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Sarasota County Schools Partners with Gulf Coast Community Foundation to Encourage Civility and Good Manners among Students and the Community

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Civility Squad

SARASOTA COUNTY, August 11, 2018 – Just in time for back-to-school, Sarasota County Schools has partnered with Gulf Coast Community Foundation to introduce The Civility Squad, a cast of characters that emphasize ten principles of civility, throughout the school community this year. This initiative supports the belief that all students should be able to come to safe, positive, and civil schools every day.

The effort is a revitalization of the foundation’s Because It Matters civility campaign and uses character traits such as staying positive, saying thank you and listening among others to improve behavioral outcomes for students and our community. Each month, a new trait will be introduced and integrated into schools, buses, cafeterias and district offices. The school district’s focus is to develop skills, values, and motivation to effect positive change.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Gulf Coast Community Foundation to promote positive messaging and behavioral outcomes for our students,” noted Todd Bowden, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools. “The Civility Squad is targeted to students K-12 and reinforces traits imperative to foster a positive community experience throughout our school district. This initiative is an important extension of our academic experience and we are thankful to Gulf Coast Community Foundation for their support.”

“Our initiative provides the prompts and inspiration to help people communicate in more effective and respectful ways, but it is really up to the community to put these principles into action,” said Dr. Mark S. Pritchett, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “Sarasota County Schools has embraced The Civility Squad and is infusing civility throughout the school community in fun and creative ways. We can’t wait to see the impact, especially among our students.”

“A positive climate and a culture that promotes civility are the foundation for the highest levels of academic achievement for all students”, said Debra Giacolone, supervisor of Student Services, Sarasota County Schools. “The principles of civility will be our way of work as we move forward during the 2018-2019 school year.”

With an emphasis on mental and behavioral health, the need for The Civility Squad to inspire students about positivity one good deed at a time is imperative to build an encouraging atmosphere in schools. The campaign will kick off on the first day of school, August 13. In addition to classroom materials, the school district will employ messaging throughout its schools, on buses, on social and digital media and in the community to reinforce positive behaviors aligned with the program. Everyone throughout Sarasota County is encouraged to learn more and participate in this year-long campaign.

About Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Together with its donors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation transforms our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Gulf Coast is a public charity that was created in 1995 through the sale of the Venice Hospital. Since then, it has become the philanthropic home of more than 700 families who have established charitable funds there and has invested $300 million in grants in the areas of health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Learn more at

About Sarasota County Schools

Sarasota County Schools is committed to providing unrivaled academic, emotional and civic growth to every student, every day. As one of the leading employers on the Suncoast, Sarasota County Schools boasts 53 schools that expertly cater to the diverse needs of over 43,000 students. We are one of two Florida school districts to consistently earn an A-grade every year since 2004. Our passionate educators empower students to take charge of their academic and personal success, a practice we believe fosters lifelong growth and achievement. We actively maintain the district’s tradition of excellence and ensure that tradition extends to all students. Our commitment to our students extends beyond graduation to make sure they not only graduate on time and do so college and career ready. Want to take your student’s education to the next level? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit


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