Sarasota County School District receives Mid-Size District of the Year Award from the University of Cambridge

Cambridge programs emphasize critical thinking skills, independent learning and research 

Image from the Cambridge International website

The Sarasota County School District has been named the District of the Year for 2017-18 in the mid-size category of schools associated with Cambridge International, “the world’s largest provider of international education programs,” the district has announced.

Cambridge International is part of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, a news release explains.

The award honors districts whose students consistently attain high performance rates on Cambridge’s internationally known examinations, along with districts that have a higher than average percentage of students who receive awards for top performance, and those that have provided program access to students of diverse backgrounds and experiences, the release points out.

The Cambridge program first was implemented in 2011, thanks to Merlin Schenk, then a teacher at Sarasota High School. “The program has grown over the years in a systematic way to give students access to an international curriculum known for rigor and relevancy,” the release adds. Students at Booker High School and North Port High School also are enrolled in it, the release notes.

Participating students and instructional staff members alike “benefit from a plethora of resources designed to enhance lifelong learning, the release says.

“We are thrilled to be the recipients of such a distinguished award from Cambridge International,” Superintendent Todd Bowden said in the release. “We strive to provide our students and staff with the best resources available to attain their goals and stretch their skills. The collective success of our students involved with the Cambridge program, as well as the achievements of our teachers and staff affiliated with the program, speak volumes,” he added in the release.

Mark Cavone, North America regional director for Cambridge International, said in the release, “We congratulate the students, teachers, and administrators in Sarasota County on their exceptional level of achievement. At Cambridge, we pride ourselves on working with schools and educators to build programs that emphasize critical thinking skills, independent learning, research, and communications so students are ready for future challenges.”

More than 600 US colleges and universities — including all members of the Ivy League, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Duke University, New York University, the University of Washington and the University of Virginia — accept Cambridge exams for credit and placement, the release points out.