News Features

News features

New South Florida school relies on the arts, confidence building to help students succeed

Peek inside a classroom at The Foundations School and you’re likely to see the following: Kids producing their own play, complete with simple costumes. Kids plunging their fingers into clay to create an object that might be mentioned in a story. Kids singing along with a professional musician strumming a[Read More…]

The ‘education machine’ made this educator leave teaching – then she founded her own school

Editor’s note: Denisha Merriweather, director of family engagement at the American Federation for Children and founder of Black Minds Matter, recently interviewed Arianne Craig Jolla, who had dreamed of being a teacher since she was in fourth grade. Frustrated with school administrators who expected her to “teach to the test,”[Read More…]

Florida Virtual School teachers learned along with their students during the pandemic

When the coronavirus pandemic shuttered brick and mortar schools and fueled a rush to online education in the spring of 2020, Florida Virtual School stepped up, investing $4.3 million in an expansion that allowed it to serve 2.7 million students by May. As COVID-19 cases soared over the summer and[Read More…]

Small-town parents leading on education choice

Surrounded by orange groves, Wauchula, Fla., the Cucumber Capital of the World, would seem an odd perch to check out the future of public education. But that’s exactly what little Florida towns like this one are offering. Wauchula, population 5,001, is home to homeschool mom Sandra Shoffner and her 6-year-old[Read More…]

Choice, curriculum and a promising path to better readers

LEESBURG, Fla. – It’s not that Theresa Chang’s sons, Liam and Joshua, didn’t like books before. It’s just that now they’re infatuated to the point of feuding. The fourth-grader and fifth-grader are gravitating to more books, more advanced books, and yes, sometimes even squabbling over books one or the other[Read More…]

American Federation For Children future leader Hunter Hickson on consistent action, service to others

Editor’s note: This profile is the fourth in a series featuring former Florida Tax Credit Scholarship recipients who are included in the 2020 cohort of the American Federation For Children’s Future Leaders Fellowship. Despite growing up as one of four children in a single-parent household, Hunter Hickson had no idea[Read More…]

Innovative program charts smooth course for at-risk youth

You easily could overlook the once-abandoned, two-story building tucked away on an industrial stretch off 22nd Avenue N in St. Petersburg. Beyond the chain-link face running alongside it, motorists whoosh past on I-275, oblivious to the renovated historic, red-brick structure. Dating back nearly 100 years, it’s soon to be the[Read More…]

American Federation for Children future leader Nanya Morris-El on the importance of role models in beating the odds

Editor’s note: This profile is the third in a series featuring former Florida Tax Credit Scholarship recipients who are included in the 2020 cohort of the American Federation For Children’s Future Leaders Fellowship. Ask Nanya Morris-El the secret of his success and he’ll respond without hesitation: powerful role models and[Read More…]