Gibbs High School starts year with new vision - WFLA News Channel 8

Gibbs High School starts year with new vision

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Freshman Provonjoe Wells and his grandmother, Frankye Jaudon, at Gibbs orientation. Freshman Provonjoe Wells and his grandmother, Frankye Jaudon, at Gibbs orientation.
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL -

Administrators at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg admit they face a lot of challenges as the school year starts.

"We understand at Gibbs not all our students are working toward the same goals," Assistant Principal Michael Vasallo said. "We're going to have students on a college pathway, and, students that are on an industry pathway."

They have a diverse student body at Gibbs. About 45 percent of the students are eligible for the free or reduced lunch program. Vasallo wants everyone to be on the same page. He helped form a new vision "cooperate, collaborate, graduate." The signs are already posted in the halls, and parents have been informed on the school website. Part of that vision is a new fundamental school. Gibbs staff targeted 30 students to enroll in the program.

"Those students will require additional parent involvement and student involvement," Vasallo said. "Most fundamental schools are whole school fundamental, but we're a school within a school. We're targeting FCAT scores and hopefully moving these students to graduation."

The graduation rate is slowly improving at Gibbs. The graduation rate went from 75 in 2012 to 77 percent for 2013. Making it through in four years is a priority for freshman Provonjoe Wells.

"I'm working toward my grades, and graduation, and trying to make it," Wells said.

One way the school plans to help students "make it" is an industry program. Students can earn industry certificates before they even graduate high school. Although Vasallo admits the teachers will face challenges throughout the year, he says this new mission is for the best.

"It's a huge task," Vasallo said. "We got lots of different perspectives from our staff and we and have lots of different paths for students now."

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