Marc Lowenstein / Via On Tour PR

The Jacksonville-based blues-rock group Tedeschi Trucks Band recently donated 38 brand new musical instruments, valued at $48,000, to Englewood High School.

Taylor Johnson / WJCT News

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown launched his teen summer-jobs program at the City’s downtown library on Monday.

Duval County students will receive job training and work experience through the program.

Mayor Brown talked to a huge room full of teenagers Monday morning.

“This is your launching pad. This is your opportunity to build on a strong foundation that you already have,” said Brown.

The Summer Jobs Program provides at least minimum-wage jobs to teenagers with the aim of developing young leaders and keeping juveniles out of the criminal justice system.

Rhema Thompson / WJCT News

  In Katherine Stallings’ room, the lights are dim. A large blue table with four small chairs takes up most of the little space, along with several book shelves, pictures and a large stuffed butterfly. But it doesn’t feel cramped. It feels cozy, like the kind of place someone might want to curl up with a blanket and a book.

As she enters the room, Stallings instructs her class of four to get up and stretch.

“Touch your toes,” she tells them. “Touch your nose. Take a deep breath, bend through your mouth.”

Rhema Thompson / WJCT

Teaching is a journey, but it hasn't been a pleasant one for everyone.

Recently, the inaugural class of the Jacksonville Teacher Residency (JTR) program had its final meeting of 2014. The end-of-semester meeting had fewer teachers than the beginning of the school year. In the final installment of "Life Lessons" for the year, WJCT takes a look at the stories behind the two residents whose forays into teaching were cut short.

A strong start

The day William Bowman got the offer to join the Jacksonville Teacher Residency program, he was ecstatic.

Duval Schools

A plan by the Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti to change magnet designations for five schools has been met with mixed reactions this week. WJCT went to one of the community meetings where the plan was vetted.

On Tuesday, Vitti spoke to parents and teachers at Butler Young Men and Women's Leadership Academy, one of the schools at the center of the changes. The struggling F school was recently transformed into the district's first gender-based traditional public school.

Rhema Thompson

More high school students graduated in Duval County in 2014 than ever before, newly released state data shows.

Rhema Thompson

Twenty-six Duval County high school students were at Jacksonville University Thursday afternoon to cap of their final day in a special course aimed at tackling issues of perceptions, community and the justice system.

The course, entitled Media and Crime, was developed three years ago by JU Sociology Professor Shelley Grant.

In the wake of high-profile cases of slain youths Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, it takes on a new kind of relevance.

Rhema Thompson / WJCT

A student Gallup poll show Duval County Public Schools students seem to be more optimistic and emotionally healthy this year.

More than 56,000 students in grades 5 through 12 participated in the districtwide survey on student health and well-being. That’s up from  42,680 students last year, according to the district.

This year’s poll shows hope and engagement among Duval County students improved slightly by 2 percent. Student well-being - that is, how students think about and experience their lives - is up by 1 percent this year.

Rhema Thompson

A financial literacy lesson like the one in Eric Fields’ Economics class probably would’ve saved most of us in the working world today a lot of unnecessary financial heartbreak.

“How many of you have a job?” he asks the class of 12th-graders, and about 20 raised hands respond.

He follows with another question,

“How many of you have a budget?” he asks, and nearly every hand drops.

But Fields doesn’t judge. He admits in his younger days, he was not so fiscally responsible.

Trey Csar standing in front of presentation screen
Rhema Thompson / WJCT

Nearly half of all rising sixth and ninth graders in Duval County Public Schools are not attending their neighborhood school, and a sizable portion are now attending charter schools.

That’s according to a months-long study on local school choice released Monday morning by the Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF), an education advocacy and research policy group.

Tracy Crowell

In recent years, Holiday Hill Elementary has had its share of rough patches, from principal shakeups to highly publicized pushback over a district-imposed extra hour of instruction

But this year, a new program aims to get the struggling school back on track - both figuratively and literally.

Duval County Public Schools

Next month, more than $6 million in grants will go before the Duval County Public School Board for approval, and about $3.8 million will go towards support services for 37 struggling schools in Duval’s Urban Core.

Onderwijsgek / Wikimedia Commons

The Duval County School Board has become the latest in a growing list of school and district officials pushing back against the state’s controversial testing plans this year.

Patty Wimmer-Johnson

On Thursday, Luke Johnson celebrated his 17th birthday with cupcakes, a snazzy birthday cap and a spinal tap.

Duval County Public Schools

Students in most of Duval County’s dropout recovery programs received an average of about two academic credits or fewer this year, according to data released by district officials this week.  The new figures didn't sit well with some school board members Tuesday.