More than 150 guests attended the Imagine Gala, a fundraiser for Mort Elementary School held May 6 at the Tampa Bay History Center. In all, $126,000 was raised which will support the Mort Elementary Teacher Leadership Academy, the after-school program and other school programs.
In August of 2016, Mort Elementary became a full-service, community school that is focused on meeting the needs of students and families through partnerships and community agency support. In addition to providing a quality education, the school also provides daily basic needs such as food, shelter, medical and dental needs, mental health services and parenting classes.
The goal is to improve the overall health and well-being of students and their families through the help of outside agencies and organizations.
The Teacher Leadership Academy (TLA) with the University of South Florida is a shining example of this community partnership. TLA is four-year program is designed to provide professional development opportunities and advanced certification to teachers, which has seen positive results in transforming student success.
Other partners include the Children’s Home Society of Florida, Tampa Family Health Centers, University Area Community Development Corporation, Tampa Innovation Alliance, Van Dyke Church, and Florida Hospital as well as many other generous funders and contributors.
“My staff are fully vested in the Community School model, and frequently communicate with all stakeholders. I think our students and families are beginning to realize that any problem they are facing can be addressed, and in some cases solved by the school. When parents and students feel supported and listened to, we begin to see positive changes,” said Principal Woodland Johnson.
School leaders are glad to see that this unique model is taking shape and impacting the lives of students and families.
“You can see the progress in the community cohesiveness at the school,” said School Board Chair Cindy Stuart. “When you visit Mort you not only see students learning, but you witness the growth of teachers as leaders, parents as educators and gracious community leaders giving back.”
To learn more about Mort, a Community School or to become a partner in Mort’s success, please contact Mr. Woodland Johnson, Principal at 813.975.7373.