Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough challenges state's "turnaround schools" model

TAMPA — Middleton High School gained a reprieve this week after the state Board of Education granted it another year to show progress under a turnaround plan.

The move followed a personal appeal by Hillsborough superintendent MaryEllen Elia, who traveled to Tallahassee on Tuesday to argue the school's case. Had she failed, the school could have faced closure or takeover by a charter or outside management firm.

Elia said Middleton has shown enough improvement to warrant another year under district supervision.

But she said the problem is larger than one school. Under the state's differentiated accountability program, schools that are truly failing are listed right along with improving schools on a state watch-list.

"Middleton was never an F," Elia said. "And right now, if you looked at Franklin Middle School, it has had a C for two years and it would be (at a higher level) if it was judged right now, and yet it's in Intervene status."

Since 2008, both Middleton and Franklin have been on the bottom-ranked "intervene" list under that system, which was launched two years ago to help struggling schools show improvement under federal guidelines. They were joined this fall by F-rated Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg.

Elia said she asked the Board of Education to consider tweaking the program so that improving schools don't get wrongly labeled.

"I'm just saying we're doing really good work, and we have to continue that good work," she said. "But when staffs and schools are working hard, I don't think it's appropriate to categorize them as the worst school in the state. I think that's not true."

Middleton made some improvements on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test this spring, such as sophomore reading, while other scores dropped. But principal Owen Young said the school also made gains among low-income and special-needs students, as well as those retaking the FCAT.

"We have seen some gains," Young said. "It's happening. It's just a process."

Department of Education officials said the differentiated accountability system was designed to be rigorous — hard to get into intervene status, and hard to get out. Such schools receive extra money for specialists, but must also follow state guidelines that typically include dismissal of ineffective teachers and administrators.

By making it hard for schools to leave intervene status, the state is "keeping our focus on them until they reach a point where their progress is stable and the risk of backward movement becomes minimal," said spokesman Tom Butler.

But some districts have asked the state to find ways of recognizing improvement among schools in the bottom category, he said. "We are taking those recommendations into consideration."

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3400.

Hillsborough challenges state's "turnaround schools" model 09/22/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 23, 2010 12:11am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    Minnesota Twins pitcher Adalberto Mejia, right, makes the tag at the plate on Tampa Bay Rays' Steven Souza Jr. who attempted to score on a runner's fielders' choice in the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Jim Mone) MNJM103
  2. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  3. Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band dies at age 69

    Music & Concerts

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died Saturday, a publicist said. He was 69.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)
  4. Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, a former senator, dies at 85

    Ml

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jim Bunning, a former Hall of Fame pitcher who went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.

    In this June 21, 1964 file photo, Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches a perfect game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in New York.  The Phillies beat the Mets, 6-0.  Bunning retired all 27 batters who faced him in the first game of a doubleheader to become the first pitcher in 42 years with a perfect game in regular season play.   (AP Photo/File)
  5. Trump to decide next week whether to quit Paris climate agreement

    Environment

    TAORMINA, Italy —President Donald Trump declined to endorse the Paris climate accords on Saturday, saying he would decide in the coming days whether the United States would pull out of the 195-nation agreement.

    President Donald Trump, right, arrives to a G7 session with outreach countries in Taormina, Italy, on Saturday. Climate and trade were sticking points at the two-day summit in Taormina, Sicily. (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)