MARION COUNTY – Marion County Public Schools (MCPS) earned “exemplary status” recently for its efforts to acknowledge and teach the historic contributions of African Americans. MCPS is only the 11th school district in Florida to earn this distinction.
The Florida Commissioner of Education’s African American History Task Force announced the award via letter and certificate dated April 26, 2022.
MCPS started its efforts for exemplary status four years ago and committed to these requirements: School Board approval of the initiative, structured professional development for teachers and administrators, creating an African American studies curriculum, structured teaching of the African American history curriculum, and university-school district collaboration along with parent and community partnerships.
Social Studies Curriculum Specialist Lindsey Barber led the district team in meeting these specific criteria and submitted the district’s application the morning after School Board members approved it earlier this year on Feb. 9.
MCPS worked with Dr. Patrick Coggins, a consultant from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, to achieve “exemplary status.” A Community Advisory Team appointed by Marion County School Board members and headed by longtime Ocalan Frank Rasbury also led to this achievement.
The distinction recognizes and earmarks a school district’s long-standing commitment to teach students about the contributions and achievements of African Americans.