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Points of Pride

School District Placed On The College Board’s 8th Annual AP® District Honor Roll
Osceola School District is the only school district in Florida and one of only 447 school districts in the U.S. and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the 8th Annual AP® District Honor Roll. To be included on the 8th Annual Honor Roll, the Osceola School District had to, since 2015, increase the number of students participating in Advanced Placement courses while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher. Reaching these goals shows that this district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for AP.

National data from 2017 show that among American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students with a high degree of readiness for AP, only about half are participating. The first step to getting more of these students to participate is to give them access. Courses must be made available, gatekeeping must stop, and doors must be equitably opened. “The Osceola School District is committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds,” said Osceola School District Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace.

“Congratulations to all the educators and administrators in this district who have worked to clear a path for more students of all backgrounds to participate and succeed in AP,” said Trevor Packer, head of AP and Instruction for College Board. “These educators and administrators are fostering a culture in their schools and classrooms that allows students to face new challenges and build the confidence to succeed.”

Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many districts are experimenting with initiatives and strategies to see how they can expand access and improve student performance at the same time. In 2017, more than 4,000 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, or both, and/or consideration in the admissions process. Inclusion in the 8th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on a review of three years of AP data, from 2015 to 2017, looking across 38 AP Exams, including world language and culture. The following criteria were used.

Districts must:

• Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4% in large districts, at least 6% in medium districts, and at least 11% in small districts;

• Increased or maintained the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students taking exams and increased or maintained the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students scoring 3+ on at least one AP Exam; and

• Improve or maintain performance levels when comparing the 2017 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2015 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70% of its AP students earn a 3 or higher.

When these outcomes have been achieved among an AP student population in which 30% or more are underrepresented minority students (American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander) and/or 30% or more are low-income students (students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch), a symbol has been affixed to the district name to highlight this work.


Osceola School District Achieves Honorable Mention Status in Great District for Great Teachers By National Council On Teacher Quality

One of Just 4 Honorable Mentions Nationwide Chosen for Policies and Practices that Support and Encourage Great Teachers

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a national leader on teacher issues, has awarded the Osceola School District an honorable mention in its first-ever Great Districts for Great Teachers initiative. NCTQ chose the Osceola School District after a rigorous evaluation process. It was determined that the data collected proved that the Osceola School District is a national leader in developing and caring for great teachers, so that they, in turn, can deliver great instruction to their students.

Largest Number Of Osceola County Schools In History Have Earned Highest State Award For Community Involvement
Forty-four Osceola County schools have been designated as Five Star Schools, earning the Florida Department of Education's most prestigious award for community involvement. The award is presented each year to schools that have shown evidence of exemplary family, school, and community involvement. To qualify, each school must meet 100% of the state's established criteria that require the full engagement of business partners, volunteers, students, families, and School Advisory Councils in the educational process. Every Five Star School must prepare a portfolio to document how they model excellence through specific community involvement programs.
Congratulations to Osceola County’s Five Star Schools:

Elementary Schools:
Boggy Creek, Central Avenue, Chestnut Elementary School for Science and Engineering, Cypress, East Lake, Flora Ridge, Hickory Tree, Highlands, Kissimmee, Koa, Lakeview, Michigan Avenue, Mill Creek, Narcoossee, Neptune, Partin Settlement, Pleasant Hill, Poinciana, Reedy Creek, St. Cloud, Sunrise, Thacker Avenue Elementary School for International Studies, and Ventura

Middle Schools: Denn John, Discovery, Horizon, Narcoossee, Neptune, Parkway, and St. Cloud

High Schools: Celebration, Gateway, Harmony, Liberty, Osceola, PATHS, Poinciana, and St. Cloud

Multi-Level Schools: Celebration K-8, Harmony Community, The Osceola County School for the Arts, and Westside K-8

Charter Schools: Bellalago Academy and Kissimmee Charter

In addition, the largest number of Osceola schools in history have earned the Golden School Award from the Florida Department of Education, which requires twice as many adult volunteer hours as student enrollment. Every Osceola school is now a Golden School, marking the first time all Osceola schools reached this level of excellence.

National Survey Honors The Osceola School District for Pioneering Uses Of Technology
Through its annual Digital School Districts Survey, the Center for Digital Education has named the Osceola School District in the top five school districts in the nation in the large student population category for exemplary use of technology and for investing in tools for next-generation digital learners. Top-ten rankings were awarded to School Boards/districts that most fully implement technology benchmarks in the evolution of digital education.

The Osceola County School Board believes utilizing technology in the classroom is paramount to preparing students for college and careers. The district was recognized for numerous initiatives, including:

    • The deployment of laptops totaling a $1.2 million investment this year to support state testing and student success.

    • The upgrade of 12 remaining schools to high-capacity wireless this school year.

    • The successful implementation of all online student assessments across the district with minimal issues.

    • The creation and implementation of the only award-winning K-12 STEM Mobile Lab in the nation.

“This ranking is validation that the Osceola School District continues to successfully integrate technology for innovative curriculum and improved student learning,” said Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace. “Technology remains an essential tool for our school district’s continued improvement efforts as the district moves from good to great.”

Three High Schools In Osceola County To Participate In College Board’s AP Capstone® Program
New for the 2017-2018 school year, Poinciana High, St. Cloud High, and The Osceola County School for the Arts in Osceola County are implementing AP Capstone®, an innovative diploma program that allows students to develop the skills that matter most for college success: research, collaboration, and communication. Developed in direct response to feedback from higher education faculty and college admission officers, AP Capstone complements the in-depth, subject-specific study of other Advanced Placement courses and exams offered at the schools.

Osceola School District Partners with BRIDG for SEMI High Tech University’s High School Workforce Development Program
With the Osceola School District serving as a key driver for diverse economic development in the Central Florida region, the Osceola County School Board and Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace have greatly expanded the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum being taught in schools so that it directly aligns with workforce needs now and in the future. The district’s newest STEM initiative is SEMI High Tech University (SEMI HTU), making Osceola the first school district in Florida to partner with the SEMI Foundation for their internationally-acclaimed high-tech career exploration program for high school students. Participating students have the unique opportunity to visit BRIDG, a SEMI High Tech University host and sponsor, for hands-on workshops facilitated by BRIDG technology staff and industry partners to learn about various pathways from school to advanced manufacturing and technology careers, in such areas as advanced sensors, optics, and photonics. In addition to the student program, a teacher program will connect the classroom experience to careers in technology for educators. These students and teachers will investigate how high-tech STEM solutions are used to solve real-world problems, to enhance student’s perceptions about STEM, and to generate excitement for world-class, high-tech jobs in the local area.

This program will be available to qualified students and teachers at no cost to them and serve as the pilot program for the Central Florida region. The Osceola County SEMI HTU Program is funded by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council and the Osceola County Education Foundation. Additional hosts and sponsors making this event possible also include the Osceola School District’s Career and Technical Education Department, IMEC, Mercury Marine, NeoCity/Osceola County Government, and the University of Central Florida. SEMI Foundation is part of SEMI, the global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chain for the micro- and nano-electronics industries. For more information, visit www.SEMI.org.

Osceola County Ranks Lowest In State On Administrative Expenditures Per Student
The Osceola School District once again ranked 67th out of 67 Florida school districts in administrative expenditures per student in a ranking of the 2015-2016 school year by the Florida Department of Education. While the state average was $556.56 per student for administrative costs, which includes school administration and district support functions among other things, Osceola spent only $442.32 per student, placing priority on spending taxpayers’ money where it best impacts children.

Osceola Schools Superintendent Named One Of Orlando Business Journal’s 2017 Women Who Mean Business
Osceola School District Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace has been honored, along with a group of 23 other dynamic Central Florida female leaders, with the 2017 Women Who Mean Business recognition by the Orlando Business Journal. Top businesswomen in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Volusia, and Brevard counties were nominated for their outstanding leadership for the recognition.

Financial Recognition Given To Osceola County School Board For District's Fiscal Responsibility
Fitch Ratings has completed a review of The School District of Osceola County’s outstanding sales tax bonds, resulting in an upgrade from ‘A’ to ‘AA-‘. The District’s issuer default rating was also confirmed at ‘AA-‘. These bond ratings reflect the district’s strong financial position, and the upgrade represents lower perceived risk for district investors. Higher bond ratings translate into a lower cost of borrowing funds for the district. These types of financial recognition are important to ensure to taxpayers that the district is fiscally responsible and accountable.

 

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