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.
Enterprise Learning Academy
George W. Carver
Martin Luther King
R. L. Brown
S. P. Livingston
St. Clair Evans
Eugene Butler Middle
JEB Stuart Middle
Jeff Davis Middle
Matthew Gilbert Middle
Baldwin Middle/ Senior
Andrew Jackson HS
Ed White HS