Florida legislators have registered, received assignments, and paid careful attention as they headed to school on Monday to take part in “Take Your Legislator to School Day.”
Sponsored by the Florida School Boards Association, “Take Your Legislator to School Day” marked the largest single effort made to get legislators into classrooms. The event partnered legislators with public schools for a hands-on learning experience.
“I am excited about the enthusiasm Florida legislators have shown to get into the classroom and learn more about our schools,” said Andy Griffith, president of FSBA.
“This event clearly demonstrates their commitment to public education,” he said.
Among the 87 lawmakers registered to visit schools in 35 school districts was State Sen. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee. The District 6 representative visited Bond Elementary School with a message of direction, courage, and determination.
“I too once sat in your place and worked hard to do the best that I could do,” Lawson said in his address to a room full of 4th graders. “We are here to support you.”
Bond Elementary School scored a D on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, making it a low performance school that has not meet the standards of Florida School Grades.
“That was the cause of the lack of available resources in the public school system,” Lawson said.
Leon County School Board Member Maggie Lewis visited Bond as well. Lewis, who represents District 3 and oversees 12 Leon County schools, encouraged students by saying they should “push forward to achieve and pull backward to obtain information.”
After the sessions, Lawson and Lewis met with school administrators to discuss issues that were pertinent to the success and future for all over Leon County as well as Bond Elementary School.
Lawson said the legislature has plans to enhance teacher salaries, fund the new student population, create parental involvement programs, and secure a state level of commitment in an effort to provide quality education.
Administrators appreciated the visit from the dignitaries and believe this was the start of a productive relationship.
“This was an rewarding experience…he is a role model for our students,” said Bond Principal Arrhea Williams.
“We made sure we sent a lot of important information to the legislator,” she said.
Fourth grade teacher Solonjao Odom felt it was a good idea for the students to see the faces of their leaders.
“I’m happy they took time out of their busy schedules to participate in ‘Take Your Legislator to School Day,'” she said.
The visit by the two representatives met the day’s objective, said FSBA Executive Director Wayne Blanton.
“The event served as an eye-opener for legislators.”