Duval County’s School Board at its regular meeting Tuesday will hear updates on technology in schools and the proposed plans for adding an extra hour of reading to the school day at certain schools, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said. Also on the agenda:
Item: Approve payment for the 2014-15 accreditation fees
Why: District accreditation is a quality assurance process to drive performance and continuous improvement in education. Duval was accredited in 2013-14. This payment allows every school to retain accreditation for the 2014-15 school year.
Cost: $104,000 to Advance Education Inc. in Atlanta
Item: Approve agreement with United Way to continue support services for students in Achievers for Life Program
Why: Achievers for Life helps low-scoring middle school students and their families remove obstacles to learning and improve academics through regular meetings. It served 1,152 students and their families in 2012-13 and about 1,000 students in the last school year. Students’ promotion rates, grade point averages and attendance rates improved. It operates in 10 schools.
Cost: Up to $500,000.
Item: Approve contract with City Year
Why: The group uses young adults for a year of service to keep students in middle and high school on track to graduate. City Year’s cadre of “near peers” are tutors, mentors and role models. Research shows students most at risk of dropping out can be identified as early as middle school through attendance and behavior numbers and performance in math and English. City Year has been at Andrew Jackson High, Matthew Gilbert Middle, Raines High, Ed White High, Northwestern Middle and Butler Middle. Expansion next year will include Ribault Senior and Ribault Middle schools.
Item: Approve the purchase of a writing literacy program called Write to Learn, from Pearson, for grades 5-11
Why: This web-based teaching tool combines summary and essay writing to help students build writing skills and reading comprehension. The artificial intelligent scoring system evaluates the meaning of the text in essays and summaries, scoring them by comparing the summary with the actual text. It will help students prepare for Florida’s new assessments.
Item: Approve professional development plan and budget
Why: The district’s efforts to improve and develop its teaching and other professionals includes a summer Teacher Academy, common planning and collaboration times at secondary schools, lesson studies, redesigning training and support for new and beginning teachers, reading coaches at every school and math coaches at some schools and a Principal Institute. Also increased opportunities for face-to-face “endorsement” training for English as a Second Language and reading educators.
More teachers and principals will get training in behavior and class management systems. A goal is that more principals will be able to lead and help teachers transition to the more rigorous Florida standards.
Cost: More than $18.6 million
Item: Approve contract with Catapult Inc. to provide Title I academic services to private school students
Why: Under Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, school districts must provide services for eligible private school students that are comparable to services districts offer their own eligible students. This measure pays for instructional services to 1,917 private school students who are Title I eligible, meaning they are low income. For 2014-15, a projected 1,917 students in 42 non-public schools are expected to be at or below poverty level, thereby generating Title 1 funds. The money pays for services for “educationally disadvantaged” students. Last school year, 2,409 private school students were educationally disadvantaged and received Title I education services.
School Board meetings are open to the public, held at 6 p.m. in the first floor Cline Auditorium in the School Administration Building, 1701 Prudential Drive. Meetings also are aired live at 6 p.m. on Comcast Channel 212, or by digital antenna on Channel 7.4, or online at www.duvalschools.org.