C. H. A. N. G. E.
By Marie Carrie email@example.com
The schools in District 5 are facing some major changes this upcoming 2013-2014 school year. On Monday, June 3, District 5 School Board Representative Dr. Rosalind Osgood along with Superintendent Robert Runcie hosted an information session at Arthur Ashe Middle School.
The program began with Dr. Osgood welcoming everyone and asking them to repeat the acronym C.H.A.N.G.E.: “Children Have A Need to Grow Everyday.” And change is exactly what is taking our district by storm.
The schools affected by the upcoming changes; Sunland Park Elementary, Lauderdale Manors Elementary, Dillard High School, Lauderhill Middle School, and Arthur Ashe Middle School, are formally referred to in the district as Student Success Opportunity Schools or SSOS.
Principals from each of these schools were on hand to discuss plans, curriculum, and personnel for the upcoming school year. In addition over 100 parents and community members were present in the audience.
In Superintendent Runcie opening remarks he stated, “This is a pivotal time for us in education. We as a generation need to take a stand and say that we will be the generation that assures that our children get an education that allows them to compete in the 21st century global economy.”
To this end, Dillard High School is being repurposed into a 6-12 Digital Learning Complex. “We felt it necessary to take a huge chunk of the 2.6 million and invest it in technology infrastructure and replenishment at Dillard High School” says Mr. Blackburn, a district school personnel employee.
As a result of the school closings, the district will see a total savings of 6 million dollars. Not only will this money be used to update the technology at the new Dillard 6-12 Learning complex, but all schools affected by the restructuring will receive a portion of the savings.
Another area of concern for parents affected by the school closings is transportation. In response, Mr. Blackburn stated, “the babies in the Lauderdale Manors community will have transportation to Sunland and Thurgood. Families may exercise their right to walk but transportation will be there.”
Present at the meeting was Commissioner Bobby DuBose. He stated his support of the changes despite some of the negative backlash. “Not only do you have teachers, not only do you have parents, not only do you have elected officials, you have business partnerships, you have not-for-profits, you have every component of the community coming in and this is cutting edge for the district. This will have the potential to set models that could go nationwide.”
Commissioner DuBose goes on to encapsulate the reason why all these changes are necessary, “the one thing we can all agree on is that what is going on right now ain’t working!”
Each administrator from the SSOS gave a brief presentation at the meeting. Mr. Wiley Howard, the new Intern Principal for the repurposed Arthur Ashe Workforce Center, outlined the current restructuring taking place at his school. “We are going to have GED programs, ESOL programs and adult basic education. The demand is increasing and we have to be able to meet the needs of the adult,” says Mr. Howard, a five-year veteran of workforce education.
In addition, the school has already developed partnerships with the Urban League, OIC, and Minority Builders.
Lori Martin was on hand for another school that is being repurposed in our district, Lauderdale Manors. According to Ms. Martin, the new facility will house several departments aimed at servicing the needs of the community. The departments of social work, health and education services, family counseling, substance abuse and violence prevention will create “a one stop shop for our families.”
Principal Sharonda Bailey of Sunland Park Elementary, which is being restructured into a Pre-K-grade 3 primary center, was on hand to express her enthusiasm for the changes taking place at her school. In fact one of the first changes will be the name. Pending board approval, Sunland Park Elementary will become Sunland Park Academy. Ms. Bailey discussed all current steps being taken to ensure a smooth transition for students, parents and teachers.
Dr. Ryan Reardon, principal of the new Lauderhill 6-12 spoke about the benefits of the new partnership between Lauderhill Middle and Broward College.
“For the first time we can take high school curriculum courses and infuse them into the middle school so our middle school students are entering high school with high school credit.” He went on to describe the new program for sixth graders called “Project Lead the Way” which is an engineering and medical design program. According to Reardon, “It is the most comprehensive engineering curriculum on the market now.”
Finally, Ms. Cassandra Robinson, principal of Dillard High School talked about the new Digital Entrepreneurship Program for incoming sixth graders. “Beginning in sixth grade students will have the opportunity to earn industry certifications in Microsoft. In seventh grade they can earn industry certifications in PowerPoint and in eighth grade they can earn industry certifications in Excel.”
Not only are the changes in our district ground breaking, they are timely. Far too many of our children have fallen between the cracks of public education. Let’s hope these innovations will not only seal the cracks, but also create new pathways to success.