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Foundation for Rural Education Excellence
Supporting Academic Achievement in
Rural Northeast Florida Communities
July 2023 Newsletter
The Foundation for Rural Education Excellence, a registered 501 (C)(3) organization, was founded in 1998 to facilitate philanthropic support for rural school districts of the North East Florida Educational Consortium (NEFEC): Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Nassau, Putnam, Suwannee, and Union Counties as well as Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and PK Yonge Developmental Research School. Working collaboratively, our mission is to enhance academic success and career opportunities for rural students in northeast Florida.
Huge Crowd for Summer Leadership Conference
The 2023 Summer Leadership Conference was a huge success! Thanks to all attendees and vendor partners for helping make the SLC23 the largest in many years. The event accommodated over 400 participants.

Dr. Patrick Wnek started the conference with a rousing welcome and recognition of participating member districts. The opening session featured keynote speaker Dr. Todd Whitaker whose message was about staying connected in the classroom using strategies that build resilient students and teachers. The opening was followed by breakout sessions covering topics such as building culture in schools, engaging students with STEM/ESPORTS implementation, fostering teacher leadership, understanding homelessness, progress monitoring and data tracking, and so much more.

The final day began with sessions including legislative and accountability updates, looking at ways to improve attendance (and some big celebrations for Bradford County!), unlocking and expanding leadership, building resiliency, and several more. The conference ended with hearing from the amazing Garrison Wynn who delivered a powerful message on how 'Action and Adaptability Create Opportunity'.

Summer Leadership will be back at the Sawgrass Marriott July 8-10, 2024.
Rural Connect Summer Literacy Institute 2023
The 2023 Summer Literacy Institute brought together 250 Kindergarten through fifth grade educators from all over northeast Florida to Suwannee County High School. This sparked a week full of commitment to elevating engagement and breaking down barriers in order for students to reach their greatest potential.

Throughout the institute, participants spent time in the B.E.S.T. Standards, studying and applying the Science of Reading, diving deep into evidenced-based literacy practices, and giving and receiving collegial feedback to improve instruction.
Educators were provided with supplies, instructional toolkits, and a plethora of strategies. These educators will come together for additional professional learning throughout the 2023-24 school year. These Rural Connect sessions will continue the powerful collaboration that began during the four-day institute.  
Morphology...It's Auto-Magic
FREE was recently awarded at $50,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. This grant was written to focus on Morphology in Kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms within the NEFEC region. Funds will be used to purchase Morpheme Magic kits to assist teachers with morphological instruction.  All teachers who attend the Fall Rural Connect sessions will not only receive the materials, but also instructional tips on how to implement word study in their own classrooms.  
The NEFEC crew below is super excited about the Dollar General grant.
Mark Your Calendars
26th Annual Golf Tournament

FREE's annual golf tournament is scheduled for March 22, 2024, at The Palatka Golf Club.
Summer Leadership Conference

NEFEC's Annual Summer Leadership Conference is scheduled for July 8-10, 2024, at the Sawgrass Marriott in
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

Foundation for Rural Education Excellence
(352) 317-0621

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