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Press Release

Monday, January 31, 2011

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Statement By: Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith Regarding North Shore K-8, Andrew Jackson High School, William M. Raines High School and Jean Ribault High School in Duval County

“This afternoon I spoke with members of the Duval County School Board about the critical decisions they face regarding four chronically low performing schools under their care. North Shore K-8, Andrew Jackson High School, William M. Raines High School and Jean Ribault High School all continue to perform at unacceptably low levels, resulting in a long-standing classification as Intervene schools under Florida’s Differentiated Accountability (DA) school improvement program.

“My discussion with Board members was frank, as I explained their obligations under Florida law and the reasons these schools are in this situation. I shared with them that the reading proficiency at North Shore K-8 has plummeted from 45 percent proficient to 35 percent proficient in the last five years and that Andrew Jackson High School has followed a similar trend, dropping from 21 percent proficient in 2005-06 to a dismal 13 percent proficient last year. I also described how Jean Ribault High School fell from 22 percent proficient in reading three years ago to just 15 percent proficient now, and how William M. Raines High School has managed to hover around a troubling 12 percent proficient in reading for the last five years.

“Given the status of these schools and the requirements in law, I explained to Duval County School Board members that should these schools not experience the statutorily required amount of progress this year, the options available to them involve one of three things: 1) Reopen as a charter school with a governing board that has a track record of success; 2) Contract with an outside entity to operate the school; and 3) close, reassign the students to other schools and monitor them. A fourth option that converts the school to a district-managed turnaround school was already chosen for these schools last year. Since it failed to produce the progress needed to move these schools out of Intervene status it cannot be chosen again, absent approval by the State Board of Education.

“These are very important decisions being faced by the Duval County School Board and I truly hope these schools are able to help their children experience significantly greater academic success this year. But if they are not able to, the Duval County School Board has very clear obligations on the next steps they must take and I stand ready to assist them however I can. The children at these schools are counting on Duval’s School Superintendent and School Board to provide the quality educational experience these students deserve.”