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What did Vitti mean when he called Ed White "one of those schools"

At the Ed White last day faculty meeting, the superintendent said Ed white had become a Raines Ribault and Jackson school. Ed White had become one of them.  

What does that mean?

Does he mean,

Is it a school wracked with poverty?

It is a school filled with minorities?

It's a school where most of the veteran staff has been chased away? 

Does he mean it is, well I think you can see where I am going.

I have to tell you; at one time Ed White was something special. It had a huge art department and a model U.N. Team, physics club and drama department of some renown.  However with 6 principal changes in 8 years and a tremendous turnover in staff, Ed White is just a shadow of its former self.

Ed White may have become "one of those" schools but its because the district made it that way. 

7 comments:

  1. Vitti's Game of...Principalships.

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  2. I always considered Ed White and First Coast pretty much the same. We were very similar in size and demographics, both pretty good schools with committed staff, happy students, and respect in the community. We were both 'C' schools for the most part, which was ok after we watched our top 20 percentile go to magnets like Stantion, Paxon, and DA.

    Kids haven't changed, teachers haven't changed. Believe it or not kids still do stupid, rebellious things on occasion and teachers still go home tired and get cranky on occasion. There has always been problems in impoverished, inner city schools, and there always will be. What DCPS has done quite successfully is make every secondary school an impoverished, inner city school.

    So yes, Ed White has become one of those schools, so has Terry Parker, Wolfson, Sandalwood, Englewoord, ect.

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  3. Actually I disagree with Parker being thrown in that mix. We AREN'T in that situation, and I really believe that is because we have had stable leadership for the last 4 years. Great things are happening at Parker because our Principal respects our staff and is very supportive. Parker was the highest performing Title 1 school in the whole county, and one of the highest in the state as far as gains. We have very little turnover in staff and in general it is a good place to work. Our Dean's office takes care of business. We have an IB program that is blowing all of the other neighborhood schools out of the water. I really believe that Parker is a testament to what can happen when you leave a staff in place and allow them to do what they do best. And when you have an administrative staff that is supportive and encouraging.

    Parker is a model that the district should allow other schools to follow. If we actually had parental involvement and even a portion of the money that schools like Fletcher, Mandarin, etc have I can't even imagine what we could accomplish.

    I think we can all agree that the game of musical principals does not work for anyone. And being a bully principal who doesn't respect the staff doesn't work either. It all goes back to what this blog is all about: if you support your teachers and give them the tools they need to do their job, everyone wins.

    Having said all of that, Parker also just got a new principal.

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  4. Ed White had one of the most committed, hard-working staffs in the district when I was there. We were a family. We built strong long-lasting friendships amongst faculty, outstanding mentoring relationships with our students, and even stronger bonds with families and our community. It didn't matter that demographics were changing. It didn't matter that socio-economic status was changing. That family worked hard every day to support those kids in EVERYTHING: from varsity football to Model UN to robotics to top of the line drama programs and beyond. We were good at everything, because we had kids who trusted their teachers to drive them to be the best, because we had teachers who trusted their administrators to back them in order to take the risks necessary to drive kids to be the best, and because we had families who trusted teachers and administrators to give the best possible education to those students. We may not have lived up to the tests that the state had in mind, but our students were receiving the best education possible given everything we had to offer them.

    Then, the roulette began. After a long-time, culture defining Principal retired, the district opted to replace him with FOUR separate principals, none of which lasted longer than two years. The culture that had helped make Ed White great disintegrated. Teacher turnover reached massive levels, as the same teachers who helped build the culture left for places where they could find that culture again, because of burnout, health issues, and other reasons. Those who remained stayed as committed, but they were outnumbered by those who didn't know or understand the potential and greatness around them. This is not a slight at the teachers who remain there today, especially those who are still dedicated at Ed White and to its success, but a reminder of how precious their commitment is. Those same teachers who remain today from six years ago can be counted as a tiny fraction of the total faculty. It should be noted that not all the blame for this lays at the feet of our current superintendent, but the power to change it does. And his failure to do so is a crime against our students and a crime against their future. Ed White deserves strong leadership, and strong leadership that is allowed to establish a culture of excellence once more. Duval County deserves that. Nikolai Vitti doesn't provide it. Who will hold him accountable?

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  5. Hi everyone I hope all is well but if I can I'd like to leave my comment on this subject. I'm not from the area so I can't say much if anything on DCPS. I'm from Miami born and raised until I moved to Broward County where I currently live. After reading the remarks on Vitti, I for one personally thinks what he said was taken out of proportion. Down in Miami we have some historically black high schools. Miami Northwestern senior high school which has been up since 1955 and is currently 93% black and 7% Hispanic sits at an enrollment of 1585; and over the last four years have seen growth from consistently being a D and F rated school yearly now to B, A, B and B over the last four years. Miami Jackson senior high school has been up since the early 1900's and has been a majority black school since 1966 until now being 65% Hispanic and 35% black only because black people moved out. Jackson used to get F ratings yearly now has Jackson has been an B, A, A and a B school the last four years and the enrollment sits at 1650. Last example is Miami Edison senior high school and they've been open since the early 1900's and by 1975 was a majority black school and still is at 95% with a large influx of Haitian American students. The enrollment sits at 800 and this school by far is was the worst. Edison received F ratings every year and now has been a B school for what 5 years straight. This school was once labled a drop out factory but it's not anymore. I said all of this to say that Edward H. White was probably one of the best schools academically in the area but due to demographics changing it's starting to become more black. I think Vitti was implying that if things don't change what's around going on around White before you know it people will look at it as another Raines, Ribault and Jackson. Regardless of what good comes out of black schools people will always judge on them because of the area. In Miami poverty, homelessnes, prostitutes, drug attics, drug dealers, killings among young black male's are prevalent, single parent households are just some issues that vary the areas around these schools. So again I'm not bashing Vitti and I wish you all wouldn't either and I know a lot of black people in the Jacksonville area has said something to this affect if not the same exact thing.

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  6. I looked up the reading scores for the 3 above schools. They currently stand at 21 and 25s. Even though the grades may have improved, only 1 in 4 students could read at grade level in 2013-2014. How much real improvement could there have been? It is all just a numbers game.

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