The recent One X One event brought together educators,
administrators, those in political office, clergy, community
activists, parents and students; from elementary education
to higher education, coming together in unity and solidarity
to celebrate public education and the achievements of
educators and administrators in Duval County Public Schools.
The presence of over 500 in attendance showed the diversity
of and support for public education in Jacksonville, Florida.
Stated from Superintendent Dr. Vitti, “Education is the great
Having attended as a Delegate and using Social Media to share
the event, the One X One conference for several years the energy
was strong in establishing the seriousness and significance in the
importance to sustain and strengthen public education. This is
my 26th year teaching in public education and 11th teaching in
higher education, witnessing the thrust to show that educators
are important and respected helps in building pride in a career
that is sometimes volatile in funding and positive recognition.
The educational process starts from home, if parents do not prepare
their children for the rigors of the educational environment, students
will be behind before formal education starts. Dr. Vitti (Supt. of Duval
County Public Schools) observation that,” teachers are sometimes a
scapegoat for student failure – parents have a responsibility to prepare
their children for the educational process.”
This reinforces that parents are their children’s first teachers and they
(parents) set the tone for the value of education in their homes and
even in their communities.
Public education is under attack from those with their own political
and in some cases religious ideologies that seek to divide communities
and spread a message of separation and division of intellectual abilities.
Those that seek to divide and weaken public education are in many
ways promoting the “have and have not” mentality instead of an
inclusive, holistic and fundamental engagement of improving a system
that is not perfect, but has provided a means for children to grow in
many cases beyond their parents educational, social and economic
levels. Children that have grown and advanced through public education
into adulthood have achieved historic levels of advancement in disciplines
that children years before could only dream of, the growth of STEAM has
long reaching academic influences, with well qualified educators, active
and involved administrators and the necessary support personnel from
secretaries to custodian’s children are rising and excelling through
The experience of the One X One conference shows that the best
investment America can make is in public education teachers.
Mayor Alvin Brown, the first African American Mayor in the history of
Jacksonville, Florida whose children attend schools in Duval County
Public Schools, the Superintendent of DCPS Dr. Nicoli Vitti whose
children also attend public schools shows that no matter the political
engagement or attainment of educational status or position, public
education provides the necessary foundation for career success and
It can be seen in Jacksonville how well we are educating our children
in each community, each block and each household. Growing and
thriving communities have a value for education, those communities
struggling often have struggling schools and struggling families.
The involvement of students from elementary to higher education in
decision making in curriculum and management shows that including
students provides them the opportunity to contribute to the learning
environment, thus changing from a teacher centered to a student
centered learning institution that encourages learning outside of the
classroom. Students and parents can voice their concerns, share
their observations, become involved and celebrate
their successes, but must be actively involved. If parents are not
involved then they have no say in how the school is managed.
Encouraging future educators like the young men in the “Call Me Mister”
program at the HBCU Edward Waters College where young African American
men are preparing to be the next generation of educators that will work to
meet the educational needs of a growing diversity of
African American and Hispanic students.
The One X One conference was a gathering of celebrations for
increased graduation rates for students, the continued integration
and implementation of new technologies that manage student data
for learning, supporting parents to be advocates for education; even
those that have made mistakes in the criminal justice system that
have children in DCPS can still check on their children remotely,
through telephone conferencing, email or other adaptable technologies
to help parents still be parents proudly and with dignity. Sensitive areas
of bullying, mental health, the safety of schools and addressing potential
violence because of societal challenges are areas of reflection and planning.
Northeast Florida struggles with youth mental health as seen in statistics
that Northeast Florida out paces the rest of the state in juvenile suicides
The Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF) has provided a wealth of
information concerning public education and the need for a strong public
educational foundation. There are places that need modification, no
educational institution no matter what country is perfect, with the
continued collaboration of schools with community resources, the
cooperation of parents working with teachers and administrators and
the listening ears of leadership and legislature to seasoned educators
and active parents and guardians children will be prepared for the diversity
of a world that is changing exponentially in many career areas.
From STEM to STEAM to STREAM to CSTEAM, and the areas of higher
academia students of Duval County Public Schools are receiving high
quality educational opportunities. Preparing students for real world careers
that have local, national and global influences.
Many students like Taylor Richardson are being prepared for leadership
in STEAM as she prepares for a promising career in space exploration in
the engineering field. Her mother is proactive as many parents are in setting
up opportunities for learning and advocating education outside of the class.
Taylor was the only student in DCPS that attended Space Camp in Alabama
last summer, receiving credits and resources that are literally out of this
world through NASA. She and other students of African American and
Hispanic backgrounds are growing and changing the landscape of careers
once lacking in African American and Hispanics. Girls are gaining in influence,
African American and Hispanic children are gaining hope to excel past their
parents by preparing for higher education, technical schools and vocational
schools that offer lucrative careers that embrace new technologies and
building thought leaders.
The efforts of One X One are showing the transformative power of public
Intellectualism is being embraced and celebrated for all children in DCPS
to prepare for the next Mayors like Mayor Alvin Brown, Superintendents
like Dr. Vitti, business leader like Mr. Anthony Butler of E3 Business Group,
HBCU Presidents like Nat Glover or like President Obama and others in
positions of leadership. “Education is the foundation of progressive and
vibrant societies. “ William Jackson
Where will education take your children is dependent on how involved and
actively engaged parents are and willing to work with teachers and
administrators. Parents should set high expectations and work with their
children to rise to meet and exceed them.
Jacksonville Educational Event
Real Talk.. Real Change “Is It Me??”
A serious discussion on mental health and its effects in the
Jacksonville, Florida community. A free event provided by E3 Business Group
of Northeast Florida.
One By One – Jacksonville Public Education Foundation
Mental Health America Northeast Florida Chapter
Nemours Kids Health