Press Release for Thursday, January 21, 2010

UNF Launches Next Generation Initiative

Joanna Norris, Assistant Director

Department of Media Relations and Events

(904) 620-2102


The Jacksonville’s Next Generation Initiative, a three-year joint venture between the Florida Institute of Education (FIE) at the University of North Florida and the UNF College of Education and Human Services, under the auspices of the Andrew A. Robinson Chair, was launched today to support the DCPS Title I Success by Design Initiative: Goal 2, Neighborhood Learning Network (NLN).


The Robinson Chair was established with a gift from the late Honorable Frederick H. Schultz as a way to strengthen public education and recognize the link between education and economic development. The purpose of Jacksonville’s Next Generation Initiative is to support the development of the NLNs to improve outside-the-classroom learning opportunities for children and their families.


“We know that family and community engagement can mitigate risk factors for children who live in high-needs neighborhoods,” said Dr. Cheryl Fountain, director of FIE at UNF. “By building neighborhood-level partnerships with identified agencies and program providers, our community can leverage resources and improve academic and developmental outcomes for our children.”


Fountain, Dr. Kathe Kasten, FIE senior research associate and UNF professor of Educational Leadership,and Dr. Janice Hunter, FIE Research Fellow for Early Learning and Literacy, will lead the Next Generation initiative. Leading the DCPS Title I Neighborhood Learning Networks, part of the District’s efforts to strengthen the PreK-Grade 3 initiative, is Myrna Amos, director, Title I Early School Readiness and Family Involvement, and Debra Keels, lead specialist for Family Involvement at the district-level Family Involvement Center.


The five inaugural NLNs are each anchored by a Title I school-based Family Involvement Center and include identified neighborhood elementary, middle and high schools. Partnerships with public libraries, community centers, after-school neighborhood-based agencies, and representatives from both the neighborhood-based units of the City of Jacksonville’s Department of Housing and Neighborhoods and the Duval County Health Department are being developed to help our children and families sustain learning gains beyond the school day and school year. Other partners will be invited to participate as the initiative gets underway. The inaugural NLNs include the following schools:


•Arlington Neighborhood Learning Network: Woodland Acres Elementary School, Arlington Middle School and Terry Parker High School

•Brentwood Neighborhood Learning Network: North Shore K-8 School and Andrew Jackson High School

•College Gardens Neighborhood Learning Network: S.P. Livingston Elementary School, Eugene Butler Middle School and Raines High School

•Eastside Neighborhood Learning Network: R.L. Brown Elementary School, Matthew Gilbert Middle School and Andrew Jackson High School

•Ribault Neighborhood Learning Network: Sallye B. Mathis Elementary School, Ribault Middle School and Ribault High School


Jacksonville’s Next Generation Initiative will provide approximately $200,000 each year for three years. Funds will be used to a) support the development of the five NLNs; b) provide technical assistance and support for development of district- and community-level partnerships; c) help establish baseline data and develop a system for tracking outcomes; d) conduct literature reviews and research to inform, document, and assess the process; and e) support collaborative efforts to secure grant funding, leverage resources, and bring effective practices to scale.