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Brevard County School Board: Keep Gardendale Elementary Open

This petition had 1,255 supporters

Mrs. Moeller, Principal of Gardendale Elementary, Letter to School Board Members

On Friday, 11/9/2012, Dr. Binggeli presented his plan to the School Board for
district wide cuts in the budget after the sales tax referendum was not successful. One of the cost saving measures was to close down Gardendale
Elementary Magnet School on Merritt Island in addition to three other

As I am sure you are aware, GEMS offers unique program and opportunity
for Brevard County students. Located in the midst of low income housing
on Merritt Island and one of Brevard County's first magnet program's, it
was/is so successful in achieving its goals that we no longer qualify
for additional magnet grants and our free/reduced lunch rate no longer
qualifies us to receive Title I funding. Our enrollment has defied the
projections and continues to grow. Gardendale is not considered one of
Brevard's "Choice programs" because our mission includes serving the
students within our boundaries as well as the students (50%) who choose
to leave their home school programs and attend our school. Gardendale
has been recognized as a National Redbook Award winner and was the
districts' first Title I school to receive recognition as a National
Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. (To give you some historical
perspective, the Choice Programs for West Melbourne School of Science,
Stevenson, and Challenger 7 were modeled after Gardendale's FOUR
successful magnets, minus the home school students, to attract the best
and the brightest students as an alternative to private and charter

When students chose to attend GEMS, they were promised an educational
experience unlike any other. There is no other alternative in Brevard
County that can offer students currently attending GEMS the same
opportunities. Over 20 years ago, our school chose to go far above and
beyond teaching the "Standards" in a traditional manner to provide our
students real world experiences in banking, business ventures,
performing arts and science through Susan Kovalik's Highly Effective
Teaching model (previously Integrated Thematic Instruction). NOTE: The
GEMS Showstoppers performed for you last year and received a standing
ovation from the Board; no other school offers a MicroSociety program
that aligns to the 21st Century skills.

GEMS does not cost the district any additional funds to provide these
programs but operates with the same financial support as the traditional
schools. Disbanding this collection of dedicated professionals and
taking away this opportunity from our neighborhood and choice students
to flourish is unimaginable to me, my faculty/staff and parents. If you
chose to support this proposal, you will lose much more than you would
gain financially. I would implore you to look for another option for our
facilities shortfall.

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