several generations old. It’s the same today as it was then, too many Type A egos fighting over the spoils of too much inheritance. 

Since the Scots settled Sarasota on its magnificent Bayfront, outside of a ’60s economic shift away from downtowns, downtown has always had too much money thrown at it. TIF money being a good example. An undeserved rescue by Sarasota County. We have been like a bunch of spoiled kids squabbling over too much inheritance that we didn’t have to earn and was a gift from our unknowing fore-fathers! If Sarasota wasn’t so wealthy we would be much more focused. We have been blessed so much that we fail to make the most out of our unearned gift of location and the fortuitous settling of the Selby, Ringling and Palmer families in our town. We were born on third base, thought we hit a triple and have been living on this past legacy for too many generations.  

All of that energy would be better spent on finding solutions to the 40-plus-acre Van Wezel area, North Tamiami Trail, Newtown, Homelessness, our neglected infrastructure, our cities financial lack, etc.  Real problems lacking real solutions, currently.   

It is high time we quit this internecine detrimental spat, set community goals that will continue to lead us on the path of setting a national example of how a community should husband, invest and multiply its inheritance. 

Bob Richardson, Sarasota, responding to the "DSA Sees Leadership Shift" article in the Aug. 12 edition of SRQ Daily.

[SCOOP]  SMH Milk Depot to Collect Donated Breast Milk for Fragile, Premature Babies

Sarasota Memorial Hospital has opened a Milk Depot to make it easier for local moms to donate their breast milk to struggling preemies. A mother’s own breast milk is always the best food choice for her newborn, but when a mother’s milk isn’t available, breast milk donated by thoroughly screened donors is the next best option for fragile, sick and premature babies in Neonatal Intensive Care Units across the nation.“Donating breast milk is like donating blood – it saves lives,” said Mary O’Connor, manager of Childbirth Education & Lactation Services at Sarasota Memorial. SMH’s Milk Depot was established in association with the Mother’s Milk Bank of Florida in Orlando, which screens mothers using a voluntary process similar to blood donations. The not-for-profit Milk Bank analyzes the milk of approved donors for calorie and protein content and then pasteurizes it to kill any viruses or bacteria. It then tests the milk to ensure it’s free of contaminates before deep freezing and distributing it to hospitalized babies who are in need. There is no cost or compensation to moms to donate the milk. The milk bank sells the milk to hospitals to cover basic costs. Local moms interested in donating their breast milk can start the screening process by calling the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida at (407) 248-5050 or visiting milkbankofflorida.org. Once approved, they can bring their frozen milk to SMH’s Milk Depot, which accepts donations daily (7am-6pm Mon-Fri; 10am- 4pm weekends).


Sarasota Memorial Hospital

[SCOOP]  The Bijou Cafe Launches Signature Wine

The Bijou Café in Sarasota recently launched Le Jardin Cuvée Prestige, a Loire Chardonnay vinted exclusively for The Bijou Café in collaboration with the renowned Les Frères Couillaud winery in France. "We wanted to introduce our own signature wine to take our fine dining experience to the next level," says Bijou Cafe owner J.P. Knaggs. "Our good friend and wine guru and importer, Freddy Matson, helped us establish a partnership with Les Frères Couillaud winery to bottle their celebrated Le Jardin Cuvée just for us,” says Knaggs. “For me, this is deeply personal,” he adds. “The wine is a tribute to my mother’s French heritage.” Knaggs’ mother was born in the north of France, near Dieppe in the Normandy region. Les Frères Couillaud produces high-quality wines on its family vineyards in the Loire Valley. "The Couillaud family is one of the outstanding winegrowers of the western Loire Valley, "says Knaggs. "They produce Muscadets, Chardonnays and Sauvignon, which are renowned around the world. They follow the tenants of sustainable agriculture, which is very important to me.” Knaggs describes Le Jardin Cuvée Prestige as “100 percent Chardonnay. It’s refreshing, thirst- quenching and perfect for the Florida climate.” He says the wine offers tropical fruit aromas of pineapples, yellow peaches, apricots and tangerines, which leave "a clean, citrusy fruit in the mouth and a hint of white flinty stone on the finish.” Le Jardin Cuvée Prestige is now available by glass and bottle to restaurant guests and will also sell retail by the case or bottle. 

The Bijou Cafe

[SOON]  PMP Alumni: In Concert
The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast (PMP/Suncoast) expands its programming for the 2015-2016 Season by offering PMP Alumni: In Concert, a series of three concerts featuring alumni of New York’s esteemed Perlman Music Program (PMP). Founded by Toby Perlman 21 years ago, PMP offers unparalleled musical training to string players of rare and special talent between the ages of 12-20 from all over the world. With a first-class faculty led by her husband, internationally acclaimed violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman, PMP is developing the future leaders of classical music. These three alumni concerts, two in Sarasota and one in Venice, are presented by PMP/Suncoast in addition to the 12th Annual PMP Sarasota Winter Residency program in December. Featured artists include: October 10: Molly Carr, viola and Yannick Rafalimanana, piano, 3pm at the Sarasota Opera House; November 22: Sean Lee, violin and Peter Dugan, piano, 3pm at the Sarasota Opera House;April 17: The Ariel Quartet 3pm, Venice Performing Arts Center. Tickets are now on sale. Buy a subscription to the series for $75 and save $30. Individual concert tickets are $35. Youth tickets (18 and under) are available for $5 with the purchase of a regular-priced ticket.

The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast

[SCOOP]  Rosinsky elected to Goodwill Industries International Board

The Goodwill Industries International board of directors has elected Bob Rosinsky, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota, to its ranks. Rosinsky has spent more than 40 years with the Goodwill organization, serving in his current capacity since January 2013. His election to the board of directors took place during the annual Goodwill meeting of executives and board leaders held recently in San Diego, CA. He will serve a three-yearterm. "I am happy to be a part of the Goodwill Industries International board, where we can work together to ensure that our organization is reaching new milestones and helping more people," Rosinsky said. "“Goodwill is amazing – we take things that people don’t want anymore, we take people who are too often overlooked, and with dedication, compassion and some business savvy we have created a sustainable business that benefits people and communities worldwide. It is my honor to be recognized as a leader in this effort." 


[KUDOS]  Center for Architecture Sarasota Recognized by AIA Florida/Caribbean

 Guy Peterson Office for Architecture, the firm that led the renovation of the 1960 Scott Building in downtown Sarasota for the Center for Architecture Sarasota, has been recognized by the Florida AIA with the Honor Award for Historic Preservation/Restoration.  “It was a team effort. The Center for Architecture Sarasota provided the funding, University of Florida’s School of Architecture chose to locate its graduate program here, and Sarasota County provided this remarkable building for our long-term use.  In addition, general contractor Michael K. Walker gathered a remarkable group of contractors who donated a considerable amount of time, talent and product to help the non-profit.  And our generous benefactor, Nathalie Warren McCulloch, provided a significant gift which made it all possible,” said Peterson. The Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects hosts the annual Florida/Caribbean Honor and Design Awards to celebrate outstanding achievements in architecture and design. This program recognizes the work of architects in the region who contribute globally to the framework of the built environment; it is the region’s most prestigious awards program for the architectural profession. 

Center for Architecture Sarasota

[SOON]  Saks Fifth Avenue teams up with SMH Foundation, Inc. for the 2015 Key To The Cure Charity Shopping Weekend
 Saks Fifth Avenue and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) announced recently that Oscar®-winning actress Julianne Moore has been named the 2015 Ambassador for Saks Fifth Avenue’s Key To The Cure campaign against cancer. To help raise money and cancer awareness, Saks Fifth Avenue at The Mall at University Town Center will partner with Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc. to host KEY TO THE CURE on Thursday, October 15, 2015. This year marks the 10th Anniversary that Sarasota Memorial Health Care System has partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue Sarasota on Key to the Cure, a weekend shopping event and special evening party sponsored locally by Saks Fifth Avenue.  During this year’s four-day event, October 15 – 18, Sarasota’s Saks Fifth Avenue at The Mall at University Town Center will donate a percentage of their sales to benefit Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s Women’s Cancer Care Programs.  To kick off the special shopping weekend, Saks Fifth Avenue Sarasota will host a spectacular event Thursday evening, October 15.  The Key to the Cure Kick-Off will feature food, beverages, entertainment, shopping and an exclusive “key event” that is sure to unlock some treasures for all! Now in its 17th year, Saks Fifth Avenue’s Key To The Cure campaign has enlisted Jason Wu to design this year’s limited-edition T-Shirt, benefiting Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc.  Available for purchase beginning on October 1 in Saks Fifth Avenue stores and online at saks.com and saksoff5th.com, the tee will retail for $35, with 100% of sales benefiting Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc. 

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc.

[SOON]  Dine at Cafe L'Europe to benefit Meals On Wheels Of Sarasota

Cafe L' Europe is donating 25% of every dollar spent to Meals On Wheels Plus of Sarasota on Monday August 21.  Dinner seating is from 4-9pm and is limited so make your reservation now. Call 941-388-4415 to book your table and make sure to mention Meals On Wheels when making your reservation. Have a fabulous dinner while supporting Meals on Wheels of Sarasota's mission to feed our neighbors in need in Sarasota. 

Meals on Wheels of Sarasota

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

Copyright © 2024 by SRQ Media Group, 331 South Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.
Powered by Sarasota Web Design | Unsubscribe

Read More

Balancing the Pressures and Needs

Balancing the Pressures and Needs

Jacob Ogles | May 1, 2024

Made in Italy

Made in Italy

Laura Paquette | May 1, 2024

Baking Bliss

Baking Bliss

Kate Wight | May 1, 2024

Filling the Knead

Filling the Knead

Laura Paquette | May 1, 2024