Among roughly 150 teachers, 11 deemed high impact





Somehow it seemed appropriate for the Gulf County School Board to recognize and honor the district’s high-impact teachers on National Teacher Appreciation Day.

During a meeting Tuesday, the board and Superintendent of Schools Jim Norton celebrated teachers deemed by the Florida Department of Education as “high impact.”

Norton noted that in a district where every teacher this year received some bonus dollars as “highly-effective” teachers, “high impact” honors take teacher achievement a step further.

Under the state guidelines, “high-impact” teachers are identified based on student scores on state standardized tests, accounting for student progress and achievement.

In this era of teacher assessment, “high impact” reaches pretty the cream.

How rarified is the air?

The district has roughly 150 instructional employees, teachers.

The district has 11 “high impact” teachers; less than 10 percent.

“It is always a honor to recognize our group of high-impact teachers,” Norton said. “This is an exceptional honor.”

More striking is the number of district teachers deemed “high-impact” multiple times, particulary since the state has been identifying and recognizing such teachers just the past three years.

Anita Askew in Wewahitchka; she was honored for a third year in a row.

Same with Jeannie Ford in Port St. Joe, who just happens to be Askew’s daughter.

“It runs in the family,” said Lori Price, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction.

Misty Wood of Wewahitchka was the third district teacher earning the honor for a third time.

Honored for the second-straight year were Fred Flowers and Sissy Godwin in Port St. Joe and Melinda George and Christina Morrill in Wewahitchka.

Those earning the “high-impact” designation for a second year also included Krissy Gentry, currently suspended without pay due to allegations raised by a Florida State University intern and investigated by the district.

Gentry has appealed that suspension via union/district contract language.

Receiving the “high impact” honorific for the first time were Lisa Stripling and Randy Harper from Wewahitchka and Jo Clements in Port St. Joe.


Master board

The School Board and Norton were recognized for achieving Master Board status after all six elected officials completed training under the auspices of the Florida School Board Assocation.

Board members and Norton undertook 22 hours of training, which is aimed at improving the relationship and communication between board members and the superintendent.


Welding at WHS

The odds are rising, “less than 50-50,” Norton said, that the district will have a welding program at Wewahitchka Jr./Sr. High School this year.

The district had been pointing for nearly two years toward replacing the existing carpentry program with welding, aimed at increasing the employability of students.

However, funding for the program from RESTORE Act is not likely before August, Norton said.

Due to what the conversion of the carpentry shop to welding would entail, unless the funding is in place by late summer and the district has the opportunity to undertake the transformation over fall and winter holidays it is likely carpentry will hold the fort through the 2018-2019 school year.