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Friday October 31st 2014

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Lincoln Park Shake-Up?

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.