This week,  at the Association of Florida Colleges conference in Orlando, Florida College System (FCS) Chancellor Madeline Pumariega honored four schools in the Sunshine State with the Chancellor’s Best Practice Awards.

“The Chancellor’s Best Practice Awards is an opportunity for our colleges to showcase innovative program strategies that have proven successful at their colleges and in their communities,” said Pumariega. “The best practice awards recognize colleges for creating successful programs and then sharing the high impact practices with all institutions in the Florida College System.”

Florida Gateway College was honored for its Second-Chance Pell Pilot Program which offers access to inmates to pursue an education so that upon release they will be better prepared to enter the workforce and provide for their families and themselves.

“We are excited to be recognized for being a part of this important initiative,” said Dr. Lawrence Barrett, the president of Florida Gateway College. “We hope our experience and sharing information with others about the Second-Chance Pell Pilot Program is helpful to our Florida College System institutions that may be considering this type of program.”

North Florida Community College was honored for its Dual Enrollment Video Conferencing Model which enables rural dual enrolled high school students to jumpstart their postsecondary education by using technology to keep them in their high school classrooms while offering them the opportunity to take classes at North Florida Community College.

“I am extremely proud of all the North Florida Community College faculty and staff and our district K-12 school partners who make this invaluable videoconferencing classroom experience available to area dual enrollment students,” said John Grosskopf, the president of North Florida Community College. “This is the correct and appropriate use of technology, not to replace teachers or excellent teaching, but to create a classroom that bridges the access gap and addresses the difficulties of serving a geographically large, rural district.”

Pensacola State College was honored for its Bellwether Virtual Tutoring Program which has served more than 1,000 students per year who might not have access to traditional tutoring methods by offering access to individualized tutoring services from any location or device with an internet connection.

“We are so very honored to receive this recognition,” said Ed Meadows, the president of Pensacola State College. “Our goal through this interactive virtual tutoring program has been to increase access to academic support for time bound and place bound students to help them successfully complete STEM and gateway courses leading to the completion of their respective plan of study.”

Polk State College was honored for its Establishing Leaders in Teacher Education (ELITE Program) which works to fill the increasing demand for qualified educators in Florida by creating a partnership with local public schools to help prepare baccalaureate students at Polk State College. Called the ELITE Program, it provides a seamless pathway from high school to college to employment for aspiring teachers, helping students meet local workforce demands through an affordable fast-track pipeline.

“Polk State College is thrilled for this recognition and I am extraordinarily proud of the college’s education baccalaureate program,” said Polk State College President Angela Garcia Falconetti. “Our faculty and staff continue to take innovative approaches to grow the number of high-quality educators by igniting in students the passion to teach. Through Establishing Leaders in Teacher Education (ELITE), in partnership with Polk County Public Schools, Polk State College will put young teacher candidates on a seamless, affordable and rewarding pathway to becoming successful future leaders of our classrooms.”

“I applaud our colleges for their commitment to excellence and innovation in our system,” said Pumariega. “It is this commitment that keeps the Florida College System in the forefront as a national leader in higher education.”

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