Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ribault, Pearson Celebrate Progress; Some Teachers Give Up Christmas Vacation to Help Students Improve

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ribault, Pearson Celebrate Progress; Some Teachers Give Up Christmas Vacation to Help Students Improve

Article excerpt

Byline: TOPHER SANDERS

One school took a step forward while another took a grand leap, but both are bright spots for Duval County.

Ribault High School ended consecutive years of F grades on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test by earning a D, and Rutledge H. Pearson Elementary School earned its first-ever B after receiving an F last year.

Principals at both schools didn't hesitate to credit their teaching staffs.

"If you get the best teachers together and form a tight-knit community, that will build a great school and that's what we've done at Rutledge Pearson," second-year Principal Debbie Crotty said. "These teachers were hand-selected; they are the best of the best. They go out of their way and spend their own money, work extra time and not get paid."

In the point system that tracks improvements in reading, math, science and writing, Rutledge Pearson had the biggest gain (138 points) in Northeast Florida. The improvements were not a surprise to Rutledge Pearson's staff, Crotty said, because the teachers were so in tune with their students' academic progress.

Rutledge Pearson teachers spent significant time teaching students after hours and on weekends free of charge to the district.

"On Christmas vacation, I had half of my staff there teaching children - during the entire two weeks of vacation," Crotty said. …

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