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Duval Superintendent Lauds Grad Rate Increase, Bemoans Literacy Rate

Cyd Hoskinson

Duval County School Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti Tuesday laid out his roadmap for the future of the public school system.

In his first State of the Schools address, Vitti talked about district successes and failures over the past couple of years.

Among the successes, Vitti says, he’s most proud of improvements in the graduation rate.  

"Not only are more students graduating but more students are graduating college ready which means they avoid that remediation class their freshman year," Vitti said.

Literacy remains a challenge, Vitti says, especially in elementary school where far too many students are still not reading on grade level.

The district is also working on getting and keeping good teachers and principals. Last year, he says, 200-teachers moved from high performing to low performing schools. But that approach is not sustainable.

"What we’re looking to do starting this spring is go to places like Michigan and Ohio with teams of principals and teachers to recruit up-and-coming teachers to come to Jacksonville/Duval to continue to build capacity at the classroom level," Vitti said.

And the best way to keep good teachers, Vitti says, is to have great principals.

By years end, Vitti says, all Duval County principals will be certified instructional coaches, making them better able to help teachers problem solve at higher levels.

The presentation Dr. Vitti gave at the State of the Schools announcement is available on Duval Schools' website.