GCS’s Bennett Elementary gets additional resources to improve state assessment


FLEMING ISLAND – After receiving a D-grade from the state last year, things are starting to look better for Charles E. Bennett Elementary.

The school in Green Cove Springs received the lowest grade by the Florida Department of Education in the school and district grades a year ago. As a result, it became a DA school – Differentiated Accountability State System of School Implementation, Superintendent Addison Davis said at the March 26 school board workshop.

Overall, Clay County received an A by the state.

Charles E. Bennett now will get extra resources to pull its grade up.

“So under that umbrella, they were identified by the State of Florida Department of Education, Differentiated Accountability, which means that they bring additional resources and services from the state to try to help the triage to figure out what we can do to build the capacity of teachers, what we can do to close the learning gap for our students and then work collectively with us to build the capacity of our leaders as well,” Davis said.

While from the outside looking in, it might seem that the state has taken over the school, Differentiated Accountability really boils down to a single person from the state whose job it is to ensure that the school district’s plan of action for the school has some real teeth, according to Davis.

“From the state’s perspective, they have one person that comes and walks classrooms with us, calibrates our lenses, talks strategy and help us identify curriculums, implementations and what kind of professional development needs to occur,” Davis said. “I can tell you, the [school district] is driving all of the work. We have all hands on deck at Charles E. Bennett, and we’re doing a better job at tiering services based on teacher experience, teacher knowledge, student efficiency, scaffolding instruction and making certain that we’re gaining access to our learners through the social and emotional side.”

Davis said that the school’s future is already looking brighter, with significant improvements across the board.

“We’ve seen significant growths academically and multiple accountability areas,” Davis said. “We also see a decrease in the amount of referrals and we see that the culture has become healthier as it relates to providing services to kids to help them meet and exceed grade-level expectations.”

In other business, the Clay County School Board will have a consent agenda item before them during the April 4 regular school board meeting that if passed, will allocate funds to employ a police lieutenant for the Clay County School Board Police Department. It will also allow the allocation of funds for a training lieutenant as well police officers and police sergeants starting this June.

“After [allocation approval] if the [school board] approves, we can start building a command staff and continue our training and develop the police force,” Davis said.


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