Here is an excerpt from the press release announcing Vitti was receiving awards for his work in promoting foreign languages and ESE support.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., October 14, 2015 — Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) Superintendent Nikolai P. Vitti has been named the recipient of two education awards for his leadership and innovation. He will receive the 2015 Florida Foreign Language Association’s (FFLA) Friend of Foreign Languages Award, awarded to members of the Florida community who support and empower world language education in the state, and the National Center for Learning Disabilities’ (NCLD) Bill Ellis Award which recognizes educators who demonstrate excellence in practice and a commitment to all students, including those with learning disabilities.
Under Vitti’s leadership, Duval County Public Schools has expanded world language programs throughout the district and doubled the number of dual language programs available to students. He has promoted world language instruction and multicultural studies in schools by leading the initiative to expand world language programs to an increased number of middle schools, and establishing world language study in elementary schools. Additionally, when the Florida Department of Education implemented three different graduation diplomas with only one requiring world language study, Vitti supported two consecutive years of language study as a graduation requirement for all DCPS students.
“The impressive requirement of world language study in order to receive a diploma in Duval County Public Schools prepares students for increased opportunities and success in the global world,” said FFLA President Frank Kruger-Robbins. “We admire Superintendent Vitti for his innovative and bold leadership that will provide our young people with distinct advantages in higher education and the workforce.”
Vitti will be presented with the foreign language award at the 2015 FFLA conference (Oct. 15 – 17) in St. Augustine at the World Golf Village Renaissance Resort Hotel where he will also serve as the grand opening speaker.
Duval’s superintendent has also been recognized as the 2015 winner of the NCLD Bill Ellis Award, named for the late NCLD Director of Professional Services (1991-1995) Bill Ellis. Vitti has a personal connection to students with learning disabilities having overcome early challenges with dyslexia in his youth while also growing up multilingual. This has strengthened his commitment to providing students with learning disabilities the most progressive resources and tools to help them succeed in the classroom. Since 2011-12, the graduation rate for ESE students has increased by 17 percentage points from 36 percent to 53 percent. In addition, the ESE department has been reorganized to provide more support to students and additional resources such as a parent/teacher call center to improve stakeholder engagement and transparency.
First let me say it is a Shakespherean tragedy that any organization would give Vitti an award for ESE support and foreign languages, it just goes to show how upside down the world of education truly is.
Though I guess if we think about it Vitti has promoted more kids taking foreign languages as many of the classes have fifty or more students in them.
As for the ESE grad rates going up there is no way he is even remotely responsible for that as a change in state law phased out special diplomas. Kids that never would have had the opportunity to get a standard diploma are now eligible. This is one of the few good things to come out of Tallahassee over the last few years even if it was bungled or has gone to far.
As for the call center yeah that's because the first few years under Vitti things were so abysmal that the state had to come in and conduct an investigation. The bigger problem is I have heard it is a joke that ignores most of the concerns of teachers and families alike.
Now you might have to give him some credit for the grasp academy but all to often these politicians only care about an issue if it effects them and dyslexia does but at the same time Vitti has been deaf to many other families problems and concerns.
These awards and the organizations that are giving them to Vitti are doing the city, its schools, teachers and students a disservice because they paint an inaccurate picture of how things really are or as one Facebook commenter wrote, geeze things must be really shitty elsewhere.