Year-long study concludes with action plan for Duval County Public Schools
Consulting work with Education Resource Strategies results in comprehensive assessment, apples-to-apples national comparisons of DCPS resource use
Jacksonville, Fla. - The Duval County School Board today was presented with the final report from Education Resource Strategies (ERS), which for the last year has been working with the district to conduct a comprehensive resource analysis.
ERS has partnered with large urban school districts around the country-such as Charlotte, Baltimore and Los Angeles-to build strategies for improved instruction and performance.
"As standards for achievement rise and resource levels fall, DCPS must build on current efforts and be more deliberate than ever about the way it uses people, time, and money to support student success," says ERS Director Jonathan Travers. "Our objective was to show how DCPS, even with its low funding level, can reduce costs, rethink existing resource use, and make limited new investments to improve teaching effectiveness and student performance overall."
Duval County Public Schools, in partnership with the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, engaged ERS in the fall of 2010.
"This study provided the district with valuable insights on how to take existing money and focus on more efficiency to improve the outcomes for our students," said Duval County Public Schools' Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals. "Benchmarking our district against other large urban districts provided a critical analysis of our funding, staffing levels, planning and instructional time."
Among the report's key findings:
• Duval County Public Schools is one of the lowest funded districts ERS has studied. Compared with peer districts, it spends the lowest share of its budget on central management functions and the most on instruction.
• Duval County Public Schools should focus on improving teacher effectiveness by comprehensively implementing the new evaluation system and bringing together pieces of DCPS's current >$100 million investment in instructional support to strengthen teaching teams.
• The school district must expand and improve individualized supports for highest-need students.
• DCPS must change strategy to attract and develop top talent and better support students' readiness to learn in turnaround schools.
•Through school consolidation the district can free up some of the $26 million invested in smaller school size to increase the funding it can allocate based on prioritized need.
Gary Chartrand, chairman of the board of directors for the Jacksonville Public Education Fund called the completion of the report a bold step toward improvement.
"It's not easy to put yourself and your organization under the microscope for this type of analysis," Chartrand said. "We look forward to supporting the district as it takes action on these findings."
Chartrand, who is executive chairman of Acosta Sales and Marketing and also sits on the Florida Board of Education, said he knows first-hand how valuable it can be for organizations to bring in outside experts to evaluate policies and practices.
"The superintendent and school board members should be applauded for undertaking this work. This short-term investment will yield significant, long-term, positive change for our district and the kids of Duval County, just as it did for our business," Chartrand said.
Jill Johnson Deirdre Conner
Duval County Public Schools Jacksonville Public Education Fund
(904) 390-2126 (904) 394-0950
About Education Resource Strategies, Inc.
Education Resource Strategies, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping urban school systems organize talent, time and money to create great schools at scale.
About Duval County Public Schools
Duval County Public Schools operates 177 schools and serves approximately 123,000 students. The school district is committed to providing high quality educational opportunities that will inspire all students to acquire and use the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a global economy, and culturally diverse world.
About the Jacksonville Public Education Fund
The Jacksonville Public Education Fund is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of public education so that all students graduate from Duval County Public Schools career and college ready. JPEF invests in high-quality research, engages the community to elicit civic voice and action, and advocates to improve policies and practices.