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K-12 Advocates and Partners

The University of North Florida is not only committed to the education of its students, but also to improving the educational opportunities of students in elementary and secondary classrooms throughout the region. 


The Florida Institute of Education (FIE) is hosted by the University of North Florida. The Center serves to improve public education in Florida through problem-solving, research, evaluation, and program development.
FIE Partnerships

Success by Design

Duval County Public Schools and FIE are working together to develop a well-coordinated system to improve children’s achievement, promote family engagement, and provide important support services across the preschool through grade 3 early education years.

Don Brewer Early Learning and Professional Development Center

FIE and The Don Brewer Center collaborative partnership focuses its research efforts on significantly improving the readiness outcomes of children living in low-income neighborhoods. Activities include developing, field-testing, and disseminating strategies and tools that can be used by school readiness practitioners to create and sustain a high-quality, child-focused, results-driven school readiness system.

Florida Head Start State Collaboration Office

FIE hosts the Florida Head Start State Collaboration Office. The office supports and improves collaboration between Head Start and other providers of educational, medical, and social services in Florida.

Jacksonville Early Literacy Partnership

Mayor John Peyton of Jacksonville appointed a group of child- and family-focused agencies, including FIE, to develop and implement a strategy to improve the school readiness of Jacksonville’s children by focusing on quality early care and learning.

Safe, Disciplined, and Drug-Free Schools Project

FIE has collaborated with the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) for over ten years to provide technical assistance throughout Florida school districts promoting safe, disciplined, and drug-free schools. The project is designed to provide alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use and violence prevention education initiatives for schools and school districts.

The Sunshine State Scholars Program

A statewide collaborative effort among FIE, the FLDOE, 67 school districts, and higher education faculty and public school educators across Florida. The program recognizes and rewards exemplary performance of high school seniors and their teachers in the areas of mathematics and the sciences.

Working with Teachers

The College of Education and Human Services has several programs that involve the teachers of our community. The SOAR Program, or Supporters of Academic Rigor, is an in-service school counselor training program.31 Additionally, every student in the College participates in one urban field experience with Duval County Public Schools. The college also coordinates the Gladys Prior Awards for Career Teaching Excellence, awarded to teachers who have at least ten years of teaching experience in a Duval County public or private school.

Faculty members from the English department participated in the First Coast Scholars Program in partnership with the Shultz Center, Duval County Public Schools, and Jacksonville University to generate university-taught seminars for in-service credit for Duval County school teachers. The work will be published on the Shultz Center's website Riverdeep, available for use by other teachers in Duval County.


FIE Programs for Teachers include the following:

The Early Literacy and Learning Model/Plus (ELLM/Plus)  | ELLM Website

ELLM/Plus is a research-based, comprehensive curriculum for three-, four-, and five-year-old preschool children. FIE provides training sessions for teachers, customized training sessions, and training for low performing readiness providers. FIE also provides resources, models, and support components to more effectively implement ELLM/Plus in preschool classrooms in Jacksonville and across Florida.

Strategic Coaching

FIE Strategic Coaching helps build capacity of teachers and address the school readiness gap between children living in poverty and their more affluent peers. Initially, the model focused on improving teacher skills in the areas of reading aloud, oral language, letter/sound knowledge, phonological awareness, and emergent writing. The model has now been expanded to address learning in the content areas of math, science, social studies, and the arts. The model also focuses on developing teacher skills in using conceptual development and teacher-child interactions.

Working with Students

Through the first and second phases of this project, 30 programs devoted to working with and enhancing the educational experiences of elementary and secondary school students across Northeast Florida were identified.

The Community Outreach Council at UNF held several programs that worked with students in Northeast Florida. These programs included an after-school literacy program in public schools on the Northside, the Art and Youth Initiative, and the Egg Drop Competition. The Art and Youth Initiative brought at-risk students to UNF to attend programs at the Fine Arts Center. The Egg Drop Competition was in conjunction with the Engineering department, and allowed at-risk students to team up with engineering students in the competitions.

UNF also provides several summer camps for Jacksonville area children. These include a Music Performance Camp, the Rick Wilkins Foundation Baseball Clinic, and First Tee clinics at the Hayt Golf Learning Center.


Joe Berg Society

Sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences since 2003, it is a high school honor society for the Humanities and Sciences that offer seminars in each track and requires community service. There are approximately 100 students from the Jacksonville area participating at any given time.

Minorities in Medicine

The UNF PreMed Program and Mayo Clinic sponsor this annual symposium to provide high school students with information for students interested in medical careers. The symposium includes information and workshops on college admissions and regional medical schools.

"Make the Connection" Program

An academic enrichment and career exploration program, “Make the Connection” offers field trips, in-class activities, and group discussions with professional and student engineers for K-12 students in the greater Jacksonville area.

Geotechnical Engineering Earth Science Outreach, or Project GEO

Project GEO is an ongoing mentoring program with a local high school that pairs honors earth science students with an engineering professor. The students meet at UNF on Saturday mornings to work on projects developed by their high school teacher and UNF faculty.

Nutrition Education Program

An English faculty member and Nutrition faculty member run an ongoing nutrition education program that incorporates nutrition education classes at UNF. The program includes the faculty teaching at the elementary school, a "tasting program" for elementary students, and is in the process of developing a bi-monthly physical education aspect. It has spread to four local elementary schools, and now includes parent workshops.


Working with Pre K-12 Families

The Florida Institute of Education has implemented a number of programs to work with families to actively increase their participation in their children’s learning process.

FIE Family Engagement

Early Learning Community

The Early Learning Community is a neighborhood-level, collaborative partnership designed for families of preschool and kindergarten age children. It is anchored by an elementary school and includes families from neighborhood childcare centers, school readiness and Title 1 programs, neighborhood public libraries, and a university research group.

FIE Literacy through the Arts

This is a family engagement program offered as a component of the Early Learning Opportunities Act Bringing Education and Support to Teachers, Parents, and Children (BEST) Project. The Family Get-Togethers: Literacy Through the Arts program was a series of six, two hour workshops hosted by neighborhood organizations that included childcare centers, churches, elementary schools, and public libraries. The workshops provided opportunities for families with three- and four-year-old children to engage in arts and literacy experiences. Four literacy-oriented art series were offered: Dance and Movement, Drama and Storytelling, Music, and Visual Arts.

Jacksonville PreCollegiate Connections

This program is a collaboration among the FLDOE, the University of North Florida, FIE, Duval County Public Schools, and Paxon Middle and Eugene Butler Middle Schools. The goal is to increase the number of students living in low-income communities who are prepared for, enter, and succeed in post-secondary education programs. The program works with sixth grade students after school who are committed to embarking on a college bound path. UNF college students serve as Learning Guides/Mentors and work with middle school students each week. The program includes a family component that engages them in supporting academic achievement, builds social networks, and increases their understanding of the importance of post-secondary education.

Tours and Field Trips for Teachers and Students

UNF offers a resource to the schools as a destination for educational field trips. For example, the Engineering department provides opportunities for children and teachers to come and work first-hand with students and professors. The Fine Arts Center incorporates programming into its schedule that is geared toward school audiences.32 Additionally, UNF SIFE created a program for students from Raines High School to tour the UNF Trading Room and participate in the Goldman Sachs Capital Market Workshop. The program earned UNF SIFE the Goldman Sachs Capital Market Education award.



* See Appendix A for a complete list