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Sunday, Aug 31, 2014
Pasco Tribune

Watchdog group honors Cox principal


DADE CITY — Yvonne Reins, the principal at Cox Elementary School, is one of six principals statewide being recognized for their efforts to improve student achievement at high-risk schools.

The principals will receive the inaugural Florida TaxWatch Elite Principals Awards at a Jan. 23 ceremony in Tallahassee.

Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, said in a prepared statement that Reins and the other principals are “changing expectations in our classrooms and ensuring that all children benefit from Florida’s exceptional education system.”

“It is long past time to focus on these principals whose actions and policies have helped turn around our most troubled, often forgotten schools and students,” Calabro said.

The recognition was based on analysis of student achievement gains in reading and mathematics.

Reins was named principal at Cox Elementary in April 2009, taking over at a time when the school was in its first year of restructuring under the No Child Left Behind Act because it had consistently come up short in meeting the federal government’s requirements for showing adequate yearly progress.

Cox Elementary is in one of Pasco’s most economically disadvantaged areas, and nearly all of the school’s 449 students qualify for the federal government’s free and reduced-price meal program.

Cox had been a D school in six of the 10 years before Reins took over, with C’s the other years. It improved to a B by 2012, though it dropped back to a C in 2013.

Florida TaxWatch is a nonprofit government watchdog organization.

The awards are being given through the Florida TaxWatch Center for Educational Performance & Accountability and the Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University.

The other five people honored — Tangela Goa, Linda Amica-Roberts, Anna Hernandez, Guillermo Munoz and Verena Cabrera — are all principals of schools in the Miami-Dade school district.

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