Dr. Dale Nelson is a 33-year veteran of HCPS, and over the last eight years as the administrative leader at Carver he has seen many changes. Changes in the field of education, in the District, and at the school. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the way that Carver Exceptional Center cares for its community, and how the community cares for Carver. Each year brings bigger, better, and more successful efforts at connecting Carver with the community.
In late August, Carver Exceptional Center held its first Annual School-Community Fair. In partnership with the Kingdom of Deliverance Worship Center, who rents facility space from Carver, and under the direction of their Pastors Billy and Nicci Chatman, the dual sponsors provided food, drinks, and backpacks/school supplies for approximately 85 parents and students. Twelve dozen hot dogs, a multitude of bags of chips and cans of sodas fed the attendees while they enjoyed the fair's other offerings. Two different bouncy houses kept the more than forty children happy and parents were excited to have the opportunity to win more than fifteen prizes of Walmart gift cards donated by the church's congregation. Fourteen young men enjoyed haircuts from the two of the community's professional barbers who donated their time and talents at the fair, while Dr. Nelson grilled and served the hot dogs with jokes and laughter about the new school year. The smiles on the children's faces told the real story of the day - they all went home happy and ready for the new school year! Billy Chatman, who also happens to be one of the school resource officers at Carver, hopes that this event becomes a yearly effort, and he is excited about the response from the community.
Officer Chatman, who has been at Carver for 2 years, along with Asst. Principal Tarrelle Brooks, are working together to create a mentorship program with the cooperation and involvement of the Inner-Faith Council in Tampa. Mr. Brooks, whose doctoral thesis is focused on how mentoring affects resilience in youth, and Officer Chatman, hope to harness the power of mentoring to turn the negative energy often exhibited by the students at Carver into something positive. The goal of the mentoring program, according to Officer Chatman, “is to create natural leaders by developing and cultivating the leader in each student.” Adds Dr. Nelson, “When kids connect, they want to come to school. With our Workforce programs, we help our students to find jobs, which in turn can help them break the cycle that may have brought them to Carver. A lot of our students go into retail, and are working for K-Mart, Walmart, Publix, Burger King, Wendy’s and Sam’s as a direct result of our CTE programs and the skills they are gaining, along with our therapeutic and wrap-around services.” Principal Nelson feels strongly that the school’s motto, Making a Difference One Student at a Time, is a forecast of great things to come for the youth at Carver. Carver Exceptional Center is a part of the East Tampa community, and the East Tampa community is an integral part of preparing Carver’s students for life.View Full Album