Middle schools headed to front burner in Pinellas
Middle school reform is again a top priority in Pinellas and will include tackling the issue of more than 1,300 overage middle school students, interim Superintendent John Stewart said this morning. "Man, that's unbelievable," he said at the monthly meeting of district principals, referring to the number of overage kids. "We just have to do something about those kinds of problems."
Stewart noted that three board members indicated at their first workshop with him that they wanted middle schools to get more attention. So, he said, "We're going to get on it."
Initial steps are already under way.
Associate superintendent Bill Lawrence is putting together a committee that will include about 50 members, including students, teachers, principals, support staff and representatives from PCTA and the Pinellas Education Foundation. Two board members, Janet Clark and Terry Krassner, will also serve on the committee.
Lawrence said the district and PCTA took a close look at middle schools several years ago and forwarded good suggestions. "But as budget realities set in," he said, "they were difficult to implement due to cost."
He said the committee members should be named by next week and expects the group will hold its first meeting by the end of the month. He also said it will use the Collaborative Labs at St. Petersburg College to brainstorm recommendations that should be polished enough to present at a school board workshop by December or January.