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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas has new plan to address achievement gap



Superintendent Mike Grego told the School Board Tuesday about a new plan to address the achievement gap in Pinellas County.

The plan, called Bridging the Gap, outlines five goals for the county to target the academic differences between black students and other groups. The goals are:

*Eliminate the difference in graduation rates

*Eliminate the gap in proficiency rates on state assessments

*Eliminate the gap in participation and performance in advanced coursework

*Reduce the disparity in disciplinary actions

*Reduce the number of black students being labeled as having emotional or behavioral disabilities

Each of the five goals has a list of actions needed to accomplish the task. It also outlines what type of data will be used to monitor progress. A few examples:

To eliminate the difference in graduation rates, the district will assign each "at-risk" black student in high school with a mentor or coach who will "develop and monitor a personalized plan and life plan with the student." At-risk means those students who have scored below proficiency levels on the reading and math FCAT.

To eliminate the gap in proficiency rates between black students and other students, the district will ensure all black students have access to extended learning programs to prepare for end-of-course exams and the FCAT.

To eliminate the gap in rates of participation and performance in accelerated coursework, the district will make sure that all black students are invited to register for advanced classes.

Pinellas has been pressed to improve academic outcomes from black students as a result of two legal cases, Bradley vs. Pinellas County School Board, a desegration case from 1964, and Crowley vs. Pinellas County School Board, a 2000 case that alleged the district was violating the rights of black students to a high-quality education.

Grego told the board Tuesday that Bridging the Gap will provide specific plans to address the persistent gaps between black students and other groups in Pinellas.

An analysis by the Times in 2010 found that black students in Pinellas were even further behind than other black students in Florida.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 12:07pm]


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