DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. – Parents, students and teachers filled the auditorium at Ribault High School Monday night to discuss the Quality Education for All initiative with Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.
"We already have great teachers in our schools, but they're in isolation. If we're going to create an outstanding city, we have to have all of our students in front of a great teacher, especially those that are most fragile," said Vitti.
Vitti told the crowd Monday that with grants that came in the form of private donations, the QEA initiative will be a reality check.
Under QEA, high-ranking teachers will be eligible for up to $20,000 annually in pay, which includes up to $20,000 of performance pay incentives for principals.
The focus for QEA is 36 of Duval County's highest-need schools -- Raines, Ribault and Jackson high schools, plus 33 elementary and middle schools.
"This will allow teachers the opportunity and the incentive to come over to teach in the Raines, Ribault, Jackson feeder patterns. A lot of times it is tough to staff schools in our area," said a math teacher at Ribault Middle School, Stephanie Fisher.
While Vitti acknowledges the possibility of skeptics, he said he's not worried and told the crowd Monday that there are studies that back up his claims about QEA.
"I think if you really look at the initiatives all together, you realize that they're research-based, so they have worked in other places. I think more than anything else, go to the principals directly and ask them if this is making a difference," said Vitti.