More proof that Superintendent Vitti makes it up as he goes along.

The Times Union just finished up a
massive piece about the single gender leadership academies at Butler middle
school and the gist is Superintendent Vitti is really excited and we will be seeing
a lot more of them in the near future.
You might be shocked but I think
this is a terrible idea but after you read below I think you will agree.
From
the Times Union: Many students still aren’t reading on grade level. There are
still discipline issues. Parent involvement could be better. Teachers sometimes
feel burnt out or overwhelmed.
The
girls and boys alike are frustrated with their peers who still aren’t buying
into the new school. Ti’lar said many of her classmates still pull the same
antics, and YMLA seventh-grader Ahmareon Ellis said peer pressure contributes
to misbehaving.
“They
start picking on you if you’re doing the right thing and the only way you can
get cool points or whatever is getting kicked out of class, being funny, class
clown, doing things that you’re not supposed to be doing,” Ahmareon said.
“There’s
a large sum of people who still don’t act right,” Aaron Wetherington, an YMLA
eighth-grader, said. “They don’t want to be an outcast so they follow the
herd.”
The
boys proposed a solution to the problem: sorting classes by behavior instead of
academic ability. That way, the kids who do want to learn aren’t distracted.
“Most
people want to be a leader and want to make a difference in this school,” Hiram
said. “To be honest, it’s kind of tiring when one kid does bad and everybody
has to suffer for it. It’s not fair.”
YMLA
Principal Truitte Moreland said he’s gotten comments from the community about
what’s happening at Butler and how wonderful it is, but he replies: “We’ve got
a long way to go.”
PARENT INVOLVEMENT
Dozens
of kids sat quietly in Butler’s auditorium, some heads bobbing along to an
original rap two of their peers had penned on lined notebook paper.
“What
would we be without black history?” they rapped at the Night at the BOLD Museum
of Black History event on Feb. 27. “What would we be without black history?”
As
the girls finished their performance, flashed big smiles and quickly sat down,
the audience burst into applause.
Noticeably
absent from the crowd — parents. Only a small handful attended the event that
Friday evening, hosted by the “Building our Limitless Dreams,” or BOLD,
after-school program through the Boys and Girls Club. Students began planning
the event in December or January and decided what kind of performances the show
would include.
“Honestly?
No,” parent Pamela Roberts said when asked if Butler has strong parent
involvement. “Look around,” she said, surveying the auditorium.
Data
collected in January showed that just 8 percent of Butler students were reading
at grade level based on district standards. While that’s above the Duval
Transformation Office average, which includes schools in the Raines, Ribault
and Jackson feeder pattern, it’s below district average, Superintendent Nikolai
Vitti said. The transformational middle schools had an average of 6 percent
while all district middle schools averaged 23 percent of students reading on
grade level.
Note: The state says 23 percent of
butlers kids read at grade level and no school approaches the six percent
number sited. I asked the reporter for some clarification but she never got
back to me.
So let’s examine things, first the
article never mention the huge staff which I believe probably had more to do
with any success than a leadership academy and single gender classrooms, but
even if you disagree you have to admit the success is shaky, but you know what,
that isn’t going to stop superintend Vitti from heading full speed ahead.
Also from the Times Union:
 “I’m not
ready, at this point, to signal victory,” Vitti said. “But I am willing to say
that we are on a shorter road to victory than we were just a year ago when it
comes to the educational experience that takes place in the building at the old
Butler school.”
Cohen
is glad the district recognized something needed to be done differently at
Butler. While the schools have the right leadership, Cohen said he’s anxious to
see where the schools will be in five years. Everyone starts out the gate
running fast, he said.
“Progress
being slow, I don’t want that to be an excuse for people to not operate at max
capacity,” Cohen said. “Our children deserve to have everybody in that building
operating at max capacity, and if you’re not operating at max capacity, we need
to get people in there who can.”
The
new model at Butler has been so successful, the district has fast-tracked its
plans to expand single-gender education in Duval classrooms. More kids will be
sitting in girls-only and boys-only classes this fall.
At
the end of March, Vitti said a high school wasn’t likely for 2015-16 and the
district was instead exploring single-gender classes or schools at the
elementary level and possibly expanding Butler to include ninth grade for
2016-17.
But
by the end of May, Vitti said five to 10 elementary schools had expressed an
interest in creating single-gender grade levels or classrooms, which would be
opt-in for parents, for 2015-16. Even more schools are considering professional
development for gender-specific strategies, he said.
So he is not ready to declare victory
but he is ready to expand to five to ten more schools. Hmm what’s wrong with
slowing down and making sure things are working and it is a victory? Why is making
sure we get things right to much to ask for this 
superintendent?
Remember last year when open
enrollment was the greatest idea ever before it crashed and burned? Vitti is
not data driven, he just goes with his gut and often students and teachers pay
the price.

So at the end of the day I believe we
do have some encouraging signs but the credit isn’t going to where it is due and expansion isn’t something we should even be considering at this point.

One Reply to “More proof that Superintendent Vitti makes it up as he goes along.”

  1. This fool has no plan. He never has had anything even resembling a long term strategy. He just takes whatever idea comes over the transom and tries it out. He keeps hoping he'll stumble upon the experiment that will work so he can look good. The local newsrag is only too eager to help him showcase his latest big idea and never bothers to look back at last year's big idea.

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