Too many classroom seats empty when school returns

Students report back to most of our local education institutions on Wednesday. Many of their seats will be empty. That’s because holidays are notorious times for attendance to slump. Every year, absences spike in the weeks before and after the winter holiday as families squeeze in a few more vacation days.

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Jill Thomas
Education Key in Movement Toward Stronger Economy

There’s a growing understanding across Florida of what it takes to create the talent we need to grow a strong, diversified economy that provides pathways to prosperity for all Floridians. During a recent stop in Panama City, I had the privilege of participating in this movement alongside peers in business, education, government and economic development.

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Jill Thomas
FAFSA No. 1 Priority in Accessing College

Like so many first-generation college students, my senior year of high school felt like entering a funhouse of mirrors. Everywhere I turned, a new mirror popped up, distorting my view of how to access this strange new world of higher education.

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Jill Thomas
Achieve Escambia November Newsletter

Early connections last a lifetime. The earlier children begin receiving support, the better. The fact is, too often babies, toddlers and children with developmental concerns get missed. The words “don't worry” or "wait and see" discourage families and prevent the kind of early screening and diagnosis that can inspire early intervention and improve educational outcomes.

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Jill Thomas
We must prepare for careers for tomorrow

What do you want to be when you grow up? About once a week, I find myself quizzing my three children on their career aspirations. I know it’s pointless and guaranteed to backfire, but I can’t help myself. My 11-year-old rolls her eyes and delights in declaring, “I don’t know.” My 9-year-old, a homebody, wants to skateboard and live in my backyard. And my 5-year-old finger-painter wants to be an artist, of course.

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Jill Thomas
Achieve Escambia has the data, now what?

Achieve Escambia is a voluntary network of organizations and groups working across all 656 square miles of Escambia County. Our bold goal is to break all records of success in the education of children, youth and adults from the time they are born until they are successfully employed.

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Jill Thomas
Achieve Escambia is data driven endeavor

As a member of the Achieve Escambia Leadership Council, I am asked, “What makes Achieve Escambia different from similar efforts?” I respond explaining what Collective Impact means, which in simple terms, means a variety of agencies agreeing to come together to coordinate their efforts to achieve better outcomes and results using resources each agency already has at their disposal.

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Jill Thomas
Direct from the Director

Last week, Achieve Escambia hosted a breakfast meeting for more than 60 local education leaders. Many of them had never been in the same room before. They came from child-care centers, public schools, private schools, career academies, colleges and universities, and workforce development agencies.

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Jill Thomas
Accomplished Collective Impact Veteran Hired as Director

Achieve Escambia’s Leadership Council is proud to announce the hiring of Kimberly Krupa as Director. Krupa brings extensive collective impact experience with her, including leadership at Second Harvest – Feeding South Louisiana; a community empowerment campaign for Tulane University; and a long-term disaster resilience project to help New Orleans neighborhoods recover after Hurricane Katrina.

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Jill Thomas
A Chief's Corner

I have to admit, my retirement has involved more work than I ever imagined, but it’s a blessing! For local families, the summer break from school is upon us. It’s a wonderful time for our teachers and students to rest, recover and relax from the busy school year which just wrapped up. While taking a break from the school year is important, the work of Achieve Escambia continues on!

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Jill Thomas
Foster Care: Making a Difference

We just wrapped up National Foster Care Month, but for many of us, appreciating foster care families is a year round mission from the heart. First, let’s talk about the need. Children and youth enter foster care because they need a safe place to live while their parents work to resolve issues that have affected their personal and family life.

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Jill Thomas
Time to invest in community's future

As a long-time Pensacola resident, I feel that we all have a responsibility to support the education and economic independence of those raised here. I am proud to be one of the many who are partnering with Achieve Escambia, an exciting effort aimed at improving the educational and financial outcomes for our friends and families, from cradle to career. Achieve Escambia is a collective impact approach to improving educational outcomes in our area.

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Jill Thomas
A Chief's Corner

I must admit, it is a bittersweet time for my family and I. Earlier this month, I retired from the Pensacola Police Department. I can still remember the excitement and optimism I had for the job when I was hired by PPD as a cadet in 1983. My passion, excitement and optimism for the job are still with me, and for that I’m grateful.

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Jill Thomas
What exactly is Achieve Escambia?

Over the past 18 months, you may have seen news articles about a movement called “Achieve Escambia” that is working to improve outcomes from cradle to career in our community. In the near future, you will be hearing and seeing a lot more from this effort.

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Jill Thomas