This year marks the start of a new approach to education in Duval County with the creation of the Edward H. White Military Academy of Leadership, Duval County’s first “community school.”
The University of North Florida is one of three partners working with the school system to address social, emotional and academic challenges facing students in the county.
Pam Chally, dean of the Brooks College of Health at UNF, explained the concept.
“The terminology ‘community school,’ she said, “is really intended to go way beyond the borders of the high school itself. So it will be the families and maybe individuals who don’t have students here at Ed White, but just to make the community stronger for our children”
Chally said UNF is looking at data generated by a community needs assessment to figure out exactly what services will be offered at the school.
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said the new magnet/outreach program is the best way to reverse Ed White High School’s falling enrollment and improve its 67 percent graduation rate, the lowest in the district.
So, in addition to English, math and military-history classes, Vitti said, the school will house a public health clinic “where parents and students and the greater community can access that health care so that we can reduce truancy; we can increase attendance rates; we can improve discipline rates because we’ll be addressing the whole child, not just focus on the academics.”
Agape Community Health Center and the Children’s Home Society of Florida are also helping out.