At their meeting tonight, the Duval County School Board approved two programmatic and boundary changes, while deferring a decision on changes to one additional school until later in the month, pending additional information about student transportation options.
R.V. Daniels conversion approved
Under the plan, R.V. Daniels Elementary School will become a K-5 Dedicated Gifted and Talented Magnet for the 2016-17 school year. R.V. Daniels is currently a PK-2 school, with 3-5 grade students going to Susie Tolbert Elementary, which is next door. This change, which was initially suggested by parents in a working group for another school, will ensure that neighborhood students have priority status for the new magnet school. Existing students at RV Daniels and Susie Tolbert would be allowed to enroll if they choose without academic/behavioral requirements.
A large number of community members came out to speak about the change, many of them parents from the existing non-dedicated gifted magnet program at Susie Tolbert Elementary supporting the creation of the dedicated program.
Some board members questioned the long-term vision for gifted instruction at the elementary level, where most gifted instruction is provided through “hub” schools across the district, to which nearby students are bused. That issue is scheduled to be discussed over the summer in the district’s ESE plan.
The motion passed by 4-3 vote, with support from board chair Ashley Smith Juarez and board members Jason Fischer, Cheryl Grymes and Scott Shine.
JWJ-ACT programs to move to West Jacksonville Elementary
In the second change, the district would relocate the Bridge to Success Program housed at the James Weldon Johnson-ACT Center to West Jacksonville Elementary. This would take the current program for overage middle school students, which is currently at JWJ-ACT, and relocate it, while also adding an overage program for students in grades 4 and 5. West Jacksonville Elementary students would be relocated to the new S.P. Livingston (grades PK-2) and Susie Tolbert (grades 3-5). The JWJ-ACT Center would be leased in its entirety for at least five years to Edward Waters College, which currently rents part of the building.
This proposal was supported by a 6-1 vote, with board member Becki Couch dissenting.
S.P. Livingston Elementary change deferred
Finally, a proposal to convert S.P. Livingston Elementary into a PK-2 Center was deferred until later in the month. Under this change, S.P. Livingston would turn into a PK-2 center. Current PK-2 students at S.P. Livingston would remain at the school, and it would also receive students from the R.V. Daniels attendance boundary who do not choose to attend the new magnet. Current S.P. Livingston students in grades 3-5 would relocate to Susie Tolbert Elementary, which will remain a 3-5 and receive students from S.P. Livingston.
Board member Paula Wright raised concerns about the walking routes students would have to traverse if the change was adopted, particularly related to students crossing a series of railroad tracks near West Jacksonville Elementary School. She proposed deferring the item until later in May to allow district officials to provide additional information on student transportation options. She was supported by board chair Ashley Smith Juarez and board members Becki Couch and Dr. Constance Hall.
The meeting to readdress the proposed change will be scheduled no sooner than Friday, May 6.
You can see updates about all of the other boundary and program changes that have been under discussion this spring at jaxpef.org/boundarychanges.