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This summer I was privileged to attend the Northeast Florida Educational Consortium’s Summer Leadership Conference (NEFEC). The leaders of NEFEC did an amazing job and put together an excellent conference. The conference featured keynote speakers Dr. Tim Hodges from Gallup Education and Dr. Dylan Wiliam, a world-renown education researcher and speaker. NEFEC also created several concurrent sessions that ranged from the use of social media to expand an educator’s professional learning network to the creation of a district’s Digital Classroom Plan. 

The Northeast Florida Educational Consortium is a group of Florida school districts who are working together to accomplish specific educational goals and objectives. As many of NEFEC’s districts are small and rural, the group finds power in partnership. From the buying power of their collected community to the ability to network with educators and leaders for professional development and beyond, NEFEC is doing important work in Florida. 

In my traditional brick-and-mortar teaching experience, I worked for a very large school district, so I was interested to learn about many of the concerns and issues facing smaller school districts, ranging from acquiring the necessary bandwidth to perform computer-based tests in schools to juggling student schedules to offer the highest quality and greatest variety of courses to students. As you can imagine, if your district is extremely small and there is only one science teacher in your high school, there are only so many options a school can offer. 

This is where Fuel Education comes in. District schools partner with us to offer a greater variety of courses to students. They can work in a blended environment, with or without the support of our teachers, use our curriculum and resources, and earn credit for courses a school might not otherwise be able to offer. I loved hearing stories about the students who were positively impacted by this option in their schools! This is such a great way for a school to really expand its course offerings to students through strategic partnership. Rather than dedicating the high school science teacher’s entire 6th period course to one student who wants to take Anatomy & Physiology, or deny that student the opportunity to take the course, the student can work in a lab with several others who are all pursuing personalized educational goals in the framework of their brick-and-mortar school environment.  

I have to admit that the value of our service to smaller school districts had honestly never crossed my mind until this conference. I am so glad to have a better understanding of how my NEFEC students have been positively impacted by the Fuel Education option in their schools and districts. I love that NEFEC schools are doing everything they can to offer their students the highest quality education, and I can definitely vouch for the high quality of their teachers and leaders if this week’s conference was any indication! Keep up the great work, NEFEC! I truly admire your dedication to the power of partnership.  

About The Author

Jennifer Richardson

Jennifer Richardson is a virtual educator with Fuel Education, primarily teaching social studies in the state of Florida. She has taught for Fuel Education for four years and also serves as their first Teacher Ambassador. Jennifer is passionate about online learning and the long-lasting relationships she’s been able to form with her students and families. She also regularly leads professional development sessions to share ideas and improve the practice of her colleagues.

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