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Duval Superintendent Visits Converted Schools On First Day Back

Lindsey Kilbride
Duval Superintendent Nikolai Vitti chats with Wolfson High School students on their first day of high school, Monday.

The first day of school for Duval County students was Monday, and it’s also the debut for 14 converted or rebranded schools.

Duval Superintendent Nikolai Vitti visited two of those schools reprogrammed to address the district's challenges with low-occupancy and failing grades.   

An intercom announcement reminded Wolfson High School students the late bell was about to ring for third period, Monday.

“Make sure that you use your map and your agenda to help you locate your third-period class,” the voice said.

Wolfson is phasing in a college-prep international baccalaureate and leadership magnet, beginning with ninth-graders, which was what teachers were explaining to their students on the first day.

Vitti was in the classroom too. He said the greatest challenge in this school was student weren’t going there. 

“Students that are from the neighborhood or boundaried for Wolfson were not attending Wolfson,” he said. “They were going to dedicated magnets or other type of schools.”

Around 1,200 students were opting out of Wolfson. He said many zoned there had gone to the college prep middle school, Landon.

As of now, the size of the incoming freshman class isn’t much larger than last year’s.

“But I do think as we move into future years you’re going to see an increase in enrollment at Wolfson,” Vitti said.

As of the beginning of this month, newly converted military academy Ed White High School had about 30 more students compared the the prior year, and Fort Caroline Middle — now an arts school — had about 60 fewer. Up-to-date numbers have yet to be released.

This article will be updated once WJCT receives updated attendance figures. 

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.