200 teachers moved at low-performing Northside schools

Goal to get better teachers at challenged elementary, middle schools

By Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - When the new school year begins in less than three weeks, students on the Northside and Northwest Jacksonville will have many new teachers.

Duval County School Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said 200 teachers have been shuffled around to teach at different schools.

The goal is to get better teachers in 36 low-performing elementary and middle schools that feed into Jackson, Ribault and Raines high schools.

Eighty-six percent of those feeder schools are among the lowest performing in the district.

"It's undeniable that working for the Raines and Ribault feeder schools come with their own challenges," Vitti said. "You have students that are coming to school below grade level."

Vitti said because those schools are hard to staff and turnover is high, starting this fall, high-performing teachers will get thousands of dollars in incentives to teach there. It'll be paid for by the Quality Education for All Fund.

That works out great for the teachers who want to teach at low-performing schools.

"We are looking at true transformation by having leaders that have the skill and the will to be in these schools, and the faculty that match that who want to be there and have the ability to move students that are above grade level," Vitti said.

He said teachers' morale improves when they are where they want to be, and they become even better teachers. That's why some teachers volunteered to move schools.

The principals also involuntarily moved some teachers to another school if they found the teacher was performing low at their current school.

There are two upcoming meeting for parents to talk about the changes. The first one will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at Raines. The second is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at Ribault.

Vitti said he ultimately wants to benefit those schools.

"If we do a better job with our babies and make sure they have the fundamentals for reading and math, and then continue to build on that throughout the year, then we're not going to play catch up," Vitti said.

As far as the bonus that teachers could receive, it's not necessarily guaranteed. Teachers must meet certain qualifications and their students have to have certain scores as well.

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