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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Friends don't let friends go to Jackson High School

Strategic Plan Unveiled for Andrew Jackson High School during Press Conference, Jackson High School still Doomed

Friends if you have any relatives going to Jackson High School pull them out now, use an opportunity scholarship to flee across town. The county instead of offering solutions just threw more paint against the wall hoping something would stick.

During the press conference they did not mention having full time social workers and mental health counselors at the school and they are desperately needed because so often why kids act up at school has nothing to do with school.

They didn’t mention how they were changing the schedule because seven classes at a time are too many and ninety minutes is was too long for many kids.

There is no plan to make sure every kid has an elective in their schedule that they chose. The district continues to make school such drudgery for kids and then throws their hands in the air and wonders why so many do poorly.

As far as I can tell there is still a one size fits all curriculum at Jackson High school and the teaching of trades, skills and the arts, you know things that might excite some children, isn’t part of it.

They did mention summer school but since for the most part summer school has become kids choosing to sit in front of a computer I am not hopeful. Many of our kids need a legitimate summer school program, where punctuality attendance and effort is mandatory. That way they get the skills they need and don’t lose the skills they have.

What are we going to get? Well teachers that go there will have an opportunity to work on a masters degree something that didn’t work when it was tried at Raines and Ribault and more mentors. Mentors are great and I hope every kid at Jackson that wants a mentor gets one but on our list of priority needs, mentors is way down it.

The district had a real chance to make meaningful changes to Jackson high school and once again the district blew it.

Finally the District’s press release mentioned great school leaders. I hope they aren’t talking about the principal who over the last four years gutted the staff and led Jackson to become the lowest rated school in the state number 404 out of 404 and the district leaders who allowed her to do so.

Friends like I said, friends don’t let friends go to Jackson.

The District's press release, please read it and see if it instills any confidence in you.

Jacksonville, FL - The overall success of Andrew Jackson High School has been laid out in a strategic plan that served as the focus of an announcement held at the school earlier today.

As a Priority School, the key objectives in the plan are to improve student performance, attract more experienced teachers, generate research about what works in large, urban high schools and increase the number of students choosing to return to Andrew Jackson.

The plan identifies existing and new partnerships designed to improve the overall marketability of the school. The school's current partners include Educational Directions, LLC, Teach for America, Communities In Schools, United Way and the Bridge of Northeast Florida. The newest partnerships include City Year and the University of Florida Lastinger Center. The latest collaborations will take effect during the 2012-13 school year.
"When you have partnerships of this magnitude coupled with great school leaders who believe in their students, backed by organizations with proven success; you can't help but expect Andrew Jackson to become one of the most successful schools in the district or perhaps even the state," said Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals. "We want to see Andrew Jackson become a preferred choice for students and teachers alike."

Representatives from the organizations spoke in detail about their roles to take students and teachers to the next level. One of the most exciting components of the plan is the placement of mentors in the school by City Year.

"It has been our mission to bring City Year to Jacksonville," said Kim Ward of the Michael and Kim Ward Foundation. "City Year's presence in our highest-need schools will help the students achieve their greatest potential."

For the eighth consecutive year, City Year has received a four-star rating that is reserved for the nonprofits that have met the highest standard of sound fiscal management, accountability and transparency.

The University of Florida (UF) will expand its partnership with the district by making Andrew Jackson a Florida Flagship School, providing an extensive support system for Andrew Jackson by offering professional development and additional advanced degrees, free to Andrew Jackson teachers and by conducting on site research. UF will also identify area Gator Nation volunteers to help sustain an extensive mentoring network of support and job internship sites to enhance the medical and business academies.

"The University of Florida prides itself on building and equipping leaders," said Director of the Lastinger Center for Learning Don Pemberton. "The partnership will allow UF and its alumni to give back in ways that will have a lasting impact on teachers and students."
Multiple opportunities exist for extended learning at the school totaling an additional 8,100 minutes of instruction, after school tutoring, Saturday school and an extensive summer program offered by the Superintendent's Academies. Most of the funding for these programs come from federal School Improvement Grant funds.

The Superintendent's Academy will provide summer opportunities for grade 9-
12 students as well as an extensive Bridge Program that will effectively support the transition from grade 8-9.

Duval County Public Schools operates 177 schools and serves approximately 125,000 students. The school district is committed to providing high quality educational opportunities that will inspire all students to acquire and use the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a global economy and culturally diverse world.

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