‘We’re going to change the culture here’

Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 01:44 PM.

Bidwell said hiring of coaches in reading and math was necessary. “Academic coaches are money well spent,” he said.

School Board member Pam Shiver said she appreciated the proactive approach being taken by the administration, and wondered about the effect on advanced placement offerings. “I was a little concerned,” she said. “If we’re going have an AP course, will we be able to broaden them?

“We have quite a large number of students who are dual enrolled. To me dual enrollment is a win-win,” she said. “Some of those numbers are alarming and that’s something we want to work on.”

Questioned about why the grade had risen when the state stepped in to help a few years ago, and fallen since then, Superintendent Nina Marks said the successor to Nikolai Vitti, the state advisor who is now superintendent of schools in Duval County, had not been as vigilant.

“The next person who came in behind him did not have the same level of commitment that he did,” said Marks. “The level of commitment can’t just come from people in the front office; it has to come across the board.”

Bidwell stressed to the board that he has talked to parents about upcoming changes, and promised that things would get better.

“We need to let people know that what we’ve done in the past is not going to cut it,” he said. “It’s going to raise people’s eyebrows. I had some conversation with parents and I showed them everything.

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