Priority schools could see staffing overhaul

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JACKSON, Tenn.,–The two priority schools in Jackson-Madison County could see big staff overhauls in the next few months. Superintendent Dr. Verna Ruffin met with staff at Lincoln Magnet School for Mathematics and Science and Jackson Career and Technology Magnet Elementary, Monday. All teachers and principals have been informed, if they would like to continue working at the schools, they must reapply. “There are going to be special expectations for the staff at the school. So we may have teachers that want to work in that and we may have teachers that want to come and work in that environment. We may have some teachers that have chosen not to have the additional commitments it will require to work,” Dr. Ruffin said. Principals will be selected for the schools and begin working immediately. Dr. Ruffin said it is possible the current principals could remain at the schools. A newly created position, the human capital partner will work with principals to choose staff. “The selection of 2 principals will bring about the choice of staffing that will meet the needs of the 2 priority schools,” Dr. Ruffin said. As well as help current staff decide if they would like to continue working at the priority schools. Lorrie Butler is a former educator who know works for the Tennessee Education Association. Butler said she thinks good teachers may be punished unfairly. “They have very limited control on how sometimes children perform especially on these tests that are very high stakes but also the big concern is do we risk a persons career for this and am I going to have a job?” she said. Butler said she thinks teacher morale may take a hit. “I think it’ll definitely impact morale but I think teachers are very much concerned about their students and how their students do,” she said. The district had to submit a proposal to the state Department of Education outlining a plan for the two “turn around” schools. Initially the district requested more than $600,000 to apply to the schools. In December the state announced Jackson-Madison County would receive $400,000. Dr. Ruffin said because of the deficit created from the initial request, the assistant principal position and extended school day could not be a part of this progress phase. Dr. Ruffin said she does not rule out the possibility of a future extended school day. “It is our intent to apply for a 3 year grant that will allow us to bring in some extended learning time for our students and staff,” she said. Newly hired teachers and principals will receive significant sign-on bonuses in exchange for a 3-year commitment to their new school. Superintendent Ruffin said all staff will know where they will teach this fall, no later than May.

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