Calendar of Events

February 25, 2014

We meet at River City Brewing Company
Lunch opens at noon - Meeting begins at 12:30pm
Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Duval County School Superintendent

Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti was selected as Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools (DCPS), the 20th largest district in the country, in September of 2012. Dr. Vitti and the School Board initiated a new strategic plan focusing on developing great educators and leaders; ensuring an equitable and efficient use of resources; engaging parents, caregivers, and the community; and developing the whole child. 
Using the new Strategic Plan as a guidepost, Dr. Vitti developed a School Allocation Plan that equally distributed resources across over 160 schools, passed a $1.7 billion dollar budget, and completed a reorganization of the District Office shifting resources to schools, including the expansion of music an art programs at each elementary and middle school.  

The 2013-14 school year brought about new programs and resources including:
•    Overage centers to assist students who are more than two years out of their age cohort and the   GRASP Academies focusing on dyslexic students.  
•    Reading Coaches were placed in all schools and math coaches were allocated to lower performing schools. 
•    Successful legislative lobbying led to a hybrid high school diploma that aligns to the District’s goal of preparing students for college and the workforce. 
•    Career Academies, culminating in Advanced Placement, Industry Certification Exams, and Dual Enrollment Courses have been expanded and internship opportunities have been increased.  This was made possible through the expansion of the secondary schedule to incorporate eight periods in all middle and high schools to offer additional elective classes to all students.
•    A revamped curriculum and assessment team developed new Curriculum Guides for all courses along with assessments directly aligned to the Guides. This was completed with teachers. 
•    A Teacher and Coach Academy were offered to build the bench of future leaders as well as to train teachers on inquiry based instruction rather than teaching to the test.
•    An agreement was made with the Teachers Union implementing Common Planning in all secondary schools which allows for job embedded professional development as well as the opportunity to share best practices. 
•    Another major initiative was the creation of the Parent Academy which offers courses throughout the county to assist parents to advocate for their children academically, become better parents, and build personal and job skills. 
•    In less than a year, Dr. Vitti has worked with the city’s leading educational philanthropists to raise over $35 million dollars through the Quality Education for All fund to focus on recruiting and developing human capital.

Prior to being named Superintendent of Duval County, Dr. Vitti was the Chief Academic Officer of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) which won the Broad Prize for Excellence in Urban Excellence in 2013.  As the Chief Academic Officer, he led the 66 lowest-performing schools in the county while also driving the work of Language Arts/Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, Career and Technical Education, Early Childhood Education/Head Start, School Improvement, Title I, HIPPY, Title II and Summer Programs district-wide for over 320 schools.  

Prior to serving as the district’s Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Vitti was the Assistant Superintendent of the Education Transformation Office (ETO) where he autonomously led a region of 26 schools identified as “persistently lowest-achieving” by the USDOE/FLDOE. Under his leadership, the 26 ETO schools increased in almost all areas of school accountability and all previously identified Intervene Schools (lowest performing category) improved and avoided sanctions.  In addition, each of the 10 high schools improved their graduation rate by an average of 12 percentage points and participation and performance in Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment and Industry Certification courses significantly increased through an emphasis on infusing a college-going culture in secondary schools.  Under his leadership, ETO was recognized as a model for urban education and turnaround by both the USDOE/FLDOE. 

Before returning to Miami to lead ETO, Dr. Vitti served as Deputy Chancellor of Schools Improvement and Student Achievement at the FLDOE as well as Bureau Chief of School Improvement/Executive Director for Region One/Lead Director for Differentiated Accountability.  In these roles, he led statewide professional development for superintendents, district administrators, principals, and teachers on school improvement initiatives.  He also guided the work of five regional offices that directly served the state’s lowest performing schools and their districts.  He managed the Bureaus of School Improvement, Federal Education Programs, Family and Community Outreach, Federal Programs, Early Learning, Just Read Florida!, and Equal Educational Opportunities.  
Before joining the FLDOE, Dr. Vitti served as principal of Homestead Middle in M-DCPS, where he moved the school from a “D” to a high “B” and improved the school in each accountability area.  Before his appointment as principal, Dr. Vitti joined the cabinet of M-DCPS as the Knowledge Management Officer, where he was responsible for coordinating multiple district-wide initiatives. Prior to working in Miami, Dr. Vitti played an instrumental role in transforming the educational culture of a 4,000 student high school in the Bronx, New York.  Dr. Vitti began his educational career as a teacher at both the high school and middle school level in North Carolina and New York where he notably raised student achievement at each school.

Dr. Vitti received the prestigious Presidential Scholarship from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and was a member of the Urban Superintendent Program, which has developed a number of successful superintendents throughout the country.  In 2012, he completed his doctorate from Harvard in Education, Administration, Planning and Social Policy.  He received his masters in the same field from Harvard.  Dr. Vitti also holds a Master's in Education from Wake Forest University where he was awarded a Master Teacher Fellowship, and a B.A. in History.  As an undergraduate, he earned Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa recognition. 

Dr. Vitti is married with four school-age children who all attend public schools.
Minutarian update, Week 34 
Rotarians of 6970,

The reports are still coming in, but you really made Rotary Has A Heart have a major impact. Our week of food projects was topped off with Fletcher High Interacts fourth Annual Stop Hunger Now event. In all there were about 200 volunteers packing food, enjoying the fellowship and having fun. Interactors from New Smyrna Beach, Palatka, Daytona, Ponte Vedra Beach and Jacksonville along with Rotaractors from the Jacksonville area and Rotarians from all over packed 24,000 meals in less then 2 hours. What a blast, all for a great cause.

It’s fundraiser time! There are wonderful events going on in Ocala, Palatka, Daytona and Jacksonville, and that’s just this week. Check the District Website Calendar for information.
The registration form for District Conference will be available this week on the District Website and from your Club Presidents. Please register early.
And lastly, the first application for the Presidential Citation has been received. Congratulations to Club President Ed Book, and the Rotary Club of Downtown Gainesville! Great job!

Have a Great Week, and thanks for all you do!

Engage Rotary, Change Lives
District Governor Art

Rotary Has Heart - Food Drive

A thank you from Jacob Dobbs: 
First of all, the First Coast Rotaract Club would like to thank the Rotary Club of South Jax for their commitment to this project and to getting their members involved! 

Altogether there were 17 awesome volunteers, 8 of them Rotarians, working shifts from 9 in the morning to 6 in the evening for the Rotary Has Heart Food Drive. We worked very hard soliciting food donations, weighing bags of food, and packing it up for the Children's Home Society in an effort to tackle child hunger here in Jacksonville. Not only did the local community's response exceed expectations, but I'm pretty sure Publix will be coming to us next year to do it again. Pat yourselves on the back - we've raised 2,018 pounds of food!

Photos from the Event