The  Jacksonville  Public  Education  Fund,  Save  Duval  Schools,  Duval  County   PTA,  Jacksonville  Kids  Coalition  and  Jacksonville  Urban  League  are   nonpartisan  organizations.  We  do  not  support  or  endorse  any  specific  candidate.   Our  goal  is  to  educate  the  community  and  promote  increased  participation  in  school   board  elections.     Candidate  responses  to  all  questions  will  be  published  verbatim  on  a  special  web   site  at  www.schoolboard2012.org.  While  candidates  are  strongly  encouraged  to   complete  the  questionnaire  in  its  entirety,  partial  or  non-­‐participation  will  not   prevent  candidates  from  participating  in  subsequent  public  forums  or  other   election-­‐related  events  hosted  by  these  organizations.     The  deadline  for  returning  this  survey  is  July  2,  2012.  No  responses  will  be   accepted  after  this  date  and  all  responses  will  be  published  simultaneously  to  the   web  site  subsequent  to  this  date.  

2012  SCHOOL  BOARD   CANDIDATE  QUESTIONNAIRE  

 

   
Suzanne Jenkins Candidate  Name:   ____________________________________________________________   3 School  Board  District:   __________   www.putkids1st.com Campaign  Web  Site:   ____________________________________________________________  

  Primary  Campaign  Contact       Suzanne Jenkins Name:   ____________________________________________________________  

ccssj@comcast.net E-­‐mail  Address:   ____________________________________________________________   904-318-6883 Phone  Number:   ____________________________________________________________  
     
JACKSONVILLE PUBLIC EDUCATION FUND 245 RIVERSIDE AVENUE · SUITE 310 · JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA 32202 904.356.7757 · FAX 904.394.2005 · WWW.JAXPEF.ORG

Candidate  Biographical  Information     Please  provide  a  short  biographical  summary  of  no  more  than  500  words  that  can   be  used  on  www.schoolboard2012.org  web  site  and  in  other  publications:     I am a proven leader who will fight for all of our children. I am a parent, small business owner, citizen activist, and former City Council member who has a passion for public education. My husband and I graduated from Jacksonville’s public schools, as have our three children. Our commitment to public education is clear: We’ve invested in our public school system with children. In 1989 our oldest began Kindergarten. I became very involved in volunteering, from Room Mom to PTA member. I held leadership positions at Love Grove within the PTA and as President at Pine Forest Elementary. I also was very involved in the School Advisory Councils (SAC), both as member and Vice Chair at Pine Forest and Landon Middle School. I was a SAC member Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and Englewood High School. For over 20 years I have been intimately involved in and dedicated to making sure our public schools are meeting the needs of the student and their families. That involvement led me to run for City Council. I served on the Jacksonville City Council for two terms 1999-2007. I’ve led City Council Committees, neighborhood associations, PTAs, School Advisory Councils and my own business. I work by creating effective relationships with people from all walks of life—and I never give up. My ability to identify issues and build consensus regarding solutions is an asset I bring to the school board. I have eight years of experience as an elected official serving on City Council committees and interacting with the Mayor’s office addressing a multitude of issues that face us as a city. This experience makes me a strong candidate for the school board and the issues we are face today. Now is the time to break through barriers to our school system’s success. I am a proven leader who will fight for all of our children—Jacksonville’s children.      

 

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Instructions     Please  answer  each  of  the  questions  below.  If  you  need  additional  space  or  wish   to  elaborate  on  your  answers  to  one  or  more  questions,  please  feel  free  to   attach  additional  pages  to  this  questionnaire.  Please  make  sure,  however,  to   identify  the  question  to  which  you  are  responding  by  number  so  we  can  correctly   align  your  responses  with  the  proper  question.     You  may  respond  by  email,  fax,  or  postal  mail.    Directions  on  how  to  do  so  are  at  the   end  of  the  survey  document.         Questions     Overall     1. If  you  had  to  give  the  Duval  County  Public  Schools  a  grade,  how  would  you   rate  its  current  performance  at  educating     a. High-­‐performing  students?       _✔_   A   _____   B   _____   C   _____   D   _____   F     b. Average  students?       _____   A   _____   B   _✔_   C   _____   D   _____   F     c. At-­‐risk  students?       _____   A   _✔_   B   _____   C   _____   D   _____   F       2. In  what  respects  do  you  think  Duval  County  Public  Schools  are  doing  well  in   their  mission  to  educate  students  in  Jacksonville?  
In my opinion over the last 4 years the school district has calmed the troubled waters left by the last superintendent. They have dealt with declining budgets and have set in place reading readiness programs that have been very effective with our elementary population. They have instituted Voluntary Pre- Kindergarten at our elementary schools and raised the curriculum standards beyond state requirements and instituted Advanced Placement classes in more of our high schools, expanded the IB program into other high schools and addressed the need for career academies while also helping students to get on and stay on track to attend college after high school. They have dealt with a state legislature that continues to micromanage local school districts without regard or accountability for their actions. They have not quit when the going got tough. It is unfortunate that we didn’t have a superintendent that grew into the position he was accountable for. I know that every effort was made to give him the tools necessary to make the surgical cuts that should have been made had he been

 

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willing to do so. In my opinion, removing him from the position is in the best interest of the school system. This is one of the things I would consider that was performed poorly by the board. Communication and accountability is also another item that needs much improvement. There needs to be better communication from the Superintendent to the board, from the board to the public and within the schools for parents, students, teachers and principals. Adequately preparing students for college success needs to be addressed. Remedial work is required of FSCJ with greater degree with incoming students. This needs to be addressed and corrected. When children graduate high school they need to be adequately prepared for college courses. Last but not least is not having a clear and defined vision for the school system. Without that you cannot point to anything and say we achieved it or it is still a work in progress. You cannot manage what you cannot measure.

3. In  what  respects  do  you  think  DCPS  needs  to  improve  significantly?  What   specific  changes  do  you  want  to  make  in  school  district  policies  or  programs   to  make  these  improvements?    
I believe it should be a multi-level approach. There is no silver bullet to solve the issues facing our school system. I am identifying three critical strategies that we should focus on in the 2013 school year, which will require a fourth, all encompassing strategy of providing better stewardship of our resources.   1. Increase support for academic achievement. A. Provide additional support for all low-performing students in ALL schools. B. Increase student success rates in rigorous courses, increasing the number of students passing AP, IB and AICE exams. C. These goals entail fortifying both our magnet and neighborhood school programs, D. while preserving the arts, electives, sports and other curricular and extracurricular motivators for students. 2. Ramp up the district’s academic rigor. Duval should meet or exceed the ACHIEVE standards, in order to yield a vastly improved readiness for post-secondary education and our globally competitive workforce. [Need to explain/put ACHIEVE in context] 3. Focus on retaining and supporting quality teachers and principals. A. Tighten the student discipline code, in order to help free teachers to teach. B. We also need to trust principals to lead teachers in their efforts to teach to individual children, and not to high-stakes tests. I support the resolution against the overreliance on high-stakes testing. 4. Provide better stewardship of resources: Other, pervasive issues currently impede the implementation of my main goals, above. These underlying issues demand, frankly put, better stewardship of the districts’ resources. We must simultaneously address the district’s aging facilities, school consolidation and district line changes, and inadequate funding for our school system. A. Address our technology deficits: Only as we resolve the issue of squandered resources will we be able to address Duval County’s abysmal technology deficits. We have schools that barely have internet access, and schools that do not have enough computers for the students to utilize for standardized testing. This inequity is simply

 

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unacceptable. B. Consolidate resources decisively: We need to take a hard look at the older facilities and attendance levels at all of our schools and make the hard decisions. In order to provide an optimum education for our students we will need to close or consolidate some of our schools. We should not be spending money on under- enrolled schools when we could be spending that money on classroom needs, including teachers and paraprofessionals who assist our children in succeeding. Once we have identified severely under-enrolled schools, we need to move quickly and decisively to implement those changes. We also need to understand which programs are funded with grant dollars that are going to expire. Being prepared for that will take us out of the crisis mode and become more proactive about the future of our programs. C. Take leadership: As a School Board member, I will shoulder the responsibility of forging consensus for these decisions with the public, and I will support the Superintendent to make those changes within the school system.

        Duval  County  Public  Schools  has  a  strategic  plan  approved  by  the  school  board  in   2010  that  guides  the  day-­‐to-­‐day  management  and  activities  of  the  superintendent.  A   copy  of  the  strategic  plan  can  be  accessed  at  http://www.duvalschools.org/static/   aboutdcps/superintendent/strategic_plan.asp.     For  the  following  questions,  please  cite  the  strategy  number  and  title  (e.g.  Strategy  1.A:     Provide  additional  support  for  all  low  performing  students  in  all  schools).     4. On  which  specific  strategy  do  you  see  as  most  critical  for  the  district  staff  to   focus  in  2013?    
Again, I believe it should be a multi-level approach. There is no silver bullet to solve the issues facing our school system. Basically I would look at strategies that put students first, i.e, those that equitably distribute resources across the district, update technology across the district, and ensure that all schools will have enough computers and software to serve and benefit all of our students. These goals relate directly to my strategies, listed above, for supporting our students’ academic achievement. In order to deliver the level of academics required for post secondary academics, high teacher morale, and principals who empower their schools to greatness as described above, we’ll need to consolidate resources locally and demand adequate funding from the Florida Legislature. The student bodies of each school deserve the arts, a variety of electives, and sports. Students who wish to work right after high school deserve enhanced options through the career academies. All students deserve good neighborhood schools, plus the option of magnet schools that continue to meet the specific needs of students who can’t find specialization in their local neighborhood schools. A new teacher matrix that would create and support a process in place to attract and retain good teachers. We lose a lot of money with the way new teachers are assessed. My recommendation is to look closely at the Gates

Strategic  Plan  

 

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Foundation-funded teacher evaluation model in Hillsborough County. We also need a plan to mentor principals to identify and bring out the best in their schools. Adequate funding and flexibility from the state legislature is a must, while still holding us accountable for results. These are covered in Goal 3 strategies 3B and 3 C1. We also must do a better job of communicating within the school hierarchy and to the parents, students and community at large with an eye towards inspirational leadership for positive change.

      5. Which  specific  strategy  or  measurable  would  you  propose  revising  or   eliminating  and  what  would  you  change  about  it?    
I would choose Goal 5, “Engage Family and Community Support.” and its supporting Strategy 5A, “Establish continuous and effective communications with all internal and external stakeholders.” In its place, the goal should read, “Communicate with, inspire, and forge consensus for positive change with all internal and external stakeholders.” Communicating, forging consensus and providing leadership for positive change have been the centerpieces of my public service career. The School Board and Superintendent have done a poor job of communication throughout the school system and community at large of what they are setting about to achieve through their Strategic Plan. This is an area that can be greatly improved with more definable objectives in which we can better measure our success. I will provide more leadership and attention to developing business partners for schools. Building on my own community involvement with existing School Advisory Councils, non-profits and civic associations, I will be the consensus forger that this community deserves. Leadership should come from the School Board Members, as elected representatives of the people, as well as the Superintendent. We have the "bully pulpit" from which to preach if we want to inspire and involve our community at large to roll up their collective sleeves and get involved in our public education.

        6. Please  provide  a  description  of  how  you  would  differentiate  between  the   governance  responsibility  of  the  school  board  and  the  management  role  of   the  superintendent.    
Governance of the School Board members should reflect policy discussions that will improve all of our students' educational experience; support our classroom teachers' abilities to educate their students and empower principals to lead their school to achieve its very best for all involved.I believe the duties of a School Board member would be to create policies that meet the expectations of our community partners (parents, teachers, business community, students) and reflect best practices of other districts regarding education. Based on those expectations, we should work with the Superintendent to

Governance  

 

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identify and create a vision and action plan that he/she will implement throughout the system. We should treat the Superintendent as a CEO by giving him or her the support to enact the necessary changes to implement the action plan. If measurable improvements aren’t met in a defined timely fashion, then he/she is terminated and a new Superintendent— who embraces the vision and action plan and continues the implementation—is hired. The Superintendent is always accountable to the Board for the management of the school system. We must be kept informed of the progress of programs and processes that support the policies. The Board should let the Superintendent run the system and communicate course corrections during workshops or individual meetings with the Superintendent. We should empower him or her to develop staff to support the vision and implement it throughout the system while we as board members are in the community supporting the work of the Superintendent. There are core goals and objectives that can be identified and measured throughout the year to make sure we stay on track, or make course changes that will bring about the successes we strive for our students. Once these are in place, our job is to inspire and empower the Superintendent and his/her staff to carry out to the fullest extent those polices that will bring about the successes we have asked him/her to produce. Once we have created this process of accountability for the Superintendent and his staff, the process will have transparency for all involved and will bring about a sense of confidence throughout all stakeholders of this system.

  7. Describe  in  your  decisions  how  you  would  balance  the  interests  of  your   specific  neighborhood  school  board  district  with  the  interests  of  the  entire   school  system  if  they  come  into  conflict.    
I believe we should look at the system as a whole. While I understand that we are divided up into districts, this kind of thinking only adds to the parochial approach that we have experienced in the past and has not served our students or city very well. We should get away from that and look at equitable distribution of resources throughout the system. There needs to be an equitable solution for equipping all schools. Hard questions and answers need to be forthcoming regarding the number of schools we have, the state of disrepair they are in, the enrollment numbers of the schools and the resources they have and what they still require. I realize that I represent a district within the system. However, we need to create a process that accurately reflects the state of the system in buildings and resources and set a plan in place that will systematically resolve those issues to attain a level of equity across the county for our students and faculty. This should reduce staff turnover, improve teacher and student morale, bring stability to neighborhoods and give us the successes we are striving to produce. Families will move into neighborhoods that have good schools. We are only as strong as our weakest school, no matter where that school is located. A planned implementation of improvements needs to be identified and followed up with reports back to the school board and community on its progress. We must have balance across the city for all of the schools. Accountability and communication is key to implementing an across the board change to how we have equitably distributed our resources in the past across the county.

 

 

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    The  Duval  County  School  Board  is  currently  engaged  in  a  search  for  the  next   superintendent,  who  will  replace  retiring  Superintendent  Ed  Pratt-­‐Dannals  in   December  2012.     8. What  do  you  consider  the  key  qualifications  the  next  superintendent  should   possess  in  order  to  be  most  effective?    
I would prefer a Superintendent who is a visionary leader. We should hire a candidate who can point to past successes, especially in schools that have experienced the kinds of failure we are currently experiencing in some of our schools. He or she will be an honest, trustworthy and a good communicator—one who understands how the system works, and sees the changes that need to be made; one who can recognize “jewels” within the system or within individual schools and utilize those people or capabilities where they are found as well as take it district wide; one who can also recognize failed programs, policies and processes and root them out. I know firsthand from experience what can happen when a leader has a vision, communicates it and then sets about implementing it. Good leaders lead, but great leaders inspire. The Superintendent must always be honest with the Board regarding the issues facing the school system and the solutions they feel would be beneficial to the issue. Civil communication is imperative in order to bring a new level of respect and confidence from the business community and public at large. I would hope to find a candidate that would fit that model.

    9. The  school  board  is  in  the  process  of  developing  a  new  formal  evaluation   instrument  for  the  Superintendent.  In  addition  to  this  annual  evaluation,   please  describe  how  you  would  propose  providing  formative  feedback  to  the   next  superintendent  on  his/her  performance  on  an  ongoing  basis.    
The formal evaluations instrument can assist us in determining whether and how quickly the superintendent is moving towards our consensus-built goals. But any written instrument pales in comparison to the power of human relationships. Each School Board Member comes to the table with their own strengths and talents. Their experiences within the community could be of value and insight to the Superintendent. I believe it would be beneficial for each School Board Member to develop his or her own relationship with the Superintendent wherein they could freely share information and perspectives. Good member-superintendent relationships pave the way for successful collaboration with each other, as well as with the public at large.

         

 

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Financial  Resources  and  Budgeting     The  Duval  County  School  Board  is  responsible  for  adopting  an  annual  budget  that   outlines  expected  expenses.  A  copy  of  current  budget  documents  can  be  accessed  at   http://www.duvalschools.org/static/aboutdcps/departments/   budget/budget_resources.asp.  Please  review  these  documents  so  that  you  can   answer  questions  #10-­‐12  as  specifically  as  possible.     10. What  specific  areas  of  the  district  budget  would  you  prioritize,  particularly  if   additional  resources  became  available?    
I would begin the equitable distribution of educational resources throughout our school system . I would prioritize technology in our schools and classrooms. We are woefully inadequate in our supply of computers in our schools and equitable access to the internet throughout our district. There is a disparity in regards to technology found in each school and grade level throughout the district. I would also look to improve education for exceptional students and incorporate Nemours Children's Dyslexic testing of our elementary age school children. As a parent of a child who was diagnosed with Dyslexia, I know that the sooner a child is diagnosed, the sooner a path to successful learning can be charted. Swift and effective approaches to reading disorders could be an important key to attacking reading problems in our district. I would work to provide both academic and career/vocational technology to our middle and high school educational offerings, and increase access to the arts and physical education in all of our schools.

   

11. With  revenues  expected  to  continue  to  decline  in  the  coming  years,   additional  budget  cuts  are  all  but  a  certainty.  What  specific  areas  of  the   budget  would  you  recommend  reducing  first?    
I want to take a hard look at facilities and administration to see where we can consolidate functions and facilities into one building where feasible. We have underutilized buildings that could be sold and put back on the tax rolls and could serve as redevelopment and revitalization for neighborhoods. This would include the current location of the School Board. I realize that we are debtfree on the building, however there may be options that would make better sense in these economic times. I would also look at the transportation costs and see if there is a more economical way of delivering these services to students. We did that with the School Officer program, we should look at transportation the same way.

    12. The  school  district  generally  maintains  a  carry-­‐forward  balance  and  reserve   fund  in  its  budgeting  process,  a  portion  of  which  is  required  by  state  law.   How  would  you  balance  the  maintaining  of  a  reserve  in  excess  of  the  state   requirement  and  continuing  to  fund  programs  and  services  during  tight  fiscal   times?  

 

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I would want a thorough discussion with the Superintendent, School Board Members and the community at large regarding this issue. It is imperative that the community completely understand this fiscal practice, and the superintendent and board lost an important opportunity to do so this past year. For this reason, as a school board member I will be proactive in asking questions that others have failed to ask. The public deserves no less. While we must be frugal with our funds, it should not be to a degree that leaves our students and teachers not having the required funding necessary to successfully educate our children. There are plenty of resources available to the School Board to inform us of all of our options. Through careful consideration and discussion regarding the total number of dollars we have to distribute we can reasonably come to a proper solution regarding how much to spend and how much to maintain in a carry-forward balance and reserve fund. This must be communicated county wide and be as transparent as possible in order to educate the community and bring trust back to the School Board and into the school system.

    13. To  ensure  the  district  has  adequate  fiscal  resources  and  avoids  budget   shortfalls  in  the  future,  what,  if  any,  revenue  sources  should  the  school   district  pursue  and  on  what  timetable  (e.g.  increased  local  property  or  sales   taxes,  statewide  tax  increases,  etc.)?    

First we should identify all under-utilized buildings, close them and put them up for sale if they cannot be reused or repurposed in a manner that supports our mission of public education. The cost of under-utilized facilities is no longer a luxury we can afford. The potential cost savings from that will allow us to consolidate our resources to more appropriately staff and support our remaining local schools. Once we get our financial house in order and we find we are still in need of additional dollars, we need to begin the conversation with the state regarding the appropriate funding of our schools. Public education is the state's responsibility and it must be responsible to this county for tax dollars to fund public education. I support legislative action that would assess the components and appurtenant costs of the high quality public education that the Florida Constitution demands, as well as action that would fully fund the costs of those components. I would commit to do all of these things prior to supporting an increased local property sales tax or state taxes.

         

Community,  Parent  and  External  Relationships   14. How  would  you  propose  strengthening  the  relationships  between  parents,   schools  and  community  members?      
We need to take our current strategic plan out to the public and expose them to the vision and mission of the plan. I would do this through community meetings with existing groups such as PTA and SAC along with civic and neighborhood

 

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associations. I would also begin a speaking circuit of various service clubs that serve Jacksonville. The presentation of what we have set about to do and how we are measuring it and measuring up would give us a chance to tout what we are doing that is working as well as let people know where work still needs to be done. It always amazes and inspires me when you educate people as to the issues we are facing, how sometimes some individuals will come forward and get involved to help us reach our goals. We really should utilize that right now to really launch the strategic plan, get feedback and make course corrections along the way. Doing this could help us to inspire and empower our community to have some ownership in the process regardless if they have children as students in the DCPS.

 

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15.  How  would  you  ensure  that  the  school  district  remains  transparent  to  the   community  in  terms  of  student  academic  performance,  financial  management,   school  board  meetings,  public  records  and  other  areas?    
As a former City Council Woman I have plenty of experience in this area, so I would ensure transparency and accountability to the community beginning with providing agendas that list all items up for discussion and actions for that specific meeting. Requests for public records must always be provided in a timely fashion and all meetings between two or more School Board Members must be noticed and include the subject matter of what will be discussed. Minutes must always be kept for the records. Regarding issues related to academic performance, there should be quarterly updates from the Superintendent and staff at our board meeting regarding our programs and strategic plan so we may hear how we are progressing and implement any course corrections that might be required along the way. This will also allow the community to have the opportunity to listen in and stay informed or our progress and be able to give us feedback as well. Workshops should be utilized to address any course changes along the way that arise from these quarterly reports.

 

      16.  There  are  a  number  of  external  organizations  that  interact  with  and  work  to   support  the  Duval  County  Public  Schools,  from  the  PTA  to  the  Mayor’s  Office  to   local  nonprofits.  Please  describe  the  ideal  relationship  with  entities  like  these   and  how  you  may  leverage  their  services  to  support  students.  

It is high time we reach out and include the organizations and non-profits that are in place for our public schools. As a former President of the PTA and now a Lifetime Member of the PTA, it is a natural fit to fully utilize this organization to the fullest of its abilities. I have also served on the School Advisory Council’s “SAC” that are mandated by State Statutes where budgets are developed for that schools and issues particular to that schools are dealt with.I would like to see the School Board develop an outreach to each of these organizations and begin working together for the good of the schools. So much more can be accomplished in a shorter amount of time if we would but engage and empower these organizations and non-profits to help us with our schools. Reports from all SAC meetings should be filed with the administration and made available to the Board Members and public when requested. With today’s technology this should be easily accomplished since minutes are required to be kept for each meeting. Presentations from our County Council of PTA’s and various educational non-profits would be a great way of keeping communication available to all of our efforts.  

 

 

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Legislative  &  State  Issues     The  actions  and  decisions  of  the  Florida  Legislature  and  State  Board  of  Education   have  a  significant  impact  on  the  education  of  Jacksonville  students.     17. What  law  or  policy  passed  in  the  past  few  years  by  the  Florida  Legislature  or   State  Board  of  Education  had  the  greatest  positive  impact  on  education  in   Jacksonville?    
A partial restoration from last year’s budget of 1 billion dollars. Better communication from the State’s DOE with community meetings of questions and answers across the state. While an ill-advised global push for increased accountability has turned the FCAT into an unacceptable end-all, be-all measurement tool for students, schools and teachers, the idea of standards-based education has been a central motivator for improvement in our schools. The key will be to take FCAT out of the driver’s seat in education policy and put it back in the tool box, where it belongs. The Hillsborough County work on teacher evaluations, funded by the Gates Foundation, may have some insights. Treating teachers as professionals, giving them a say in the manner in which they are to be evaluated, and creating mentorship structures within schools has paid off. Students there have shown tremendous gains on national tests as a byproduct of good teaching. Standards are only lines on the football field—teaching to the individual child is always the goal.

   

18. What  law  or  policy  passed  in  the  past  few  years  by  the  Florida  Legislature  or   State  Board  of  Education  had  the  greatest  negative  impact  on  education  in   Jacksonville?    
I believe the local School Board and Superintendent should determine the role all of this testing plays into accountability of teachers and schools. We are the closest to the local taxpayers and are accountable for the outcomes of our local schools and students. We hear directly from students, parents, teachers, community members, etc. We must be able to directly impact the accountability of our schools and teachers and therefore be wholly accountable to our constituents. We experience the immediate feedback from our constituents. In their minds the buck stops with us, not the State Legislature. It seems the State Legislatures have not been accountable to anyone for their actions of late and the collateral damage that has been done to public schools across the state. There is fast becoming a bunker mentality with the teachers and students in regards to the high stake FCAT. Teacher and student morale is low in our schools. Every classroom is a mini-community striving for higher achievement. It’s time we treat teachers as the professionals they are. We would never deign to reduce the professional success of doctors or attorneys to overreliance on once measurement. We should review other models for teacher evaluations and find best practices to bring here.  

 

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Major  Policy  Issues     19. What  do  you  see  as  the  advantages  and/or  disadvantages  to  using   standardized  testing  data  as  a  portion  of  a  teacher’s  evaluation?    
I believe this is a loaded question as it does not tell me what portion or percentage of the teacher’s evaluation would be impacted by the legislation or policy. That is a critical area of concern. While I believe in holding teachers and the school system accountable for student learning, that accountability should measure many more outcomes than just standardized testing. Advantage – ability to quickly track test scores of students of each teacher, and year to year. That data could help a teacher and school system to address the shortcomings of the teacher and academic program. Disadvantage – high stakes standardized testing of students does not five a full picture of the student’s true capabilities and holding teacher totally accountable for a student’s ability in test taking alone should not be utilized in that manner. This could cause teachers to teach to the test and not employ their full skill set in educating our children.

   

20. Duval  County  currently  operates  magnet  programs  in  more  than  50  schools,   including  13  dedicated  magnet  schools.  How  do  the  district’s  magnet   programs  positively  and/or  negatively  impact  overall  student  achievement  in   Jacksonville?    

This question is a mixed bag of issues and answers. There are many positive outcomes from our magnet schools. The easily identifiable ones are Stanton, Paxon and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. Frank H. Peterson and A. Phillip Randolph are a career academies that has made great strides in preparing students for the workforce as well as college. There is a concern regarding “brain drain” from neighborhood schools having to compete with the academic advanced study magnet schools. The same argument is being made regarding the arts program. I believe these issues can be addressed to make sure there is a balance throughout the system. The introduction of IB, AP, Honors, AVID, Early College and AICE programs in all high schools is a great beginning to addressing these issues. I know each year students who return to their neighborhood school after attending a magnet school because it did not meet the expectation or was a not a good fit for the student. On the other side of the coin, there is also an access problem for neighborhood children to attend the magnet schools without having to apply and fill out paperwork in order to attend their “neighborhood school”. This can be a barrier for the neighborhood childrenand needs to be addressed by DCSB. Diversity can come from the neighborhood and should not be seen as a problem for the school system.

           

 

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21. What  impact  does  out-­‐of-­‐district  school  choice—charter  schools,  tax-­‐credit   scholarships/vouchers,  opportunity  scholarships,  and  similar  programs— have  on  the  success  of  students  in  Jacksonville?  
I believe from the data that Duval County has produced the jury is still out as to the success of the students in Jacksonville. While at first glance these programs look promising....it is when you drill down and cull the information that you find out that the impact has not had the success that we all would like to see. However, I do believe it is still early in the implementation of all of these programs to have a definitive direction in what should be continued and what should be discontinued. Whenever tax dollars are being utilized there must be transparent accountability for student success in their education.

   

22. Currently,  the  Florida  Constitution  limits  class  sizes  to  no  more  than  18   students  in  Grades  K-­‐3,  22  students  in  Grades  4-­‐8  and  25  students  in  Grades   9-­‐12,  as  measured  at  the  actual  class  level.  From  your  perspective  as  a   potential  board  member,  is  the  impact  of  this  measure  positive  or  negative  in   the  effective  education  of  students  and  management  of  our  district?  Why?    

The class-size amendment has yielded mixed, but mostly negative, results for our district, our schools, and our students. While research supports lower class sizes for grades K-3, it is unclear as to whether Duval County achieved low enough student-toteacher ratios to have achieved any benefit at this level. We need careful research on the impact of lower class sizes in K-3 in Duval before moving to oppose the class size amendment in general. We also need to take a look at whether class-size is more or less important, in the early grades, to socio-economically disadvantaged students. In my opinion, the negative results—and exorbitant costs—of the class-size amendment for grades 4-12, however, far outweigh any perceived benefit. While, on the whole, class-size reduction has been an unfunded boondoggle, I am not ready to let it go for the lower grades, or for socio-economically disenfranchised students, without further study.

 

 

23. Currently,  nearly  60  percent  of  high  school  graduates  need  remedial   coursework  before  being  eligible  to  take  credit-­‐bearing  courses  at  Florida   State  College  at  Jacksonville.  What  would  you  propose  to  increase  the   number  of  students  graduating  college  and  career  ready  and  reduce  the   numbers  requiring  remediation?  

As described in question 1 of this survey, I would apply resources to low-performing students and to efforts to ramp up achievement among students enrolled in AP, IB and AICE classes. Part of the responsibility for the current college remediation crisis, however, has occurred due to our state’s overreliance on high-stakes testing. Instead of teaching children whole concepts, and howthose whole concepts interrelate, teachers feel pressured to teach them micro-standards instead, so that they may pass the FCAT or the End of Course (EOC) exam. We need to realize that, according to research, high-stakes tests are not reliable indicators of good teaching over the course of consecutive years. We need to liberate both our teachers and our students from the overreliance on standardized tests. We

 

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need to recognize that teachers are professional practitioners, and free them to develop themselves and one another in a manner that dignifies the high calling of teaching. I believe the Gates Foundation work in Hillsborough County could be very instructive on this matter. Once teachers are free to teach whole concepts and whole sets of concepts to individual children—instead of teaching to micro-standards—students will are freed to interact with them in a manner that grows their critical thinking skills. This should reduce the percentage of students needing remedial help at the college level.

      24. If  you  have  children,  what  type  of  school  do/did  they  attend?   (mark  all  that  apply)     ✔   Public  (inside  Duval  County)   ✔   Public  (outside  Duval  County)   ✔   Private   _____   Charter   _____   Home  Education   _____   Other:  ______________________________________________________________________    

 

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