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Tuesday September 30th 2014

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Web Extra: Think Beyond Celebrates Innovation in Education

Article sponsored by Think Beyond
By Christian Wagley

It’s often said that an excellent educational system is one of the foundations of a healthy and thriving community. In recognition, the local non-profit group Think Beyond is honoring the innovative people and programs that are confronting disparities in education and moving Pensacola toward a better future.

Think Beyond’s first dialogue of 2014 is “Education: Who’s Doing It Right.” It’s a great opportunity to meet some of the local educators who are succeeding in even the most difficult of circumstances, and to participate in an active discussion about how to advance their efforts in our community.
Featured speakers include:

Denny Wilson, principal of Oakcrest Elementary School, where over a five-year period the school moved its grade from an “F” to a “B” under the State’s FCAT system. Oakcrest and its dedicated teachers and staff use positive strategies, community involvement, and regular recognition of contributions by faculty and staff, to help create a culture of success. The school’s motto: “Every Student…Every Day…Whatever It Takes,” is a daily reminder of Oakcrest’s winning attitude .

Casandra Waller is a physical education teacher whose many accomplishments include two Presidential Awards for wellness initiatives and McArthur Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year. “Waller’s Wonderful World of Wellness” is the happy and colorful intersection of physical fitness, gardening, and wellness that she brings to her students.

Regina Davis is the academic manager at Pace Center for Girls, an alternative education and counseling program for girls ages 11-18. The school creates individualized curricula for each student, and celebrates each achievement—no matter how small. Even hand-written notes are used to encourage students and to continually remind them that they have the full support of the teachers. Ms Davis will share how PACE Center is impacting young girls lives and in turn impacting our community.

Following presentations the audience will break into smaller groups with each of the speakers and hold informal discussions about what’s working and how to expand opportunities to reach  more of the community. These small group dialogues are the heart of the event, allowing for open and relaxed conversation that helps to grow and spread these succesful efforts.

“As the daughter of public school teachers I’ve seen firsthand the countless hours spent readying classrooms, hanging art work, coaching extracurriculars….Our speakers are not only doing these basics, but have implemented innovative programs that are truly making a difference,” said Jessie Bell, Think Beyond board member and one of the organizers of the dialogue on education.

Think Beyond’s mission is to educate, connect, inspire and develop a sustainable Pensacola through a diverse community that networks, explores, and acts to promote environmental, social, and economic innovation.

Education: Who’s Doing It Right
February 27
Pensacola Museum of Art
Refreshments Begin At 5:00 p.m.
, Program 5:30-7:00 p.m.
A community dialogue sponsored by Think Beyond—www.thinkbeyond.org