Duval County Public Schools honored for national achievement

District focusing on school culture

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Public Schools were among 13 school districts nationally to receive distinction as Great Districts for Great Teachers from the National Council on Teacher Quality.

The district was one of five receiving honorable mention after eight districts were named as district winners. Pinellas County (Fla.) schools, Broward County (Fla.) schools and Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools were among the winners.

"It is an honor and a point of pride that the NCTQ selected us as an honorable mention in its first Great Districts for Great Teachers initiative," said Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti. "Over the last four years, we have revamped our thinking, strategy and systems to become more intentional on recruiting and retaining great teachers. There is no investment more valuable than in our teachers and no better way to support our students' futures and success."

The nonprofit organization selected eight winners and five honorable mentions that excelled on five criteria that research suggests connects to effective teaching, compensation, professional support, effective management and operations, career and leadership opportunities and support services for students.

Some of the criteria included:

  • Salaries provide a good standard of living and the district finds ways to reward excellence.
  • Professional development and coaching are tailored to teachers’ needs and include plenty of collaborative planning time.
  • Schools are run efficiently, with evidence that the district allows its schools to make the decisions that are in their best interest.
  • There’s plenty of opportunity for teachers to take on leadership roles.
  • Teachers get lots of support from the district when it comes to meeting the needs of students.

In a presentation from Duval County Public Schools at the schools culture symposium, the district said it had worked to improve student engagement, teacher support and school instructional culture, areas in which it has seen improvement, according to their surveys of students, teachers and administrators.

Citing engagement indicators from schools where boundaries changed, DCPS said that students reported feeling safer, having more fun and that they received positive reinforcement in the previous seven days.

PRESENTATION: See full presentation here

The presentation also said that the parental participation rate has risen 41% in past three years, a stat the district attributed to their efforts to engage parents in the feedback process.