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What would I do as a School Board Member to raise our district’s grade?

Indian River County is a B-rated district with 26 total schools. 

8 A-rated schools
7 B-rated schools
10 C-rated schools
1 D-rated school

All of our A schools are magnets and charter schools.

13 of 26 schools showed no improvement in letter grade.

Below are some ways we could improve our school districts grade from a B to an A. 

1. Share our vision and mission: The first factor of any school district’s success is sharing a clear and purposeful vision. Districts must effectively articulate and live out their vision and mission so that the end goals will be met. This effort is not just for the Superintendent or the school board, it is most effective when it is lived out with and through our schools, teachers, students, parents, and our community members alike. Everyone must be involved!

2. Recruit, Train, Retain: We have to change our recruiting, hiring, and retention practices and make sure we are not just filling classrooms with long term subs. We must consider an ongoing application processes to ensure highly qualified, highly effective, subject certified teachers are available if a need arises. 

4. Principal Leaders: The school district should make it possible for principals to autonomously lead their own school improvement effectively without a top-down approach by our superintendent. When school principals are given a framework in which to follow they can work with their faculty on an improvement agenda collaboratively. Improvement will occur without micromanagement.

5. Support teacher: Respect and support teachers. This includes listening to them. Provide what they need not what you think they need. Support them with discipline issues. End the professional intimidation and bullying. Let teachers teach! Eliminate the overheating classroom environment. All of these and so much more will allow for greater trust, rebuild morale, and ultimately raise student achievement.

6. Close the achievement gaps: We need specific plans to close the achievement gaps with rigorous curriculum, evidenced based instruction, enhance culture competences, provide individualized instructional supports, include social-emotional initiatives, extend supplemental learning opportunities, offer high quality professional development, use proven best practice strategies, and monitor progress and data regularly. 

7. Support and extend Vocational and Alternative Education: With our Treasure Coast Technical College in place, we will be able to guide our non-traditionally college bound students to enroll in vocational training. This will increase interest, academic achievement, student and teacher morale, participation rate, graduation rate and so on and so on. But it’s not enough. We need more! We have close to 18,000 students in our district and our TCTC can only seat about 1,000 students. We need to find way to reach the thousands more who would want an alternative to a traditional high school diploma.

8. Revisit classroom makeups: I would love for us to take another look at reducing “full” inclusion and heterogenous class make ups and return to more homogeneous classes. Full inclusion is not always best for “All” just as heterogenous classrooms are not always best for “all”. Just because we have done something one way for a long time doesn’t mean it is the right way.

9. Community and Communication: We have to remember nothing works in isolation. However, everything in tandem has potential. We have to communicate constantly with our faculty and staff, our families, and our community and involve them ALL in our efforts to make our school district great again. 

The above list is by no means comprehensive. It is a fluid guide, a starting point if you will. Together we can make plans to work hard at implementing efforts to raise our district grade from a “B” to an “A.”

Paid for and approved by Jacqueline  Rosario for School Board.
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