Saturday school begins for DCPS

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's a bold move to help reduce Duval County Public Schools dropout rate, increase test scores, and raise the graduation rate. Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti has introduced a sixth day of school. The weekend of January 25 begins the district's Saturday school program.

The DCPS graduation rate stands at 72% and the dropout rate for 2012 was 4%. 50 public schools in the district either graded D or F schools are being targeted by the Saturday school program. Reading, math and science will be the focus. Starting the weekend some students will endure an extra day of class.

"Hopefully the graduation rates go up and the crime drops," said Don Jackson.

Jacksonville helps run a behavioral service program in Jacksonville and says the majority of kids he serves attends public school. Jackson, who is a father of two says he knows firsthand the struggles of students lagging behind in the classroom.

"The struggle is the lack of support and resources from the community," said Jackson.

Vitti says Saturday school will provide additional support to students that normally would not get it at home.

"We know a lot of our kids are below grade level and we need to do something differently," said Vitti.

The program targets the district's lowest performing, including Andrew Robinson, Lakeshore Middle and Forrest High.

"In our lower performing schools we have a lot of kids that are below grade level and their parents don't have the economic means to provide them with extra tutoring," said Vitti.

He says on Saturdays students will be able to do more test preparation for the FCAT, which is a state assessment they must take and pass at the end of the year.

It's up to parents to sign their children up for the additional day of class. A move Jackson says he's considering for his own children, and plans to recommend to the parents of kids in his after school program.

"Whatever it takes to improve the graduation rate here in Duval County, I'm all for it," said Jackson.

Flyers went home to parents and announcements were made in schools about Saturday school, but you can still sign up. Saturday school is from 9 a.m to 12 p.m. Free transportation for is provided for middle and high school kids, along with free breakfast and lunch.

Targeted schools:
Andrew Robinson
Enterprise Learning Academy
Garden City
George W. Carver
Gregory Drive
Holiday Hill
Hyde Grove
Hyde Park
Jacksonville Heights
John Love
Justina Road
Lake Forest
Long Branch
Love Grove
Martin Luther King
Normandy Village
Oak Hill
Pine Estates
R. L. Brown
Ramona Boulevard
Rufus Payne
S. P. Livingston
Sadie Tillis
San Jose
San Mateo
Southside Estates
St. Clair Evans
Stonewall Jackson
Susie Tolbert
West Jacksonville
West Riverside
Windy Hill
Eugene Butler Middle
Highlands Middle
JEB Stuart Middle
Jeff Davis Middle
Lakeshore Middle
Matthew Gilbert Middle
Northwestern Middle
Ribault Middle
Southside Middle
Stillwell Middle
Baldwin Middle/ Senior
Andrew Jackson HS
Ed White HS
Forrest HS
Raines HS
Ribault HS


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