Jeremy's Notebook

Lincoln Park Shake-Up?

June 14, 2013

A group of Lincoln Park Elementary School teachers went to visit with Escambia County School District Superintendent Malcolm Thomas this week. According to Principal Christine Nixon, the teachers wanted to discuss the past academic year, during which the school was in a probationary period of sorts—due to dismal state test scores, the school was working with the district and the state to avoid a second consecutive F.

Instead, the teachers were told that the district would be invoking the “turnaround option,” and that they would not be returning to Lincoln Park.

“For them it was, as they described to me, quite a shock,” Nixon said

A call to Superintendent Thomas’ office has not yet been returned. However, an item entitled ‘Lincoln Park Elementary Plan’ has been added to the Escambia County School Board’s June 17 agenda.

According to Nixon, the teachers were told that due to the school’s continued lack of academic performance that the school district would be intervening. Teachers, as well as the principal, will be reassigned.

Nixon said that the group of seven teachers that went to speak with the superintendent wanted to discuss what they considered to be a lack of resources from the school district during the past school year.

“They were concerned about the resources and support that were lacking,” she said.

According to Nixon, the elementary school’s “priority” status should have translated into increased energies focused on the school. She said that the district offered part-time, rather than full-time, reading and math coaches-describing them as “novice coaches.”

“I would love to have seen what we could have done with that full plan, that full priority school plan in place at the beginning of the school year,” Nixon said.

The principal said there were also other factors contributing to the school’s academic performance this year: in addition to turnover on the Florida Department of Education team the school was working with, the state also toughened up testing standards.

“It was a very difficult year to be in that priority school status,” Nixon said.

While the elementary school failed to bring up its academic standing, the principal said she thinks the teachers were succeeding in connecting with the community.

“I think the teachers have really become involved in the Lincoln Park community,” she said, “and they’ve built relationships with students and families.”

The school board’s June 17 workshop is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the J.E. Hall Educational Services Center.

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  • Bob June 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Same principal ran both schools in the ground. This should not have happened to Lincoln Park.

  • observer June 18, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Look how well taking down Warrington has worked

  • Bob June 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    This has been a long time coming. Nixon has mismanaged this school and mistreated her staff for too long. There is no way this came as a shock.

  • Ross Calloway June 15, 2013 at 12:58 am

    Got to hand it to Superintendent Thomas for making a decision to move forward. Better than keeping the same staff and expecting a different result. It demonstrates that his priority is improving the quality of education in the district. On the matter of the teachers “really become involved in the Lincoln Park community,” maybe they are better suited as social workers than teaching kids? My only perspective to speak about teachers, since I am not one, is from the perspective of a student. It is from that perspective that I can recognize a good teacher. If you learn the subject with proficiency, and actually enjoyed learning it, that was a good teacher. If in the process the teacher instilled good, if not new, study habits in me to learn the subject, that was a good teacher. And if the subject was difficult to grasp at the start of the semester, but was better if not easily understood by the end of the semester, that was a good teacher. Nothing embarrassing about being re-assigned. If taken for the constructive criticism as it is meant to be, understand it as a wakeup call. To re-examine, refine, or replace methods. Or, to relocate to a school district where you think you would excel Or,consider an occupation you like, instead of one you think you can do. Public education is critical to our nation’s future, in so many ways. Understand that this blurb is not meant as a criticism to the teachers. I don’t know any of them, their principal, or their community. It is simply some HR advice based on decades of experience in working with people. And sometimes the biggest limitation people face are the ones they place on themselves.

  • read me June 14, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    hate to say it but it is probably necessary to blow up a chronically failing school and rebuild it from the ground up in order to have a chance of reversing the situation.