MANATEE-- Turnaround plans for Blanche H. Daughtrey and G.D. Rogers Garden elementary schools have been approved by the state, and the schools are making improvements to avoid possible closure in the future.
The schools were put on the state's turnaround list because of their poor school grades. Rogers Garden received a "D" last year and Daughtrey received an "F."
The Manatee County school district chose to get the schools back on track through its own district plan, based on having a new superintendent and a new emphasis on curriculum and tracking data. According to the Florida Department of Education, this is the most popular option for schools around Florida.
Changes under the district-managed turnaround usually include things such as new staff, change in curriculum and training for teachers, Cheryl Etters, press secretary for the Florida Department of Education, said when the district submitted its plan.
Other options for schools in need of a turnaround include reopening as a charter school, reopening under an external operatoror closure.
The state will monitor the progress of both schools at various times in the school year starting this fall. If the schools receive a failing grade again next year, the district will need to submit another turnaround plan. The district cannot choose the same option twice.
Deputy superintendent of instruction Diana Greene said both schools need to improve in all areas, including math, reading, writing and science.
"Even though both schools showed slight gains, they must improve the
number of students consideredproficient," Greene said.
As part of the turnaround plan, principals and a team of teachers and support staff must attend a mandatory summer academy for training.
Greene said the training will set the schools up for next year. The summer academy does not cost the school district.
"The No. 1 thing is for staff to be able to engage the students in learning," school board member Bob Gause said. "They are dealing with students who have a lot of challenges."
Gause also said it is harder to get parents involved at both schools. "It requires extra effort on the schools' part," Gause said.
Greene said she is optimistic about getting the schools off the turnaround list.
"We are going to provide more support, and I am going to be more hands on with mentoring the principals," Greene said.
Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.