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Academic Achievement

Creating equitable opportunities for students to excel

Academic achievement is the bedrock of any educational experience. Improving attainment levels, especially for those students with the greatest achievement gaps, is pivotal to the Pinellas Education Foundation’s work. That’s why we strive to support highly effective teachers and principals.

Closing the gender achievement gap in Pinellas County

What is the gender achievement gap?

A gender achievement gap can occur when the traditional classroom environment is more advantageous for girls or boys. Decisions about curricular content, behavior management and the structure of the school day are all factors contributing to how different genders succeed.

How do educators play a role?

The Pinellas Education Foundation believes that educators are the key to breaking down gender stereotypes. Numerous sources report that the success of a student depends heavily on the teacher in their classroom as well as the principal at the top of their school.

Taking action with gender-specific training

To raise awareness and formulate solutions, the Foundation created the Gender Achievement Gap Initiative. In collaboration with the district, we provide gender-specific training and school-wide grants to advance strategies for improving education achievement. Our initial focus encompasses elementary English Language Arts and behavioral referrals. In both areas, boys are increasingly falling behind their female counterparts. We are currently working with six elementary schools to develop model strategies for addressing these gaps.

Reading Recovery

The Reading Recovery program is a highly effective short-term reading intervention, featuring one-to-one tutoring for low-achieving first-graders. Participating schools have some of the district’s largest populations of low-income students, many of whom start school not ready for kindergarten. The nationally acclaimed program helps struggling students reach grade level proficiency before they fall further – and possibly irretrievably – off track. Two teachers at each school work with students having the greatest difficulties – spending between 12 and 20 weeks with them. When a student achieves grade-level reading proficiency, and can read grade-level text independently, that child moves into a small, teacher-led reading group and a new student joins the program for one-on-one instruction.

Other strategies for success

Our strategy for providing education solutions to close the gender achievement gap is just the beginning. The Pinellas Education Foundation is dedicated to identifying current issues in public education and strives to provide innovative solutions that will further enhance the quality of learning.

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