I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Closing the Achievement Gap Task Force: Some Strong Recommendations to Consider

The Closing the Achievement Gap Task force presented their recommendations to the School Board yesterday in a special meeting. Five main areas of focus were discussed-which all make very good sense.

1. Mandatory Tutoring for Students who are not making sufficient progress
2. Peer to Peer tutoring (the suggestion is to hire high school students to tutor struggling peers after school)
3. Mandatory Parental Participation-this is an excellent idea, however nobody knows the magic secret to make this happen; I think the closest thing to making parents participate is the way we mandate conferences between 1st and 2nd grade as a part of the 1st grade retention program-perhaps we can do this between all three of the middle grades.
4. Mandatory teacher cultural diversity training-I think teachers already do this as a part of their training regimen during college-however if they don’t I think it could be helpful
5. Mandatory school social worker resource training.

 At the conclusion of the power-point, it was revealed that the committee would not disband after submitting the recommendations; rather, they’ll be staying together and “adopting” Montclair elementary school as the test bed for implementation of their strategies.

For my part, I expressed appreciation to all the participants and panelists for taking their valuable time to participate. The other board members echoed this sentiment.

All of these ideas are intriguing-and I would strongly support implementation of items 1-3. I think we get the biggest bang for the buck by implementing these, and if we can successfully model these ideas at Montclair, I’d like to scale the concept to other struggling schools district-wide.

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