MLK Day of Service

Help spread the word and make a difference by joining the local movement of people who will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 18, 2016 with a Day of Service. The MLK Day of Service Advisory Board is holding information sessions to provide a brief overview of the 2016 MLK Day of Service and how to apply for a service award.

With the help of State Rep. Darryl E. Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, this is the fourth year St. Petersburg College has received funds from the Florida Legislature for the St. Petersburg MLK Day of Service.

As part of the event, participants can:

  • Plan a service project and apply for a 2016 MLK Day of Service Award of up to $5,000 to fund the project
  • Serve as a volunteer in another organization or group’s service project on the MLK Day of Service
  • Organize a service project and have the project posted on SPC’s website
  • Become a donor or sponsor

To apply for a 2016 MLK Day of Service Award, interested groups/organizations are required to attend at least one of the following information sessions prior to submitting an application:

SPC Allstate Campus, 3200 34th Street S., St. Petersburg, Room 110

  • Thursday, Oct. 8, 6-7:30 p.m.

St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, 6605 5th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, AD Room 180

  • Saturday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m.-noon
  • Thursday, Oct. 15, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m.-noon
  • Thursday, Oct. 29, 6-7:30 p.m.

Enoch Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S., St. Petersburg

  • Tuesday, Oct. 20, 6-7:30 p.m.

Information presented at each session is identical. The sessions are free of charge, but advance registration is strongly encouraged. To register visit: http://conta.cc/1MWc90G. The deadline to apply for a 2016 MLK Day of Service Award is Nov. 6, 2015.

About MLK Day of Service Advisory Board

Dedicated to preserving Dr. King’s legacy of service, the St. Petersburg MLK Day of Service Advisory Board in collaboration with St. Petersburg College seeks to engage thousands of local citizens in a day of service. To learn more visit http://www.spcollege.edu/mlkservice, or call us at 727-392-8222.

MTN-2015St. Petersburg College, nationally recognized for using data-driven strategies to increase student achievement, will host its second annual Moving the Needle Conference, Oct. 28-30 at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, 333 First St. S, St Petersburg.

The event begins with registration at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, followed by a Welcome and Introduction at 2 p.m., a keynote address at 3:15 and a reception at 5:30 p.m. Panels, sessions and workshops continue from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, and from 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30.  The event is not open to the public, but members of the media are invited to attend.

The conference is designed for postsecondary leadership teams to engage in collaborative discussions and methods regarding the improved use of data leading to student success. More than 200 postsecondary educators from across the country are expected to attend.

St. Petersburg College has become a leader in using data to drive student success initiatives that can be monitored and adjusted in real-time. The college uses a robust business intelligence system that was designed in-house to enable faculty, staff and college leaders to make evidence-based decisions. For these efforts, SPC received a 2014 Florida College System Chancellor’s Best Practice Award and has been named a 2015 Leader College by Achieving the Dream. Additionally, college leaders have been invited to speak about SPC’s data-driven culture by the Aspen Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“We have been using data to inform our work with students for several years and have seen some amazing successes,” said Dr. Jesse Coraggio, conference organizer and St. Petersburg College Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Academic Services. “We’re excited to share those proven best practices and collaborate with others on data-driven strategies that can benefit students in Florida and all across the country.”

Conference topics include:

  • Creating a responsive and ‘nimble’ organizational culture
  • Creating and employing data tools and dashboards
  • Building a data-driven culture
  • Using data to improve academic success
  • Employing high impact practices within student support services
  • Employing shared governance, responsibility and transparency practices

Two keynote panels will be held. The first, focusing on using data to improve student success will be facilitated by Dr. Mark Milliron, Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer of Civitas Learning. Panelists are:

  • Dr. Chris Bustamante, President of Rio Salado College, Tempe, Ariz.
  • Dr. Paul Dosal, Vice-Provost of Student Services at the University of South Florida, Tampa
  • Laura Mercer, Director of Research, Analytics, and Reporting for Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio

Dr. Davis Jenkins, Senior Research Associate for the Community College Research Center, will facilitate the second keynote panel comprised of:

  • Dr. Joyce Walsh-Portillo, Associate Vice-President of Academic Affairs for Broward College, Fort Lauderdale
  • Wendi Dew, Assistant Vice-President of Teaching and Learning for Valencia College, Orlando
  • Sabrina Crawford, Executive Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at St. Petersburg College

For more information about the conference, including the full agenda, please visit the Moving the Needle website.

St. Petersburg College wins Phoenix Award

Charles Ray, (far left) with PPM Consultants in Orlando, nominated St. Petersburg College for the 2015 EPA Brownfield Phoenix Award. Also pictured, left to right: Jim Waechter, Associate Vice President, Facilities Planning & Institutional Services; Tonjua Williams, Senior Vice President, Student Services; and Midtown Provost Kevin Gordon

St. Petersburg College has been chosen as the 2015 EPA Brownfield Phoenix Award winner. This prestigious award honors the innovative leadership of men and women working to solve the critical environmental problems of transforming abandoned property into productive sites for new economic and community opportunities and assets.

St. Petersburg College was chosen for this award for the development of the new Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Midtown Center.

“I could not be more proud to be part of the college’s work in the revitalization of the Midtown community,” said Jim Waechter, Associate Vice President, Facilities Planning & Institutional Services. Every construction project that we endeavor is rewarding, but this project is particularly so because of the significant tangible effect that it will produce in our community for generations to come.”

“What an honor it is for the college to be recognized for its efforts to breathe some life back into an important stretch of 22nd Street in Midtown,” said Tonjua Williams, Senior Vice President, Student Services. “We’re proud to be part of the educational and economic revitalization of this historic area of St. Petersburg.”

The new center includes graphic art installations that tell the story of the rich history of Midtown, and 22nd Street – affectionately nicknamed “The Deuces.” At the recent grand opening of the new center, community members walked the halls and shared their memories of eating at Geech’s BBQ, working at the old Mercy Hospital, and dancing nights away at the old Manhattan Casino. Classes began this fall in the new, 49,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art college campus, located in St. Petersburg’s historic Midtown neighborhood.

“Our enrollment is already up by 50% over last fall, which illustrates the strong desire within the community for increased educational opportunities,” said SPC Midtown Provost Kevin Gordon. “We are also thrilled by the number of community members who are utilizing the services provided at the Midtown Center.”

St. Petersburg College has long been dedicated to providing educational opportunities in Midtown. The original 10,000-square-foot Midtown Center at 1048 22nd St. S., opened in 2003 as part of a $2 million St. Petersburg Housing Authority’s HOPE VI project.

In 2012, as demand for classes and community involvement grew, SPC’s Board of Trustees approved a $14 million expenditure to build the new three-story building on land leased from the City of St. Petersburg. The new center includes multiple classrooms, two science labs, three computer labs, a book store, a community room and a career center.

The award was presented to the college at the National Brownfields Training Conference, Sept. 2-4 in Chicago. The conference is the largest training and networking event in the nation focused on economic redevelopment and sustainability.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will usher in the St. Petersburg College Foundation’s new Distinguished Speakers Series at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2 at the Palladium Theater at St. Petersburg College.

Proceeds from the event, The Wozniak Project: An Evening with Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, will support Foundation scholarships for SPC students. Known as one of the most important innovators of our time, Wozniak will lead a lively, interactive discussion customized for his audience.

General admission ticket prices for the event are $95 for Orchestra Lower Level seating and $85 for Balcony Upper Level seating. View seating charts and purchase tickets here.

A Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist for more than thirty years, Wozniak helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products. Together with the late Steve Jobs, Wozniak founded Apple Computer Inc. in 1976, and developed the Apple I personal computer. A year later, they unveiled the Apple II, launching the personal computing industry as we know it. For his achievements at Apple, former President Ronald Reagan in 1985 awarded Wozniak the National Medal of Technology, the highest honor bestowed on America’s leading innovators.

Inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2000, Wozniak received the Heinz Award for Technology, The Economy and Employment for single-handedly designing the first personal computer, and for then redirecting his lifelong passion for math and electronics toward lighting the fires of excitement for education in grade school students and their teachers.

Wozniak is Chief Scientist at Primary Data and author of the New York Times’ best-selling autobiography “iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon.”

With more than 60% of SPC’s annual enrollment of 45,000 students relying on tuition assistance, scholarships play a critical role in the student success and help ensure that graduates are equipped with the high-demand skills necessary to address the opportunities of a rapidly changing marketplace.

The event is sponsored by: Raymond James; Lynn Hensley; The Bank of Tampa; Bright House Networks; Merrill Lynch; Bristol-Myers Squibb; Apple Employee #302; Cisco; Gregory, Sharer & Stuart; RBC Wealth Management; RedVector; Tribridge; Jagged Peak; and AgileThought.


Across the nation today, Sept. 22, volunteers are joining together to celebrate National Voter Registration Day. St. Petersburg College, along with colleges and universities across the state, are promoting civic engagement and encouraging students to register to vote with the help of TurboVote.

TurboVote is a non-partisan, non-profit online tool that makes voter registration easy, especially for students with no previous voting experience and little knowledge of civic affairs. TurboVote makes sure that students have all the materials and information they need in order to vote in every election. With the free online tool, students can:

  • Register to vote
  • Get reminders of upcoming local, state and national elections
  • Easily update their address or other voter information
  • Request absentee ballots

For every election, TurboVote sends a text message and email reminder to all users with important election information, dates and deadlines, to ensure that they never miss another election.

“I encourage you to register to vote and participate in a process that is integral to our democracy and to our nation as a whole,” said SPC President Bill Law in a recent email to SPC students. “I care a great deal that students participate and educate themselves on key issues. We don’t endorse any candidates but we strongly endorse participation in the process.”

The partnership with TurboVote is funded by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions (ISPS) at St. Petersburg College and the Knight Foundation. It was the first system-wide project of the Florida College System’s Civic Literacy Initiative, launched by ISPS in 2013 to make civic engagement a part of the student experience for every student in the FCS system.

To register for TurboVote, visit: spcollege.turbovote.org.

Register to vote in honor of a veteran

Also in honor of National Voter Registration Day, Pinellas County elections officials are spending the day helping veterans register to vote or update their voter registration information at events across the county. They are also encouraging people to register to vote in honor of a vet.

“On National Voter Registration Day, we are reminded of our veterans’ sacrifices to preserve our freedom as Americans, including the right to vote,” said Deborah Clark, Supervisor of elections in a recent press release. “We hope our efforts to assist our veterans will encourage the citizens of Pinellas County to take time on September 22 to either register to vote or update their own voter registration information in honor of these brave men and women.”

Read the full press release on our Veterans Services blog.

Achieving the DreamAchieving the Dream today announced St. Petersburg College (SPC) earned Leader College distinction – a national designation awarded to community colleges that commit to improving student success and closing achievement gaps. St. Petersburg College has shown how data can inform policy and practice to help community college students achieve their goals, resulting in improved skills, better employability, and economic growth for families, communities, and the nation as a whole. SPC was the only college in Florida selected to receive the designation this year.

“It is a wonderful honor for St. Petersburg College to be selected by Achieving the Dream as a Leader College,” said St. Petersburg College President Bill Law. “The commitment – and success – that we have seen on behalf of our students reflects the real excellence of our faculty and staff. Making sure that all students can achieve their academic goals is our commitment.  When accomplishments such as ours are recognized, everyone feels good.”

The college was recognized for its efforts to narrow achievement gaps and improve student success rates. From Fall 2011 to Fall 2013, SPC saw course success rates (identified as an A, B or C grade) for First-Time-In-College (FTIC) African American students in all enrolled courses increase by 8 percentage points, while Hispanic students increased 9.1 percentage points. Additionally, St. Petersburg College saw increases in student persistence rates, particularly among minority FTIC students.

The college attributes those increases to its “College Experience,” a collegewide initiative comprised of five core student support measures: new student orientation; integrated academic and career advising; student learning plans; early alerts and student coaching system; and out of classroom supports. The initiative is bolstered through SPC’s business intelligence system, “Pulse BI,” and its robust dashboards. “Pulse BI,” which was designed in-house, allows faculty, staff and college leaders to monitor student data in real-time to make evidence-based decisions.

“Becoming a Leader College is very powerful and affirms the exceptional work and commitment of faculty and staff to their students’ success,” said Achieving the Dream Vice President for Community College Relations Cindy Lenhart. “St. Petersburg College is using evidence to make informed decisions that lead to significant institutional change.”

The 2015 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges are:


Bakersfield College

(Bakersfield, CA)

Kingsborough Community College

(Brooklyn, NY)

Bellingham Technical College

(Bellingham, WA)

Lorain County Community College

(Elyria, OH)

Century College

(White Bear Lake, MN)

Muskegon Community College

(Muskegon, MI)

College of Southern Nevada

(North Las Vegas, NV)

North Lake College

(Irving, TX)

Columbus State Community College

(Columbus, OH)

Paris Junior College

(Paris, TX)

Cumberland County College

(Vineland, NJ)

Southwestern Oregon Community College

(Coos Bay, OR)

Delta College

(University Center, MI)

St. Clair County Community College

(Port Huron, MI)

Gaston College

(Dallas, NC)

St. Petersburg College

(St. Petersburg, FL)

Grand Rapids Community College
(Grand Rapids, MI)
West Los Angeles College

(Culver City, CA)

Jefferson Community & Technical College (Louisville, KY)

The 2015 Leader Colleges are making strides in the national movement to increase student completion and close achievement gaps, demonstrating the power of the Achieving the Dream Approach. With the guidance of Achieving the Dream Coaches, colleges not only systemically change the way they operate, but also implement key student supports that align with their overall policies and institutional systems, such as college readiness programs, mandatory new student orientation, student-success courses, developmental course redesign, curriculum redesign, and intensive, individualized advising.

Achieving the Dream grants Leader College designation for three-year cycles. After three years, institutions must undergo a recertification process to maintain Leader College status.


SPC’s Veterans Services received a nearly perfect review in their annual federal audit of GI Bill Processing and Certification records. In fact, Florida’s Department of Veterans Affairs was so impressed with the school, they would like SPC’s Veterans Services staff to assist other colleges around the state in preparing for future audits. SPC will share their processes, organization, record keeping and layout of SPC’s Veterans Student Centers with other schools.

“The bottom line: Our Centralized Certification and Processing is working as we hoped it would, again keeping the number of discrepancies or errors to a bare minimum while ensuring a 99.4% error-free certification rate,” said Veterans Services Director Jeff Cavanagh.

Audit results indicate that all areas of Post 911 GI Bill certification and compliance were covered with three minor area discrepancies being noted. Among other results, auditors found:

  • SPC’s record keeping was among the best in the state
  • VA officials wished that all compliance audits could go as smoothly as SPC’s
  • All “discrepancies” were minor and corrected on the spot
  • SPC’s Veterans Services staff was noted as being exceptionally knowledgeable as were their work-study students

During the 2014-15 academic year, SPC served a total of 1,966 Veteran students.


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