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New Education Group Members Ready to Save 4 Failing Duval Schools

7:37 PM, Mar 2, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- At North Shore Elementary School, some parents are ready to do what it takes to keep their K-8 school open.

"Do I believe this is a failing school? No. I believe this is a good school and, like I said, I believe the parents have got to play their part," said one father.

While other parents have lost confidence in the school. "Your son's teacher is encouraging you to move him - yes to move him into a better school. That's what she told me," said a mother.  

Businesswoman Carrie Davis is a member of Duval Partners Excellent Education Inc., a proposed group designed to help improve the four failing schools in Duval County. 

"It is a huge challenge. We did not get here overnight. So it is really gonna take some innovative thinking as well as some great leadership to come up with some solutions that we can implement right now, that we can see some instant changes," said Davis.

Davis has children in the Duval County school system; she has started an after-school program in her community and she believes intervene schools Raines, Ribault, Jackson and North Shore should be saved.

"If we're not in a position as a city to provide educational opportunities for all of our kids then it is a community problem," said Davis.

FSCJ Marcella Washington is also a member of the new education board who feels if the schools fail, the system fails.

"It would mean failure on the part of the government. It would mean failure on the part of the community and the citizens in Jacksonville," said Washington. "I can't imagine how it would be if these schools were to close."

The college professor said the work to turn the schools around is difficult but must be done. "And we've got to go at it hard," she said.

The members of Duval Partners for Excellent Education are still waiting for their charge, but they will find that there are parents, like Sheena Presley, who agree that the schools are too important to close.

"I think it would be a waste of time to even close the school now," said Presley.

Duval school Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals said the board will be another set of eyes and have its own staff.

The board also would have the power to recommend which teachers or principals stay or go at the four failing schools, despite the state mandate to totally replace staff at those places.

Dannals said this new board will be part of the Duval County Public School Board's proposed plan to save the four schools. It will be submitted to the state commissioner of education before the state board of education's March 15 meeting.

The Florida Association of District School Superintendents is asking the Commissioner of Education to allow districts another year to implement a "district-managed turnaround school" or exit Intervene status.

This would help the efforts of the Duval school district. 










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