Struggling Schools Will Get a 'Bold' Approach; an Education Management Company Will Run Operations

Article excerpt

Byline: Topher Sanders

In what Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals called a "bold" move Tuesday, Duval County Public Schools went above and beyond a state requirement and hired an education management company to essentially run the district's four original intervene schools.

The School Board hired Louisville-based Educational Directions LLC to supervise Andrew Jackson, Raines and Ribault high schools and North Shore Elementary when school opens Aug. 22. Intervene schools are the lowest-performing schools in the state.

Forrest, Ed White and A. Phillip Randolph high schools were added to the intervene list this year. The School Board said Tuesday it wants to discuss the possibility of Educational Directions having a key role in the supervising of those schools as well.

Educational Directions services will cost more than $1 million in total, $275,000 for each high schools and $225,000 for North Shore.

The company will take over the duties formerly carried out by a district cluster chief and will supervise each school's principal and have the ability to make staffing changes at the school.

Board members Betty Burney and Paula Wright, who represent districts where the four schools are located and had been adamantly against giving the governance role to an management organization, supported the decision.

Unlike the state's management organization option that board fought against and eventually appealed, Duval's arrangement with Educational Directions allows the School Board and Pratt-Dannals to remain the governance and management team.

When the state did grant Duval another year to manage their intervene schools, it came with the condition that the districts receive services and assistance from a group like Educational Directions. …