Insiders Update: August 28, 2015

Posted at 10:46 AM, Aug 28, 2015
and last updated 2017-12-13 05:24:32-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--We're taking a look back at an education program in the Griffin Heights neighborhood and how successful it's become in just a short time.

With school back in session, we also wanted to update you on standardized testing in Leon County.

Back in April, we explored the controversy surrounding standardized testing. Some students opted out, or refused to take the Florida Standards Assessment in the spring. Claire Overholt opted out of the writing portion of the FSA.

"I just logged on and then maybe 15 minutes into the test, a teacher came by and said 'are you taking the test?' and I said 'no,' and she said 'okay,'" explained Claire Overholt. "Then, I pressed end test and my mom came to pick me up."

Some parents told us there are just too many tests given in school. They also questioned the validity of the the FSA and so did some members of the legislature.

Gillian Gregory, the testing director for Leon County Schools, say they still don't have the results from last year because they are pending the outcome of the validity study

"If the test is determined to be valid and reliable the state still has to move forward and establish what the ranges are for each student," said Gregory. "Level one, two, three, four, five and so once they establish those ranges and they apply those students scores to those ranges then we will get an individual student report."

Gregory says the scores won't harm the students. At this point, it's more for the parents to know their progress. She says they don't anticipate getting the results for many weeks to come.

In June, we took you inside the Griffin Heights neighborhood where a local church started providing free GED training to the community.

"Now, they can access their dreams," said Pastor Rudy Ferguson Jr. of New Birth Tabernacle of Praise. "They can go to culinary school. they can go to TCC. They go to Lively because now they have access to what they want to do now."

After a break during the summer, the program is back and bigger than before, thanks in part to our report.

"With the media and with the Facebook and with all the different elements and word-of-mouth, it has grown. We have more people this year. We have about 32 on roster," said Pastor Ferguson.

We introduced you to Jermaine, the first graduate of the program. He's now working to get ready for college. Pastor Ferguson said he's the first of many.

"All of them Jermaines to me, every last one about Jermaine to hitting the ground running, and they're really here," said Pastor Ferguson. "They're raising their hands. They're enjoying the teacher. They're actually into the lesson, and they're actually enjoying themselves."

The church is partnering with TCC and other groups to provide laptops to graduates of the program free of charge.

"We want to give them all away, and we want to continue to let them know that they can access their future with a brand new laptop and a brand new GED high school diploma."

If you have a got a story idea for the insiders, you can email us at, attention the "Insiders."