Duval County School Board votes on several issues

'Blueprint for success' adopted; board disciplines principal, teacher

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Since February, the Duval County School District has worked on developing a proposed strategic plan with board members, students and the community.

And after months of gathering input, the board on Tuesday night approved Superintendent Nikolai Vitt's blueprint for success Tuesday night.

"The idea of teaching once and then knowing you're going to get it -- we know that's not reality," Vitti said. "We're going to go back, see if they understood what was taught, then re-teach it."

The plan lists goals and strategies to reach success in four different categories: developing great educators and leaders; engaging parents and the community; ensuring effective uses of resources; and improvement of the whole child.

For instance, rather than just FCAT and standardized testing, Vitti says a child should also focus on the arts and music.

The School Board also took up several issues Tuesday night that ended in disciplinary action against a teacher and a principal within the district.

The first is in regard to Atlantic Beach Elementary School teacher Teresa Flores, who gave her students a controversial coloring book. The board voted Tuesday to suspend Flores for 5 days without pay. Flores also received a letter of reprimand from the school board.

Controversy erupted after Flores gave her second-graders a coloring book entitled "Who was Jim Crow?" as part of a Black History Month assignment. The images in the book include caricatures of African-Americans and a lynching scene.

The School Board ruled the assignment was not age appropriate or culturally appropriate.

The board is also decided to reassign the principal at Baldwin Middle-Senior High School. Rhonda Motley was recommended for an assistant principal position at Forest High School, after a series of fights that happened at Baldwin Middle Senior High School, under her watch.

Cell phone video shows one student being beaten at his desk in February. It's one of two fights that surfaced just days apart. Vitti said he became concerned about the culture at the school and felt a leadership change was needed.

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