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The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions will host a forum entitled “Our Families’ Four Generations: Ready or Not, Here We Are!” from 7 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at the SPC Seminole Campus Digitorium. The forum is jointly hosted by the 4Generations Institute of Tallahassee and the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at SPC. The Tampa Bay Times is Presenting Sponsor.

4 Gen Flyer Graphic LgThe public is invited and advance registration is required at http://solutions.spcollege.edu.

Advances in medicine, workplace safety, risk management and healthy nutrition practices in the last 50 years have vastly increased life expectancy in the United States. As a result, Americans are experiencing an unprecedented demographic shift: four full generations in relatively good health living side by side.

Florida is a model of the demographic reality the nation will face in 40 years. There are currently 3.3 million Floridians, age 65-plus, living in the Sunshine State – 18 percent of the population. More than 500,000 of them are over 85. Pinellas County’s age demographics are even more tilted toward an older population: 21.5 percent of its population are 65 or older, and 4 percent are 85-plus.

How our four generations – children, parents, grandparents and super-elders – can live in harmony and mutual support is the subject of this community conversation.

A panel of experts representing programs serving each stage of life will explore how, by creative action and effective advocacy, the four generations can leverage the assets of each age group for the betterment of all.

“The needs for health care, education, family services, employment, public safety and environmental protection are best addressed through the lens of our four major age groups,” said Jack Levine, founder of 4Generations Institute. “How we address the needs of the four generations is among the most critical economic and public policy challenges for the next decade.”

The Community Conversation, moderated by Levine, will include six Pinellas County leaders whose organizations serve one or more of the four life stages:

  • Dr. Marcie Biddleman, Executive Director, Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County
  • Eileen Boyle, Executive Director, Allegany Franciscan Ministries
  • Hon. Rene Flowers, Member of the Pinellas County School Board
  • Judge Raymond Gross of the Sixth Judicial Circuit Family Court
  • Jeff Johnson, Director, AARP of Florida
  • Shannon Reid, Vice President of Education and Practice Management, Raymond James Financial

The 4Generations Institute is a non-profit organization based in Tallahassee that promotes community volunteerism for the mutual benefit of the four generations: children/youth, parents, grandparents and elders. Its goal is to identify model intergenerational programs and projects, to expand the impact of quality mentoring and volunteer initiatives and to cultivate an environment to nurture communications across the generations.

The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College is a resource for academic enrichment, a non-partisan venue for civil, objective debate of topical public issues, a center to promote better government and a resource for sustainable economic development. Its mission is to support a broad array of research, training, educational and policy analysis and support activities at the local, state, regional and national levels.

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St. Petersburg College has joined Pinellas County Schools to create a new Elite Educator Program to change the way teachers learn to teach. The program hopes to ensure future teachers are better prepared for the classroom and begins this August.

“The Elite Educator Program is a win-win,” Law said. “Our program helps to ensure students have the content knowledge, qualifications and confidence necessary to lead an elementary classroom, laying the foundation for their career in education and possible employment with Pinellas County Schools.”

From day one, students in the program take courses designed specifically for educators, including child and adolescent development, teaching students with exceptionalities and curriculum integration. They also will make more classroom visits to obtain practical knowledge, work with a mentor and attend monthly seminars.

Graduates of the four-year program earn a bachelor of science in Elementary Education (K-6) with an endorsement in ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Reading. Graduates also receive an internship and a guaranteed job with Pinellas County Schools.

Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Mike Grego hopes the program meets his broader goal of attracting and retaining the best teachers for Pinellas County’s public schools.

“I believe we as practitioners need to provide greater support and input into teacher preparation programs,” Grego said. “We need to better equip student teachers with the tools they need to be successful including more relevant and substantive coursework, especially in mathematics, science, reading and writing as well as strong communication skills.”

Read recent Tampa Bay Times and Clearwater Gazette coverage of the program or download the program flier.

 

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SPC graduate Melissa Dohme, who survived a brutal stabbing by her ex-boyfriend, will share her story on national television Saturday, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Dohme was a 20-year-old college student when Robert Lee Burton Jr. stabbed her 32 times outside her home near Crest Lake Park in January 2012. Burton is serving a life sentence.

Dohme went on to graduate from SPC in December 2012. She earned an associate degree, graduated with high honors and was named Clearwater Campus’ student of year and the future.

The “48 Hours” episode will air at 10 p.m. on CBS.

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About 20 people attended St. Petersburg College’s most recent Board of Trustees meeting because of  “an unexpected power struggle” over control of a community museum, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The St. Petersburg Housing Authority owns the building where the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum operates, the article stated. “The housing authority board is scheduled to vote on whether it will end its relationship with those currently in charge of the museum and instead lease the facility on Ninth Avenue S to SPC, which would open its own African-American museum. Because the Woodson board owns the name, SPC would need a new one.”

The issue also was covered by the Tampa Tribune.

The Times followed up with a story where the St. Petersburg Housing Authority reported it wanted to meet with museum officials to discuss a potential role for St. Petersburg College in its operation.

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State Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater announced Wednesday at a press conference at St. Petersburg College’s Clearwater Campus that he will sponsor a bill in the Florida Senate that would clear the way for the children of undocumented residents to pay in-state tuition in Florida.

State Rep. Ed Hooper of Clearwater joined Latvala in support.

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Latvala said he “decided in good conscience that there’s no reason the parents’ immigration status should be the determining factor of the tuition that our young people pay. Taxpayers in Florida get a reduced tuition rate….In this particular case, these children are the children of taxpayers in Florida who pay our sales tax, who pay our gas taxes, in many cases pay other taxes.

“I just think this is a disparity and a discriminatory issue that needs to go away,” he said.

The bill also includes language that would allow honorably discharged veterans to pay in-state tuition.

The legislators were joined for the announcement by SPC President Bill Law; Clearwater Campus Provost Stan Vittetoe; Sandra Lyth, CEO of the InterCultural Advocacy Institute (Hispanic Outreach Center); Maria Edmonds, chairwoman of the Juvenile Welfare Board; and three SPC students.

Celeste Pioquinto, 17, who is an Early College student at the college, said she was born and raised in Clearwater, has attended Pinellas schools all her life and has always been on the honor roll.

“Ever since elementary school, I have dreamed about college or university. Now instead of dreaming it, I am preparing for it. I have applied to universities. I have applied for scholarships, but there is a barrier. I am not eligible for in-state tuition despite being documented because my parents are both undocumented,” she said. “This bill not only affects me, but affects many of my close relations.”

See more: Watch the video on the college’s YouTube channel.

See more: View photos from the conference on SPC’s Facebook page.

Read more: Coverage in the Tampa Tribune

Read more: Coverage in the Tampa Bay Times

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tonjua williams2St. Petersburg College’s Dr. Tonjua Williams, senior vice president of Student Services, was honored by Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg on Tuesday as one of 2014’s Five Fabulous Females. The award honors successful women who make extraordinary contributions to the Tampa Bay community.

Other honorees were:

  • Philanthropist Carol Morsani
  • Jana Jones, vice president of Times Publishing Co.
  • Beth Houghton, executive director of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic
  • Mindy Grossman, CEO of Home Shopping Network

Dr. Williams has spent her 26-year career at SPC and is a nationally recognized keynote speaker and student development consultant. In her current role, she oversees the college’s student success efforts.

Her other recognitions include Jr. Achievement Educator of the Year (2011), finalist for the Tampa Bay Executive Woman of the Year and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce Iconic Woman of the Year (2013).

Read more about this event in the Tampa Bay Times.

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The Tampa Bay Times is partnering with Bay News 9 and St. Petersburg College to broadcast a live debate in the general election race to succeed the late Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young.

In a special edition of the show Political Connections, the Feb. 3 debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates will be hosted on the SPC Seminole Campus by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions. It is sponsored by AARP.

“We believe this debate will not only inform the voters of District 13 but will air issues of great importance to the people of the entire Tampa Bay region,” said Times Editor Neil Brown. “A congressional seat has high stakes for all of us.”

The special election is March 11.

The debate, called a “Conversation with the Candidates,” will feature the winner of the Republican primary in January and Democrat Alex Sink. Republican candidates are Mark Bircher, David Jolly and Kathleen Peters.

About 37 percent of the more than 455,000 voters in the district covering much of Pinellas County are Republican, 35 percent Democrat and about 28 percent independent or other party.

The event will be moderated by Political Editor Adam C. Smith and Bay News 9 senior anchor Al Ruechel.

“AARP has been equipping voters with information straight from the candidates on issues that matter for decades,” said Jeff Johnson, state director of AARP Florida. “We are excited to partner with the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9 on this debate to help our community find out where the candidates stand on issues like the economy, financial security, and the future of retirement security programs such as Social Security and Medicare.”

The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at SPC also has experience in staging candidate debates, said Dr. James Olliver, campus provost, adding “our facility is second to none in the area.”

“Holding this event on campus gives us the benefit of providing our students, especially those studying public policy, with a front seat for a discussion of the major issues facing our nation today.”

The Times has produced debates for local, state and national offices for two decades, including races for Florida governor, Tampa and St. Petersburg mayors, the U.S. Senate and the 1996 national Vice Presidential Debate.

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