Below is the recent newsletter from Step Up For Students, who oversee the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (for low-income families with K-12 schoolchildren) and the Gardiner Scholarship (for families with PreK-12 schoolchildren with certain special needs) — among other things.

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Summer 2016 Quarterly Newsletter

Dear Partner,

The 2016-17 school year has officially kicked off and we’re excited to announce Step Up For Students is already having its biggest year yet. Enrollment isn’t even complete and we already have about 91,500 Florida Tax Credit students enrolled into the schools of their choice. Another 5,800 Gardiner Scholarships have been awarded, and the applications for both scholarships keep rolling in. We expect to have a combined total of more than 100,000 Florida students using one of Step Up’s scholarships this year. 

“We’re elated to be able to offer learning options to this many Florida students who need it most,” said Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill.

Each one of these scholars has an amazing story to tell. And many will be able to look back after they graduate from high school, like Lacey Nowling, who graduated in 2015 from Faith Christian Academy in Jay, Fla., and have wonderful tales to tell about college and beyond.

This wouldn’t be possible without our parents who want more for their children, the teachers who guide them, the donors who make it all possible, and our community’s support. Thanks to each and every one of you, we’re confident that the 2016-17 school year will be one of excitement and success. We look forward to sharing the journey with you, and once again, we thank you for your unwavering support.

Please enjoy the stories in this quarterly newsletter.


Your friends at Step Up For Students

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New Year Kicks Off
With the final Florida schools kicking off the 2016-17 school year in the coming days, Step Up For Students team members have been busily working on applications for both the Florida Tax Credit (income-based) scholarship and the Gardiner Scholarship for children with certain special needs.

For the income-based scholarship, Step Up expects to have more than 92,000 students enrolled for the new year, and another several thousand more using the Gardiner to customize their learning.

Click here to learn more.

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Lawsuit Dismissed
A unanimous three-judge panel dismissed a lawsuit challenging the nation’s largest private school choice program on August 16.

The First District Court of Appeal ruled the statewide teachers union and other groups did not have legal standing to challenge Florida tax credit scholarships because they “failed to allege any concrete harm whatsoever” caused by the program, which is expected to provide scholarships to more than 90,000 low-income children in the coming school year.

Click here for additional court ruling details.

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Student Spotlight
As early as sixth grade, Lacey Nowling knew her love for children was calling her to become a pediatrician.

Living in the tiny town of Jay, Fla., in the far northwestern reaches of the panhandle, she had a clear vision of her future.

But certainty turned to doubt as her school work got harder and harder in ninth grade.

“She had bad grades,” Lacey’s mom, Elizabeth Nowling, recalled. “She was running D’s and F’s most of the school year. She was just barely making it by the skin of her teeth.

Click here to learn more about Lacey.

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Southern Pledges $125 Million
Step Up For Students and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (Southern Glazer’s), the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor, announced on August 10th that Southern Glazer’s has committed $125 million to the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program for the 2016-17 school year.

Southern Glazer’s contribution – the largest in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program’s 15-year history – will fund more than 20,000 scholarships in the 2016-17 school year. This is Southern Glazer’s seventh consecutive year of participating in the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program, bringing the company’s total to a record-breaking $315 million since 2010.

Click here to learn more about Southern Glazer’s contributions.

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FTC Students Make Gains
Florida’s tax credit scholarship program continues to enroll some of the most disadvantaged students from among the state’s lowest-performing public schools, according to the latest evaluation of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program. After they receive scholarships and enroll in private schools, they keep academic pace with all students nationally, based on their standardized test results.

The report is the eighth annual evaluation of the test score progress, and the second conducted by researchers at the Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University. Researchers examined the reading and math scores of 34,469 students in 1,285 private schools during the 2014-15 school year. Scholarship students in grades 3-10 have been required to take a state-approved nationally norm-referenced since 2006.

Click here to learn more.

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Coming Soon…
This year is the 15th anniversary of the creation of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship.
Please watch for details on how you can join in the celebration.

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Would you like Step Up fliers?

If you would like to have fliers mailed to you, please contact Melissa or Stephanie. Fliers are free of charge, are two-sided (English/Spanish) and provide scholarship information, eligibility requirements and how to apply for both the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (for low-income families with K-12 schoolchildren) and the Gardiner Scholarship (for families with PreK-12 schoolchildren with certain special needs).


Thank you for sharing information on our two scholarship programs with the families you serve.

Melissa Jaramillo
Community Outreach Manager
(904) 595-6814
Stephanie Love
Community Outreach Manager
(904) 352-2250

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Thank you for reading
Step Up For Students | Website | Blog
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