Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Vitti Updates Schools' Progress; Technology, Training Investments Touted at One by One Convention

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Vitti Updates Schools' Progress; Technology, Training Investments Touted at One by One Convention

Article excerpt

Byline: Dana Treen

By the end of the next school year, all of Duval County's schools will have wireless service, up from two just two years ago, and students will be about twice as likely to be using a classroom computer.

Expansions in technology, investments in training and focuses on achievement by students have improved performance and satisfaction of teachers and the children they serve, a convention of community activists and educators were told Saturday at an update on progress schools have made in the recent past.

About 500 filled a hall at the Prime Osborn Convention Center for the third One by One convention and to hear Superintendent Nikolai Vitti tout the district's improvements and challenges.

It was the third convention and the largest since the beginning of the grassroots effort to built a coalition of those with similar goals for education who want to contribute to the system's plans for the future.

For Melissa Daniel, the legislative chair of the Duval County Council of PTA, recent accomplishments have been overshadowed by a focus that remains on past difficulties with failing schools and other problems.

A leader in a table discussion on how individuals can better advocate for the schools, she said one consensus from her group stood out. "We felt there was not enough positive news going out," she said. "People don't know what they don't know."

Duval schools are getting stronger, she said. "I think it's definitely improving."

In his remarks, Vitti opened by telling the crowd he wanted to share how reform was shaping the school system and what was ahead.

In two years, the number of students taking advanced classes for college preparation, readiness for work and other accelerated programs has increased from 76 percent to 84 percent among juniors and seniors, he said. In that same period, graduation rates for students on a four-year track increased from 67 percent to 74 percent. …

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