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SRQ DAILY Aug 3, 2019

"We reassess all of our programs and initiatives regularly to ensure they all are connected to our ultimate goal. "

- Jennifer Vigne, Education Foundation of Sarasota County

[Community]  Kicking the Myth About Sarasota in Summer
Roxie Jerde, roxie@cfsarasota.org

There is a prevailing myth about Sarasota in the summertime. Supposedly, the scorching heat and sudden rain showers drive our beloved visitors away, and activity in our town grinds to a halt, pausing life before seasonal residents return. While there is no denying our region’s population ebbs and flows across the calendar, in my experience, the spirit and enthusiasm of our community never wanes, especially for those of us who live here year-round.

For young learners and their families, summer is a time to dive into a world of exciting possibilities, discover something new and become closer and more connected than ever before while having some fun along the way. Summer learning acts like a refreshing breeze that energizes our children, families and community to broaden their horizons, with our local schools at the ready. I find the intersection of all these opportunities is at the heart of the Sarasota County School District’s Summer Learning Academies.

Since their beginnings as a pilot program in 2012, powered by the vision of Joe and Mary Kay Henson and Dr. Barbara Shirley at Alta Vista Elementary School, Summer Learning Academies have taken a leading role in helping improve early literacy through a two-generation approach and empower families with a broad range of supports to reach their full potential.  

From the moment the last school bell rings, the shadow of summer learning loss – “summer slide” – looms large over our community’s most vulnerable families, leaving many schoolchildren returning to school behind their peers. Summer Learning Academies in Sarasota County are high-quality, free summer programs designed to prepare incoming kindergarten students to enter the classroom ready to learn, prevent summer learning loss for those returning, and close the achievement gap for all through intentional learning time.

This summer, we reached a “first” for our community in summer learning. For six weeks, schoolteachers at all 12 Title 1 elementary schools continued their important role, leading four-day-a-week lessons beginning at 9am with more than 1,800 students enrolled. From building robotic tadpoles to brainstorming solutions to save our oceans, these morning academic lessons are integrally tied to curriculum to ensure meaningful connections are matched with educational standards.

And the work in education doesn’t just continue in the summer with our teachers. We were proud to support the afternoon enrichment experiences this year that round out the daily plan of Summer Learning Academies. This means relying on the educators connecting with our dynamic arts and science organizations who also contribute to the richness of our community all year long.   

Educators and community members across our four counties recognize these merits and share their experiences, talents, and gifts to build meaningful experiences for families. Just this summer, young learners were able to learn and grow with students from the Ringling College of Art and Design, clowns from the Circus Arts Conservatory, artists supported by the Van Wezel Foundation, and many more terrific local nonprofits. These opportunities are not only available to current K-3 students, but also to incoming kindergarteners, preparing them to enter the classroom and learn starting on day one.

Reflecting our multi-generational philosophy, parents are also enriched through the Summer Learning Academies. Once a week, parents and family members of the students take part in an evening session together called “Parent University.” These classes cover topics such as family wellness, career development and English education to empower parents to take an active role in their child’s education. With the whole family involved, young learners, parents and educators feel like they are a part of a connected community with a powerful shared goal.

As a testament to all the community members who make these opportunities possible, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading was recognized this year as a national pacesetter for the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. None of these achievements would’ve been possible without the energy and support of the broad coalition of community members behind the ideals of summer learning.

If you still think of Sarasota in the dog days of summer as slow and uneventful, your homework will show something different. Our community and its zeal for learning has never been livelier with Summer Learning Academies leading the charge in transforming the lives of families through education.

Roxie Jerde is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. 

Photo courtesy Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading: Students read at Sarasota's Summer Learning Academy.

[Education]  Back-to-School Planning for Long-Term Success
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

As families make back-to-school shopping lists and other preparations for a new academic year, the Education Foundation of Sarasota County (EFSC) also is endeavoring to have our strategies and activities ready to support students and teachers who will be arriving soon on school campuses.

Of course, our preparations were underway long before the summer break. Just as we encourage incoming 9th graders to look beyond just their freshman year to plan their course sequence for all of high school, we apply that same principle to our own organization’s long-term planning.

Last year we delved into the thorough, comprehensive activity of recreating our multi-year strategic framework. The exhaustive process was timely and necessary to appropriately reflect our recent pivot to focus on work grounded in and resulting from the EFSC’s College, Career and Life Readiness (CCLR) Initiative.

Our CCLR Initiative was designed in response to our organization’s intensified emphasis on and collective commitment to help prepare our students to be ready to pursue and succeed in well-chosen postsecondary pathways. In other words, we want our graduating students to be qualified and ready to flourish in college, career—and life.

Attaining that success doesn’t start in the senior year, or even in the 9th grade of high school. It begins with imbedding a readiness mindset throughout the K-12 continuum.

To that end, we reassess all of our programs and initiatives regularly to ensure they all are connected to our ultimate goal.

Take the EducateSRQ program, for example. Our signature teacher and classroom grants program, EducateSRQ is in its 29th year, having begun shortly after the EFSC was founded 31 years ago. The program is still going strong because it has been updated to keep pace with changing needs.

We keep our organizational lens focused on EducateSRQ in terms of providing the most effective resources to teachers but also to reward those schools and teachers that support innovative 21st century concepts, including immersive experiential learning.

In other new activities, we are excited to be spending our summer preparing to open our third Student Success Center at Sarasota High School (SHS) this fall.  The SHS center will join two that we piloted successfully at North Port High School and Riverview High School last school year.            The centers, which function as information and resource hubs for high school students, are hosted by partnering high schools and staffed with full-time college-career advisors who are full-time employees of the EFSC.

Data reports and student and teacher testimonials indicate the pilot Student Success Centers were embraced and utilized effectively by students and teachers. Those reports, coupled with data resulting from the ongoing implementation of Naviance, a college and career readiness platform, both validate the direction of the CCLR Initiative and provide insights for adapting curriculum and supports to further boost effectiveness.

The CCLR Initiative, with the component of life readiness receiving equal attention to the more familiar college and career components, is viewed as timely and increasingly valuable on a local and statewide level with Gov. Ron DeSantis signing House Bill 7071. The legislation mandates that school days include college and career work and aspects of social-emotional learning that are covered in our life readiness component.

With our long-term College, Career and Life Readiness Initiative already established and representing a shared vision with the Sarasota County Schools district, our partnership and work for our schools are more critical than ever.

We also are excited about the role we recently assumed as backbone organization guiding the work of the Sarasota County Local College Access Network (LCAN). The LCAN is a cross-sector, multi-partner collaborative that shares our commitment to increasing students’ college and career readiness, postsecondary access and completion for all socio-economic student groups.

We cannot and we don’t want to do all this work in isolation. Our work is done through the hands of many.

We welcome the community’s involvement. Whether it’s helping provide classroom resources, speaking about your profession in a classroom, or contributing to a Student Success Center, we need all “hands on deck” to respond to the new urgency to prepare students for the future.

Jennifer Vigne is president of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. 

Photo courtesy Education Foundation: EducateSRQ Immersive Grant in action at Ashton Elementary School where students went through a simulation of a meteor landing.

[On Politics]  Rolling Out the Carpet
Paul Caragiulo

I’ve been hearing the term “carpetbagger”* thrown around quite a lot lately. Loosely, it’s a term historically used to define someone relocated from somewhere else hoping to profit from the move. For instance “yankees” came south after the Civil War in hopes of profiting from reconstruction. Now in a broader context, it can also refer to a person who moves to an area personally and politically amenable and then a short time later runs for office.

Like many others, I shared the sentiment that one should be suspicious of any person who runs for public office in a community they are new to. It seemed natural and logical for quite a while to harbor those ideas. However, recently I came to the conclusion that on its face it’s not natural and logical. It’s actually exclusionary, elitist, parochial and intellectually lazy. I have since abandoned and replaced that philosophy with a less emotional, more practical one.

To begin with, the term is a relic from a much less tolerant time in our history, one that when applied contemporaneously holds little real value in a community where just about everyone is from somewhere else, all arriving at different times. In fact, governance in Florida can be more complicated for this very reason. By the way, if you want to be entertained regarding this read Charlie Carlson’s book Weird Florida. He was a speaker at a fantastic sustainability conference the county hosted – the guy is hilarious. I digress.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether a person running for office has spent “enough” time in the community they seek to represent. However, the law actually dictates the terms for qualification. In reality, it depends on the candidate, their story, and the office they seek as not all jobs are the same.  Issues for a city commissioner, a member of Congress, a sheriff, a tax collector and a state legislator can be very different as is the relationship with their constituents. Me, I try to simplify it. I’m looking for four things in no particular order: honesty, capability, competence and electability. It is increasing difficult to find people that have all four. Sure, I am aware that many people in our community have all four components but I also know that many of them want nothing to do with the business of running for public office. I understand why they may feel that way. I really do; it is not everyone’s “bag” – no pun intended.

But what if a so-called “carpetbagger” is honest, capable, competent and electable? Well, I say let’s help the so-called “carpetbagger” roll out their carpet in our community. Don’t worry, seldom does a candidate get off easy as some campaigns are not only long, they can be excruciating with plenty of opportunities to publicly and privately scrutinize candidates and their knowledge, or lack of and you should. That is in fact what campaigns are for.  It’s a form of consensual hazing I completely endorse, so long as it does not devolve into harassment.  If you can’t handle the stress of a campaign then you probably can’t handle the job. What’s more is that in the information age so much more information is available about candidates. I hear some of it is actually correct. 

By all means, be skeptical of candidates new to the community but be practical as well. Be receptive to the possibility that you may be impressed and decide to support a new resident for public office.

* In the history of the United States, carpetbagger was a derogatory term applied by former Confederates to any person from the Northern United States who came to the Southern states after the American Civil War; they were perceived as exploiting the local populace. The term broadly included both individuals who sought to promote Republican politics (which included the right of African Americans to vote and hold office), and those individuals who saw business and political opportunities because of the chaotic state of the local economies following the war. In practice, the term carpetbagger was often applied to any Northerner who was present in the South during the Reconstruction Era (1863–1877). – from Wikipedia 

Paul Caragiulo is a former Sarasota city and county commissioner. 

Pictured: Historic political cartoon of a carpetbagger.

[SCOOP]  Sarasota Memorial Offers Back-to-School Physicals



August means back to school time for Suncoast families. Along with school supply shopping comes the need for school-entry physicals and school sports physicals, which are not the same thing as the annual wellness exam your child's pediatrician recommends. To help parents prepare for the upcoming school year, Sarasota Memorial Urgent Care Centers are offering $20 school physicals and sports physicals to K-12 students at six convenient locations, from 8 am to 8 pm daily. 

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System

[SCOOP]  Sarasota Students Raise Funds to Build a Home in Haiti

Members of the Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) Prep middle school Interact Club selected the Haitian Health Foundation’s “Happier Houses in Haiti” program as their 2019 service project. Through fundraising at school and with the support of the Southside Rotary club, SMA Prep Interact Club members and staff raised $1,950 for the HHF organization to construct a home for a family in Haiti. The new homes built through the program include updated features like a microflush toilet which flushes a small cup of water into a cement “digester” of soil and earthworms. Every two years, organically-rich compost is removed to use as fertilizer. The homes also feature a small solar panel for lighting and a radio, and a system for water collection with a basic filtration system providing water for cooking and drinking. 

Sarasota Military Academy

[SCOOP]  Sarasota Opera's 2019-20 Season Single Tickets On Sale Now

Single tickets are on sale exclusively online at SarasotaOpera.org for the 2019-20 Season, which includes some of the company’s most popular productions: Verdi’s Rigoletto, Puccini’s La bohème, and Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, as well as the return of two celebrated works—Romeo & Juliet by Charles Gounod, and La Wally by Alfredo Catalani. Discounted four and five-opera subscriptions are still available for purchase. For more information on the upcoming 2019-2020 season, visit SarasotaOpera.org, contact the Sarasota Opera Box Office at (941) 328-1300, or visit in person at 61 North Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236. 

Sarasota Opera

[KUDOS]  Lakewood Ranch Medical Center Receives Mission: Lifeline Gold Receiving Achievement Award

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack, caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication. LWRMC earned the above award from the American Heart Association by meeting specific criteria and standards of performance for quick and appropriate treatment through emergency procedures to re-establish blood flow to blocked arteries in heart attack patients coming into the hospital directly or by transfer from another facility. 

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center

[SCOOP]  The Humane Society Looking for Foster Parents for Furry Friends

Whether they’re bottle feeding baby kittens, teaching shy dogs that humans can be trusted, or just giving an animal a quiet place to rest and recover, fosters are indispensable to The Humane Society of Sarasota County. It takes a big heart to foster, but the work is life saving and life changing. Do you think you could open your home and heart to a vulnerable pet? The first step to becoming a foster parent is to fill out an online application. Once your application is submitted, you will receive an email containing important information that will start you on your journey to becoming a foster parent. 

The Humane Society of Sarasota County

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

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