Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Critical Care for Schools Ribault, Raines Focus of Summit

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Critical Care for Schools Ribault, Raines Focus of Summit

Article excerpt

If Raines and Ribault high schools were his patients,

Jacksonville physician Kenneth Jones would recommend emergency

surgery.

"The system is presently in critical condition and in need of

immediate resuscitation," said Jones, chief general surgeon at

St. Vincent's Medical Center and a former team doctor at Raines

and Ribault. He has been active in the Northside schools for 15

years.

Jones was one of the keynote speakers at a first-of-its-kind

education summit at Ribault High School yesterday morning that

was attended by about 160 parents, community leaders, teachers

and administrators.

Participants later broke into discussion groups and

brainstormed how to get the community more involved, improve

student discipline and increase academic achievement at Raines,

Ribault and the elementary and middle schools feeding into them.

"You always hear about thinking outside the box. That's what

this is," said Ed Pratt-Dannals, Region I school administrator.

"We truly are trying to think of new ways to try and make

students successful."

The summit was the first in what is planned to be a series of

education summits to discuss problems specific to Raines and

Ribault.

"We're not here to point fingers. We just decided that in this

area of town we need to get answers and we need to move fast,"

said Ribault Principal Ken Brockington.

Jones said the numbers at Raines and Ribault speak for

themselves: Students at the two schools average combined SAT

scores about 200 points lower than other district students and

their ACT and High School Competency Test scores also are

markedly lower than other Jacksonville students.

Also math and reading comprehension tests given to students in

the elementary and middle schools feeding into Ribault and

Raines are substantially lower than the rest of the district,

Jones said.

"We're not preparing our students to compete in the year 2000

unless they're trying to compete for service industry jobs, and

those are low-paying positions that don't offer much hope for

the future," Jones said. …

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