Vitti begins implementing Duval County school plan

Superintendent has lofty goals for school district

Published On: Apr 03 2013 03:25:34 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 03 2013 03:43:42 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Just hours after the Duval County School Board said yes to his plan to fine-tune public schools, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti got started implementing those changes.

Vitti says his goal is for the school district to be a model for all schools in the U.S.

It's a lofty goal. Can he do it, considering the county's reputation of being a weak school district?

Vitti says yes. And he says one place to start is with the most crucial adults in the school system.

"The most important employees are the teachers because they're the ones working with our children on a day-to-day basis," Vitti said.

He has a number of ways to make teachers the best they can be, including more monitoring and giving them the opportunity to work with other teachers in their classrooms to see what works best.

Vitti calls the new plan succinct and clear, giving specifics on how to take Duval County schools to the next level. He was blunt on Channel 4's "The Morning Show" on Wednesday about the importance of the job.

"Look, the realities are that our schools are a vehicle to a new life and an opportunity to open doors to children, and we have to do everything we can to open up those doors," Vitti said.

"You say you want to become a national model for schools, and you know -- maybe you don't know -- for a long time Duval County schools and the city, in general, have had an underdog attitude," Channel 4's Staci Spanos said. "Do you know about the attitude many people have when it comes to our schools, and do you think we can get out of that?"

"Part of the entry process, I was out throughout the town, it was clear that everyone believes we can do better, that we have to be better," Vitti said. "The reality is people want to have a great school district, and we have to have one if we're going to prepare our kids for the future."

Vitti fine-tuned his plan through all of the town hall meetings he's held the last couple of months. One of the big changes as a result of hearing what families wanted is reinstating busing for children attending magnet schools.