After nearly 90 days in office, Dr. Michael Hinojosa established three objectives for the 2011-12 school year: raising student achievement while addressing gaps among student groups, developing a current and three-year fiscal plan, and providing opportunities to students who don’t plan to attend college.
In order to accomplish part of the first goal, Hinojosa and chief academic officer Dr. Judi Jones have named Pebblebrook and South Cobb high schools, Lindley 6th Grade Middle and Powder Springs Elementary as schools that need additional support and help.
“We looked at things such as the climate on the campus, discipline issues and any kind of data that we could get on a school,” Hinojosa said.
Jones’ team originally identified nearly 12 schools, but because of the costs involved, Hinojosa recommended they narrow down the list.
“We had a sense of urgency on these campuses, and we felt like we needed to bring them support and help,” he said. “We assigned team leaders who will go in and visit the campus and see what the issues are.”
Jones said the administration is not looking to punish the schools.
“We’re hopeful that with working with the leadership teams at these schools that we can help them look at the school’s strategic plans and to improve and to get better,” she said. “That’s our goal — to help them.”
The district has pulled someone from each content area to help these schools, including staff development, special education, English Language Learners and math.
Jones said the leadership teams will be present in schools on an as-needed basis for 30 school days initially, beginning in November and ending in January.
“Hopefully (school staff) will see it as an additive and an asset and not a liability,” Hinojosa said. “We’re there just to have another set of eyes … we hope that they’re grateful because a lot of these schools don’t have additional resources.”
Jones said they will determine whether or not they need to stay in the schools or look at assisting other schools after January.
Hinojosa said the process will help the whole district.
“We can’t have a great county and be the best school district in America if not all of our county is as successful as other schools,” Hinojosa said. “We just felt like these schools just needed some extra support so they can have a chance to be sharing in the glory of being high-performing. They ought to be excited that we’ve identified these schools to bring them some more help. It’s always better to get more help than less help.”