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Julie Janssen's school reform ideas to be presented at forums

The Pinellas School District will hold community forums Tuesday and Wednesday on superintendent Julie Janssen's new student achievement proposal. Many of the ideas could be in effect as soon as the 2011-12 school year. Tuesday's forum will be at Countryside High School, 3000 State Road 580 in Clearwater, and Wednesday's at Gibbs High School, 850 34th St. S in St. Petersburg. Both forums will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. To see the complete plan go to pcsb.org, look under "PCS News" and click on "Superintendent's Proposed Student Achievement Plan." Here are some of the ideas:

• Require uniforms for all elementary and middle school students.

• Create fundamental "schools within schools" at Boca Ciega and Dunedin high schools, phasing them in starting with ninth grade in 2011-12 school year.

• Move Palm Harbor University High School's International Baccalaureate program to Countryside High School starting in 2011-12 with incoming ninth-graders from Palm Harbor University High School. Create an IB program at Largo High School.

• Partner with colleges and universities to create research and development schools starting with Melrose Elementary and the University of Florida in 2011-12.

• Create more fundamental seats by moving Lakeview Fundamental Elementary into the Gulfport Elementary building and identifying another elementary school to convert to a fundamental school.

• Move Gulfport Montessori to the Lakeview Elementary building and support a "pure Montessori program."

• Divide the district into three attendance zones — north, middle and south county — and offer students comparable programs in each so they don't have to travel far.

• Extend the school day/year at some schools where student test scores indicate a need for more instructional time. Right now, Gibbs High School is moving to a longer school day, though the details are still being worked out between the teachers union and the administration.

• Create "ninth-grade centers" at each high school. Already in place in some schools, it clusters ninth-graders in their own part of a campus to give them extra support as they transition to high school.

• Expand AVID, the program that prepares students in the "academic middle," to all middle and high schools and explore adding it to the fifth-grade curriculum. Currently, AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) is in 23 Pinellas schools. It strives to give students the skills they need to help them successfully complete more rigorous study, like advanced placement courses.

• Create more "centers of excellence" to increase career and technical opportunities. Redesign Seminole Vocational Education Center and explore PTEC's role in supporting K-12 programs.

• Explore using PSTA buses for students. School officials and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority are developing a pilot program that would see the county bus system provide transportation for students in three schools: Osceola Fundamental High School in Seminole, Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School in St. Petersburg and Bayside High School, an alternative school in Largo.

• Establish "full service centers" at three sites — one in the north, one in the middle and one in the south part of the county. These centers would be like the medical clinic being established at Gibbs High, where students could get health-related assistance.

• Expand virtual school at the middle and high school levels and to fifth grade.

• Expand prekindergarten to all elementary schools eligible for Title I funds.

Fast facts

What happens next

Oct. 28: School Board will review input from community forums at a workshop from 9 to 11 a.m.

Nov. 9: First reading of proposed plan at School Board meeting

Nov. 16: Discussion of proposed uniform policy at board workshop 

Dec. 7: School Board expected to vote on proposed plan during a second reading 

Julie Janssen's school reform ideas to be presented at forums 10/09/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 9, 2010 4:31am]
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