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Press Release

Friday, July 15, 2011

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Statement By: Education Commissioner John L. Winn Regarding Intervene School Waiver Requests by Duval and Miami-Dade County School Districts

"While I continue to be deeply troubled by the persistently low student achievement, particularly in reading, at Miami Edison Senior High School and Miami Central Senior High School in Miami-Dade County, and North Shore K-8, Andrew Jackson High School, Jean Ribault High School and William M. Raines High School in Duval County, I will be recommending to the State Board of Education on Tuesday that they grant the requested waivers, with conditions, for an additional year of the "district managed turnaround" option for these schools. My decision to recommend these waivers is based on the fact that the time remaining before the opening of schools for the 2011-12 school year presents almost insurmountable challenges that have the potential of destabilizing learning environments and hindering the pace of reform.

"Due to the urgent need to demonstrate real, significant change that will ensure the improved achievement of all students, I am also recommending to the Board that my recommendation to approve the waivers carry with it the following conditions:

  1. By August 5, 2011, a well-publicized event shall be held at each of these schools to showcase available school choice options to parents and students. Duval and Miami-Dade County School Districts shall make provisions for ease of participation by parents and students to attend this event, and shall include multiple choices among public schools within reasonable vicinity of the six schools in question. Students and parents will be allowed to sign up for these school choice options at the event and the school districts will be responsible for transportation funding as required by state law.
  2. Duval and Miami-Dade County School Districts shall engage the services of an independent, effective school management or turnaround entity to work closely with the school district and school leadership teams to assist in improving the performance of these six schools. These consulting entities shall make monthly reports to the Commissioner of Education, the Duval County School District Superintendent and the Miami-Dade County School District Superintendent regarding the recommendations and actions taken to improve student performance.
  3. During the first half of the 2011-2012 school year, Duval and Miami-Dade County School Districts will fully participate and cooperate with the Florida Department of Education in a Race to the Top sponsored initiative that:
    • a) Provides for no fewer than five public meetings to review and explore nationally and internationally recognized comprehensive and component models for significantly improving student learning appropriate for the populations of these six schools.
    • b) Explores solutions that fall within and outside the four options currently required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
    • c) Engages community leaders in considering solutions that are in the best interests of the school communities and require their involvement while providing for the highest quality of education possible.
    • d) The Commissioner of Education, the Duval County School District Superintendent and the Miami-Dade County School District Superintendent shall each designate a manager and staff for the project. Agendas, invited programs, and visits shall be managed cooperatively.

"Additional notes for these conditions are as follows:

  1. Events, visitations and open meetings held as a part of condition three shall be funded as an initiative by the Florida Department of Education to develop new and innovative approaches to turning around low performing schools.
  2. It is anticipated that this project will not only benefit the schools and districts in question, but will inform the federal government regarding a more robust array of solutions and processes for selecting them as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization is being considered.
  3. During the 2011-2012 school year, Duval and Miami-Dade County School Districts shall comply with state statute and rule requiring planning steps and further state board approval for a subsequent step in intervention.
  4. At each State Board of Education meeting during the 2011-2012 school year, the Commissioner of Education shall report the progress and level of compliance with the three waiver contingencies."