Pinellas administration backs breaking up Jamerson-Thurgood feeder pattern
Dana Douglas was upset. Her child attends Jamerson Elementary, a decision she'd felt comfortable with knowing Jamerson feeds into a top-tier middle school: Thurgood Marshall Fundamental.
With the school board considering a proposal to break up that feeder pattern, Douglas came to testify against the change. But the board went ahead with a preliminary vote of approval, so she sent a followup email to the school board wondering whether they hadn't made up their minds before she spoke.
On Thursday, the school system replied. Bill Lawrence, the director of student assignment, reiterated the board's position that Jamerson students could apply to Thurgood Marshall like any other county students, who should have just as much access to one of the system's premiere middle schools.
"The plan...will provide access to Thurgood Marshall, not only for Jamerson children, but also for children who attend other elementary schools, thus leveling the playing field and offering equal access to the programs at Thurgood Marshall," Lawrence wrote in an email directed toward Douglas.
Read Douglas's email here, and Lawrence's full reply below after the jump:
The School Board and Superintendent have asked me to respond the emails related to this issue. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns.
A major goal of the district’s Student Assignment Plan is to provide predictable K-12 feeder patterns focused on thematic curriculum while providing a wide variety of educational choices for as many families as possible. With that goal in mind, the district will be offering families whose children attend Douglas L. Jamerson Jr. Elementary School several options for the 2014-15 school year and beyond. These options are as follows:
- Families can apply to the fundamental program at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School as well as to its Center for Gifted Studies. Families will be granted a sibling and/or proximity priority per School Board policy.
- Families interested in having their children continue their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education can apply to Azalea Middle School, which through the Gateway to Technology program from Project Lead the Way, will provide the opportunity for them to acquire knowledge and skills in problem solving, teamwork and innovation as well as exploration of STEM careers. This is a nationally recognized engineering curriculum and program. Families will be granted feeder pattern, sibling and/or proximity priority into this program per School Board policy.
- Families interested in having their children continue their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education also can apply to Bay Point Middle School, which through its Center for Advancement of the Sciences and Technology program, will provide them with a focus on mathematics, science, technology and world languages. Additionally, Bay Point will be adding a Project Lead the Way Gateway to Technology program and a Microsoft IT Academy, which will give students the opportunity to gain technology skills and earn industry certifications. Families will be granted feeder pattern, sibling and/or proximity priority into this program per School Board policy.
The plan outlined above will provide access to Thurgood Marshall, not only for Jamerson children, but also for children who attend other elementary schools, thus leveling the playing field and offering equal access to the programs at Thurgood Marshall.
The district appreciates your continued support as we work to provide a quality education for your child and all children in the district.
Director, Student Assignment
Pinellas County Schools