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Pinellas County Public Schools Team Up With Local CEOs

Pinellas County School principals are getting some extra advice from local business leaders.
The cohorts gathered in Largo Wednesday to share what they’ve learned as part of a statewide education initiative.

The Executive PASS program teams a business leader and principal for a school year in an effort to improve school and student performance.  The program operates in about 125 schools in four Florida counties.

Lori Matway is an Associate Superintendent with Pinellas County Schools and manages the district’s Executive PASS program. The former teacher says the corporate sector can provide educators with a fresh perspective.  

“We are really good at the operational, but not necessarily about the other parts of running a million dollar business," she said. "These are million dollar schools and so we have seen some amazing relationships and really building the schools’ capacity with parent involvement and student achievement and what we can do as a community to build our schools.”

Principals from several low performing schools credited the initiative for implementing programs to improve school attendance and for launching mentoring programs.

LakishaFalana is the principal at Maximo Elementary School in South St. Petersburg. Her school recently partnered with architectural firm Harvard Jolly. She says the PASS partnership is doing a good job of helping her provide needed resources to students.

"It lets my kids know about career choices," she said. "It also lets them establish a rapport with our business partner as well as mentors that we will be picking up as a result of this partnership."

Falana says the aim is to make students aware of career options they may not have been exposed to.

The Executive PASS program operates in 34 schools in Pinellas County program and was created by the Council for Educational Change based in Weston.

The summit comes on the heels of a civil rights investigation by the U.S Department of Education into whether the Pinellas County School District discriminates against black children.

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