As the new school year approaches, the Communities In Schools of Jacksonville staff participated in two days of training to prepare for their upcoming roles in impacting dropout prevention. Hosted by UNF’s College of Education and Dr. Larry Daniel, Dean of the college and CIS Jacksonville board member, the theme for training, “Inspire, Engage, Educate,” emphasized the approach the staff should have when they enter their field of work.
Wednesday, August 1st, was the first day of training and was filled with team building activities, guest speakers and some fun. Walking into a large room at the Education Building on UNF’s campus, staff was treated to the Communities In Schools color scheme in the form of table covers, hanging stars and sparkling centerpieces. Surrounding the room were the three focus words of the training: Inspire, Engage, Educate.
After breakfast and a welcoming introduction by Eric Daniel Johnson, director of TEAM UP, the staff participated in a team building activity where they pieced together the Communities In Schools mission statement, listened to Communities In Schools of Jacksonville CEO Jon Heymann speak on his vision for the upcoming school year, Principal Evan Daniels of Matthew Gilbert on the CIS model, made pledges to the United Way campaign, and listened to JSO Detectives Only and Leavens speak on Sexual Abuse and Child Abuse.
Thursday, August 2nd, it didn’t take long for the morning to begin. Elizabeth Cline, wife of CIS Jacksonville board member Dr. Charles Cline and an inspiring successful woman, empowered the staff with words of inspiration and closed out her encouragement with a napkin flailing Caribbean dance party. She was followed by another inspiring woman in education, Jackie Byrd, Chief of Schools for Duval County Public Schools. She was a principal at Reynolds Lane Elementary when the TEAM UP program started and has supported the CIS mission since, telling the staff to “keep doing what they are doing.”
Rounding out the speakers on day two was Cheryl Heymann, wife of CEO Jon Heymann and teacher of the year at Fruit Cove Middle School. Mrs. Heymann spoke to the staff about themselves, not the students, and how to not forget about the “me” as they work with at-risk students.
The training day would not have been complete without AWESOME raffle prizes ($50 Publix Gift Card, One Night Stay at the Crowne Plaza, just to name a few), wonderfully prepared lunches City Kidz Food Science Education Lab in downtown Jacksonville, a program for inner city high school students that teaches food sciences and takes them from the classroom to the supermarket shelves, and award recognitions for the hard work and dedication to the students they serve.
An inspiring, engaging and educating two days has influenced an outstanding staff that will enter a new school year, ready to make a massive positive difference, for the greatest number of children, in the shortest period of time.