Fresh-Faced 

City superintendent decides to revamp five schools with "fresh start" plan.

Five schools -- two junior highs, two middles, and one elementary -- will get "fresh starts" next year, city schools superintendent Carol Johnson told the school board.

As part of the plan for the 22 district schools on the corrective- action list -- based on the No Child Left Behind guidelines -- Fairview Junior High, Georgian Hills Junior High, Longview Middle, Vance Middle, and Winchester Elementary School will begin next year with new leadership and a new staff.

Johnson also outlined needs and improvements for other schools on the list, suggesting everything from adding arts to the curriculum at Airways Middle to upgrading the exterior at Humes Middle.

She said the district also needed more parental involvement and more avenues for students' voices to be heard. "Here's what I see," said Johnson. "A district that's shifted to a centralized curriculum ... a lot of professional development that has improved the math and science programs ... a district that's moving to a more consistent middle-school program."

Twelve of the 22 schools were either middle or junior high schools, and Johnson warned that the district had to do a better job of transitioning children.

"Most of those school leaders are not aware of current research and literature on middle-school reform," she said. "Transitions are hard on kids. School systems have to be aware of transitions."

Board members questioned the district's school sizes and how they could combat high rates of mobility and low rates of attendance.

Johnson hinted at coming changes in the district's promotion and retention policy, as well as how the school system handles suspensions. She also cautioned that there were 160 schools not on the list that still needed attention.

"Treadwell High isn't on the list, but we need to review it," Johnson said. Treadwell Elementary is on the list. "If the feeder is on the list, it's just a matter of time before the middle school or high school is on the list."

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