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Foundation for Rural Education Excellence
Supporting Academic Achievement in
Rural Northeast Florida Communities
January 2018 Newsletter
The Foundation for Rural Education Excellence, a registered 501 (C)(3) organization, was founded in 1998 to facilitate philanthropic support for rural school districts of the   North East Florida Educational Consortium (NEFEC): Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Nassau, Putnam, Suwannee and Union Counties as well as Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and PK Yonge Developmental Research School. Working collaboratively, our mission is to enhance academic success and career opportunities for rural students in northeast Florida.
FREE Helps Union County Acquire Matching Grant
Pictured L to R: Shay Starling; Julee Ricketson, UCHS Reading Coach; Shanna Taylor, LBES Math Coach; Mark Harrision, LBES 3rd Grade Teacher (Mentor); Lindsay Harrison, LBES Reading Coach; Stacey Rimes District Administrator & Project Coordinator.
The Union County School Board recently recognized instructional coaches and district personnel involved in a matching grant through the the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) . Mr. Shay Starling, representing the Foundation for Rural Education Excellence (FREE), presented the district with a check for $25,067.08 to be used for teacher professional development. The Board thanked the administrative team who helped write the grant, and the instructional coaches for their efforts in securing the grant and for their plans to put the funds to good use!

The Florida Legislature appropriates funds for the CFEF Matching Grant program each year. Local education foundations from Florida's 67 school districts are eligible to apply.
NEFEC Coaching Cadre Meeting
Thirty-six instructional coaches from seven school districts attended NEFEC's Coaching Cadre on January 19, 2018.

´╗┐These coaches explored: standards to empower educators through quality professional learning and support; standards-based instruction using the Instructional Planning Guide (IPG); innovative technology tools; and content focus report data visualizations.

Coaches were given time and resources to begin planning and creating targeted, quality professional learning sessions for teachers in their schools and districts. Professional learning that encourages teachers to have a voice and choice, provides them with quality feedback during new learning implementation, and that occurs over time, has a significantly higher probability of teacher implementation and student growth.
A Fresh Start with FREE Board of Directors
The new FREE Board of Directors held its first meeting on January 17, 2018, in Jacksonville at the offices of Foley & Lardner. Current members are: Charlie Hood, Rayonier; Phillip Pritchett, Pritchett Trucking; Kevin Hyde, Foley and Lardner; Jeff Simmons, Florida Power & Light; Dr. Patrick Wnek, NEFEC; and Andy Cheney, Ameris Bank.

These board members attended secondary school in rural northeast Florida school districts and understand the challenges we face. Currently, Putnam, Union, Gilchrist, Columbia and Suwannee Counties are represented. If you know of anyone that has a passion for helping our rural school districts, please have them contact Judy Boles at : jeboles@bellsouth.net . The next Board meeting is scheduled for February 28, 2018, in Lake Butler, Florida.  

We are also very interested in hearing from local education foundations in northeast Florida regarding all of the successes they are having. If you have news you'd like to share, please send a write up and pictures to:  starlings@nefec.org .

Featured Partner
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Upcoming Events
20th Annual Golf Tournament
FREE's annual golf tournament is scheduled for April 6, 2018, at The Palatka Golf Club. For more information or to register to play, click on the link below:

Foundation for Rural Education Excellence
(352) 317-0621
foundationruraled@gmail.com
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