The St. Lucie County School District is providing excellence in education to students and families. In fact, educators from other districts in Florida, from around the country, and indeed the world have come to St. Lucie to see our innovation and effect on student learning. As evidence, the bold partnership between the school district and global education publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, that will bring millions of dollars' worth of services and employment to the county, the associations with Vaccine Gene Therapy Institute and FAU/Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, where students work side by side with world class scientists, the veterinarian academy under the direction of a local veterinarian, an aeronautical engineering academy partnering with Embry Riddle University and an award winning manufacturing academy are just several examples of the enhancements, distinction and value provided to students every day in St. Lucie County schools – and literally nowhere else.
St. Lucie Public Schools students excel in regional and national science and history fairs, career/technical education and performing arts competitions, as well as the continuing trend in overall improved student performance and achievement across the school district. In the last decade, the graduation rate in St. Lucie County high schools has increased by 11 per cent, nearly five times the national average, the dropout rate continues to decline, the achievement gap between students of differing demographics has shrunk. The number of A schools in the district has nearly doubled and the district grade in the state's A++ plan is shy only 13 points out of 525 for an A. Just in the last two years, graduates have earned over $37 million dollars in scholarships to some of the nation's most prestigious colleges and universities, including the service academies, which are extremely limited and require a U. S. senator's recommendation.
With a skyrocketing student population, over the last eight years, the district constructed nearly $800,000,000.00 in new facilities, including two new state-of-the-art high schools and four K-8 schools, and equipped over 1,800 classrooms with advanced learning technologies. Professional Development continues to target differentiated instruction, higher order thinking activities, technology resources, and multiple, concrete experiences designed to enhance students' learning. The department has developed a menu of online courses for the convenience of all employees to improve their performance.
St. Lucie Public Schools strives for public awareness and involvement. "Learn About Your Schools Day" is an event that has been held for last three years wherein hundreds of area CEOs, civic, business and community leaders have been invited to visit the school of their choice to see classrooms and student learning firsthand. The event was specifically designed to dispel the inaccurate, uninformed opinion espoused by many who had not been in a St. Lucie County public school for years – if ever! They witnessed the radical improvement in student performance, data driven decision making by school administrators, curriculum paths directly tied to economic development and careers, and innovation in classroom instruction. Participants overwhelmingly praised what they saw and heard, and universally remarked, "I had no idea!"
The landscape of public education in Florida is vastly – and swiftly – changing. New standards for achieving proficiency on standardized tests, along with a more difficult, rigorous test, and new assessment tools for teachers and administrators have been initiated at the same time beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year. While St. Lucie Public Schools does not shrink from the challenge – though supported with ever shrinking revenues from the state legislature – the district prepared a video to enlighten parents and the extended community about these legislated changes and the potential impact to St. Lucie and each school district in Florida. Please take a few minutes to view the video in its entirety – particularly with the student voices and what those voices say.
For additional school information, visit www.stlucie.k12.fl.us.