Fairmount Park Elementary
Pinellas County school officials have released new details on part of its plan to get failing schools back on track.
Part of the plan includes pay raises and a new position.
This all comes during a tumultuous time for the district.
Sparse crowd greets Pinellas schools turnaround specialist (March 30)
On Monday, the Department of Education opened a civil rights investigation into whether the school district discriminated against black children.
This took place as the district works on a plan to turn around five failing elementary schools with predominantly minority students: Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, Lakewood, Maximo and Melrose.
The newly hired Director of School Leadership said the plan includes hiring new teachers and paying them up to $25,000 more per year to work in failing schools and, possibly, extending the school day.
Now, according to the Tampa Bay Times, the district has added additional parameters, including the hiring of a minority achievement officer to track student progress in real time.
Officials also want to open a new success center for students who receive out of school suspension so they won’t lose class time. School officials said this indicates they are aggressively attacking any achievement gap that exists.
“We’ve identified more African Americans for gifted services, our African American graduation rate has increased 17.5 percent in the last five years,” said Lisa Wolf, with Pinellas schools. “And we’re seeing more African Americans participate in advanced placement courses as well as pass those AP exams, so these are just some indicators that we’re moving in the right direction. Clearly, we have more work to do and we take that very seriously.”
It will likely take several months for the review to be completed by the Department of Education. But the plan to turn around the five failing elementary schools is expected to be implemented with the start of the 2016-17 school year.
Pinellas Superintendent Michael Grego is expected to talk to school board members about the proposals next week.