The Quality Education for All (QEA) Fund is a large pool of private dollars that will be invested in programs and initiatives designed to attract and retain high-quality teachers and leaders for Duval County Public Schools. The QEA Fund is the culmination of the Quality Education for All initiative, launched in 2004 by The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida to improve the performance of all public school students in Duval County, with particular attention to the gaps in achievement between poor and non-poor students, and minority and majority students. Through the QEA Fund, investments will be aligned with the Duval County school district, providing resources that will complement, not supplant, public investments. The QEA Fund is housed at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, and overseen by an advisory committee of QEA Fund major donors. The Jacksonville Public Education Fund is charged with administering the recommended grants, with financial and programmatic oversight by The Community Foundation.
The Quality Education for All Fund will focus investments specifically on programs and initiatives designed to attract and retain high-quality teachers and leaders for Duval County Public Schools, with the specific goal of closing the achievement gap. This strategic focus on human capital was determined based on eight years of citizen engagement with local education, business and civic leaders and more than two years of proprietary research by the national consulting firm The Bridgespan Group.
The Advisory Group is composed of major donors to the Quality Education for All Fund. The Advisory Group will provide oversight and guidance on the use of the funds, and monitor the success of the fund’s activities. The Jacksonville Public Education Fund convenes monthly meetings of the Advisory Group.
Wayne Weaver, Chair
Ex Officio (non-voting members)
Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools
Nina Waters, President of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida
In an effort to have the greatest impact on public education in Duval County, the Quality Education for All Fund will focus on human capital. Research shows that the quality of the teacher in the classroom has the largest impact on student achievement.
The fund’s plan calls for schools with the highest needs in the district to be the primary focus. For this reason, the majority of investments will be directed at the 36 schools that compose the Duval Transformation Office (DTO). This office oversees the schools, which are composed of Raines, Ribault and Jackson high schools and feeder pattern elementary and middle schools. Most of the 36 schools in the zone have consistently struggled academically. The schools in this feeder pattern have an average free and reduced priced lunch percentage of 87%, which is almost twice the Duval County, state and national average. As a whole, these schools are also performing at lower academic levels than the rest of the district and the state.
The number one factor that influences student achievement is teacher quality.
There will be a development and implementation of the Jacksonville Teacher Residency program to recruit standout science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) undergraduate majors nationally to teach math and science at the secondary level. There will be funded master’s degrees with a 3 year teaching commitment. There will be an expansion and concentrated placement of Teach for America corps members in secondary schools, specifically in math and science classrooms.
Human Capital Investment
$20,000 annual performance pay incentive is being offered to retain highest performing reading, math, writing, and science teachers currently in the 36 schools
$17,000 annual performance pay incentive is being offered to recruit highest performing reading, math, writing, and science teachers to relocate from highest performing schools in district or throughout the state for the 36 schools.
This incentives require a 3-year commitment by teachers to remain in one of the transformation schools.
Leadership is important to building and maintaining a strong educational foundation at our public schools. The Summer Principal Academy will have incentivized, proven principals serve as mentors during internship for future leaders. There will be a partnership with Columbia University to offer master’s degrees in Educational Leadership to develop a pipeline of future assistant principals and principals for the identified 36 schools. There will be an agreement that requires a 3-year commitment to the district.
Human Capital Investment
$15,000 annual incentive is being offered to retain and recruit proven principals who have raised student achievement in the most difficult schools. This also requires a 3 year commitment.
The Quality Education for All Fund has raised nearly $40 million to improve public education in Jacksonville. The goal is to raise $50 million over five years and obtain national grants that will match the funds. The specific investments focus on effective teachers and leaders. You can see a full listing of them at our Investments page.
The investments have been created with the direction and support of Superintendent Nikolai Vitti and the Duval County School Board. The investments will complement and align with the District’s strategic plan and goals, specifically around the “Great Educators and Leaders” strategic plan priority. The superintendent is a member of the Advisory Group and directs the many investments that are programs of Duval County Public Schools.