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Foundation for Rural Education Excellence
Supporting Academic Achievement in
Rural Northeast Florida Communities
November 2017 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.
Recognizing Distinguished Practices
The purpose of the Distinguished Practices Award is to recognize the exceptional instructional practices of educators in the FREE/NEFEC region. Many outstanding educators in our region are embracing and overcoming challenges and achieving exemplary student performance. This special recognition and coordinating teacher leadership experience will put a lens on specific, distinguished instructional practices. Through specific professional learning activities, we will spotlight the practices in order to build capacity of educators throughout the region. This quarter's award recipients are Jeanna Norman, Mark Harrison, and Traci Stidham from Lake Butler Elementary School in Union County. Click on the link below to find out more about their distinguished practices.

Traci Stidham
Mark Harrison
Jeanna Norman
NEFEC Connect: Regional Learning Communities

One of the challenges in rural education is location. Many educators in these geographically isolated areas may be the only person within an entire district teaching a specific subject, thereby limiting the options for differentiated professional learning and collaboration with colleagues teaching the same classes.

NEFEC Connect is a set of cross-district, regional learning communities created to support the facilitation of professional networking and innovative collaboration that is crucial to the support, growth, and ultimate retention of educators in small and rural districts. This series differs from many other professional learning opportunities in that teacher empowerment and teacher leadership are foundational ideas in these communities. “It is so nice to attend professional learning that I choose and that is created to truly meet my needs. I am being treated like the professional that I am,” shared one educator on a recent NEFEC Connect evaluation.

For the consortium, this program began in 2015 when NEFEC staff and district instructional leaders set out to design professional learning that would meet the unique needs of educators in small and rural districts. Together, they sought to create opportunities that would be relevant, cost-effective, and impactful to educators across multiple districts. FREE is a proud partner with this innovative project that recently won the Florida Association of Staff Development’s Outstanding Professional Learning Practices Award.
Featured Partner
Fuel Up to Play 60
FREE is proud to partner with Florida Dairy Farmers to promote an in-school physical activity and nutrition program created by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League (NFL). To learn more about this program and other resources available to schools, click on the link below:

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:

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Foundation for Rural Education Excellence
(352) 317-0621
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