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Florida Principal of the Year Explores What ?No Child? Has Left Behind

January 19, 2007

Steve Largo, principal of Pine View School in Osprey, FL, explained that his school consists of 2,200 students that are all classified as 'gifted.' Throughout his presentation at Mount Union College on Thursday, January 18, he discussed how his school does more than just pass the state achievement tests but helps others in need while contributing to the moral growth of the study body.

Largo, Florida Principal of the Year and a finalist for National Principal of the Year, began by discussing the No Child Left Behind Act, which was established in 2001. The law provides more funding to districts ' with more flexibility ' and evaluates education of American schools through school district report cards. The act also places a great deal of emphasis on achievement tests, putting reading at the top of the list. He pointed out that by 2013-2014, the government would like 100 percent of students to be considered proficient. Largo says that this leaves educators 'scratching their heads.'

'With all the emphasis on testing, much is forgotten about the importance of morals or ethics,' said Largo.

He spoke highly of one book, Smart & Good High Schools: Integrating Excellence and Ethics for Success in School, Work and Beyond.

'This book is committed to developing performance character, which is reaching one's potential by hard work and moral character, with qualities such as self-discipline, best effort and task orientation,' he said. 'It also encourages the development of characteristics such as integrity, justice and respect through moral character. This only can be done through an ethical learning community.'

Largo talked directly of the teacher, saying 'students are watching, powerful role model.'

His school in Florida has implemented many activities to show its moral character. In 2004, when Hurricane Charlie hit, the members of the school community donated 10,000 books, backpacks and shoes and $10,000 to help students in need. Then when Hurricane Katrina hit, they partnered with a high school in Mississippi and donated books, desks and chairs. When the Tsunami left Indonesia in shambles, they reached out again and donated money for shelters. The senior class this year has raised $50,000 to build a house for a local family.

He encouraged the audience that this is no easy task, but you have to start somewhere. He believes that if you implement just a few moral policies into the classroom, the school will benefit immensely.

The event was sponsored by the Center for Public Service at Mount Union College, established to prepare students for careers in public service.

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