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Duval School Board To Vote On Contractor For Improving Low-Performing Schools

Cyd Hoskinson

The Duval County School Board will decide on a contractor plan to help improve eight low performing schools at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

The schools getting F or D grades last year include: Arlington Heights Elementary, Lake Forest Elementary, George Washington Carver Elementary,  Gregory Drive Elementary, Ramona Elementary, Arlington Middle School, Northwestern Middle School and Matthew Gilbert Middle School.

Some of them are in danger of closing next year if they don’t make at least a C grade.

Lake Forest Elementary as well as Northwestern and Matthew Gilbert middle schools are the most at risk of being closed down. The schools had D grades last year, but have a history of consistent D’s and F’s over the last six years.

The school board will also meet for a workshop about separate turnaround  plans at 5 p.m. before its regular school board meeting at 6 p.m.

The board plans to vote on contracting with a Jacksonville company called Turnaround Solutions Inc. to help improve the schools, according to the meeting agenda. According to its website, the company’s president, James Young, was a principal at three Duval County schools, improving their grades from F’s to passing.

The eight schools would get educational and professional development services from Turnaround Solutions, Inc.

Under state law, schools that earn two consecutive grades of a D or F that do not improve to a C or higher after two school years under a turnaround plan can choose to shut the school down, reopen as a charter school or contract with an outside entity that has a demonstrated record of effectiveness to operate the school..

School grades are made up several components, including standardized test scores, graduation rate and improvement.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at@lindskilbride

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.