Seminole County Public Schools Awarded $1 million


In September of 2016, Seminole County Public Schools received a $1 million grant from XQ: The Super School project.

Brandon Bradley, Copy Editor

In early September 2016, Seminole County Public Schools was awarded $1 million dollars from the XQ: The Super School Project, in which school districts work toward rethinking and redesigning school experiences. The country-wide competition began in September 2015, where 40,000 people from 45 different U.S. states compete.

As a new recipient of the million dollar grant, Seminole County will create and construct its very own Problem Solving Incubator (PSI) High, where students will be offered the opportunity to solve real world problems, while earning credit towards graduation. The county its final application and proposal on May 23, 2016, and hopes that through PSI High, students will be able to use project-based partnerships with businesses, non-profit organizations, and the government, and create real change within the world.

While PSI High seems to be a thoroughly complex, yet impressive school that will create boundless opportunity for students within Seminole County, it has been questioned by many students whether or not the money could be used elsewhere to improve already existing schools in the county, as well as create new schools specializing in different academic and artistic programs.

Many students who attend Seminole County Public Schools, as well as administrators, teachers, and other staff members are easily aware of problems currently existing in the school system. Although the thought of a newly structured and redesigned school, built from the ground up, that will offer students new levels of success, is highly appealing, does this mean that schools lacking key fundamental elements, essential to the success of students will be overlooked?

Take for instance, the BEAR Academy, brought to Winter Springs High School this past school year. Teachers within the school saw a genuine problem amongst troubled, high school freshman, and came together to create a program that could bring more structure to the paths and futures of these often misguided and distracted students. Here, money was spent on the Freshman Seminar curriculum, to ensure that the proper tools were accessible to teachers, which in addition, allows students to also have access to the proper tools.

Here, the key fundamental elements that are evidently essential to these students’ success was not overlooked. Although with limited resources, WSHS teachers pulled together to improve their school from the inside out, opposed to just leaving or proposing a different type of school for high school freshman.

Last September, representatives  from the WSHS Leadership and Student Government Association class went to the countywide Teen Summit, where Seminole County Superintendent, Walt Griffin announced the one million dollar grant to the students and teachers present, also opening the floor for comments and suggestions.

Junior and SGA executive board member, William Hoffman acknowledges the creativity behind PSI High, but in regard to the money stated that “[Seminole County] should use it to get new computers.”

Senior class Vice President and Varsity Cheer Captain, Jordyn Maneke’s opinion differed a bit from Hoffman’s.

“I think it could just be split up between Seminole County schools and each school could just have a little extra money to spend how they want,” said Maneke.

Imagine for a moment that every high school in Seminole County identified major problems on their campus – whether that be in the school’s physical landscape, the proficiency of teachers, student test scores, or even something such as a lack of an effective visual and performing arts program. Now, consider how exceptional these schools could be if given several hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix these problems within the school.

Not to say that schools within Seminole County are not already exceptional and making strides artistically, athletically, and more importantly, academically, everyday, but it seems as though these schools could be better. Before branching out to build a new and improved school, we should work to build up the schools in our county who have room to be better than they are. There is always room for improvement. It is better to improve, or perfect what one already has, before branching out to begin something new.