Duval Superintendent Statement Regarding Board Recommendation for Intervene School Oversight | Politics

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Duval Superintendent Statement Regarding Board Recommendation for Intervene School Oversight
Politics, Schools

When Duval Partners for Excellent Education, Inc. was started, the primary responsibility was to mobilize the entire city in supporting the four intervene schools and their feeder schools. Specifically, they were to expand the involvement of businesses and faith-based partners, university staff, non-profit and government wrap around services, as well as adding to the financial resources to attract and retain the best principals and teachers, extend learning time, and other important needs.

In presenting our original plan to the Florida Department of Education, it became obvious that a change of management authority from the school district to an outside organization would be needed to meet state requirements, and Duval Partners was asked to prepare for the possibility of their role expanding while maintaining the support role. Since the governance role was more pressing, with timelines to exercise a possible handoff several months away, the focus became preparing for this additional role.

In the process of this preparation it has become increasingly apparent that the two roles (support and governance) were not going to be embraced by the community and a decision on next steps had to be made. Which role was more important? I believe the support role was more important because the district could still contract directly with a management company instead of Duval Partners subcontracting with them. This will meet the state requirement should a management organization model be necessary. This process will be easier to describe than the “dual role,” and will lower the criticism that has unfortunately been aimed at Duval Partners who have only done what has been asked of them. This group of concerned, dedicated volunteers care about our city and have spent countless hours discussing roles and responsibilities, opportunities and challenges, and the impact of various options. My hope is that the members of the Board of Duval Partners will continue to serve in the support role that was originally envisioned. I thank them for their commitment, leadership and wisdom as we improve our schools together.

I continue to believe that a one-year extension of the district Turnaround program is appropriate. We have made academic progress in all four of our intervene schools and changed the climate and culture to one of performance. The Differentiated Accountability model is scheduled for a review and improvement this fall including the criteria to enter and exit Intervene status, the time length to implement a change of model to an educational management organization of charter and other concerns. Additionally, the FCAT 2.0 reading test levels will be determined and will fix a decade old problem of widely different difficulty levels between grade levels.

However, should our appeal next Tuesday be denied, it will be my recommendation to the School Board to contract with Educational Directions, LLC, as a management organization. This organization has a decade of success in consulting and managing low performing schools and has strength in high school reform not present in most other organizations.

Politics, Schools

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