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Struggling Savannah school fires entire staff

Beach High teachers won't be rehired for that school

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A failing Savannah high school is firing its entire staff in an effort to avoid further sanctions from the state and to make the school eligible for up to $6 million in federal money, officials said Thursday.

Beach High School Principal Deonn Bostic Stone addresses the faculty during a special meeting Thursday afternoon March 25, 2010 in Savannah, Ga..A failing Savannah high school is firing its entire staff as it struggles to avoid state takeover. Savannah-Chatham County Public School System spokeswoman Karla Redditte said superintendent Dr. Thomas Lockamy met with teachers and staff at Beach High School Thursday to inform them  AP/ Savannah Morning News
AP/ Savannah Morning News
Beach High School Principal Deonn Bostic Stone addresses the faculty during a special meeting Thursday afternoon March 25, 2010 in Savannah, Ga..A failing Savannah high school is firing its entire staff as it struggles to avoid state takeover. Savannah-Chatham County Public School System spokeswoman Karla Redditte said superintendent Dr. Thomas Lockamy met with teachers and staff at Beach High School Thursday to inform them

The 200 employees at Beach High School - including the principal - will work there through the end of the year but will not be rehired for that school, said Karla Redditte, spokeswoman for the Savannah-Chatham County school district.

The teachers can reapply for their jobs but only half can be rehired under federal education law, she said. Staff can also apply for other jobs in the school district.

"It is a sad day for us," Redditte said by phone as she stood outside the 950-student school in south Georgia.

The move is the most dramatic of four tactics allowed by the federal No Child Left Behind law for schools like Beach that consistently fail to meet benchmarks. The Obama administration is offering $3 billion in grants this year to coax struggling schools to undertake one of the four tactics, which also include firing only the principal, converting to a charter school or closing altogether.

Experts estimate the mass-firing tactic is used to turn around 20 to 30 schools in the U.S. annually.

If a failing school in Georgia refuses to make any of those changes, the state places a special administrator in the school to focus on annual progress measures such as test scores and graduation rates. In Georgia this year, 45 schools have state administrators in them, including Beach High School, state Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza said.

Beach has been on the state's lowest performing list for seven years, he said.

Jeff Hubbard, president of the Georgia Association of Educators, said firing an entire school staff is "exceptionally rare" in most states. He said the teacher organization is concerned that starting from scratch will hurt the school more than it will help, particularly because many educators don't want to take jobs at failing schools.

"We're very concerned about how they will be able to get a full staff there," Hubbard said. "They're basically starting that school over."

A similar action at a high school in Rhode Island earlier this month prompted outrage from the teachers' union and anger at President Barack Obama when he said he supported the move. District administrators chose the mass firing after negotiations with the union at Central Falls High School broke down.

Georgia's teachers do not have collective bargaining rights, Hubbard said.

____

On the Net:

Beach High School: http://www.sccpss.com/Schools/High+Schools/Beach+High+School/

Savannah-Chatham County Public School System: http://www.savannah.chatham.k12.ga.us/

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justus4
93
Points
justus4 03/26/10 - 06:51 am
0
0

This is a sad story, however,

Unpublished

This is a sad story, however, those students deserve better. The mass firing demonstrates a tough love approach which they gotta know was coming. Seven yrs on the list! They earned their pink slips. And the spokewoman said it best "It's a sad day."

Notreally
4
Points
Notreally 03/26/10 - 07:09 am
0
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They need to FIRE all the

They need to FIRE all the failing high school teachers and administrators in Richmond County who's school have not met AYP in the last 5 years. Oh wait that would be EVERY high school in Augusta (except Johnson and Davidson). Talk about a teacher shortage and scrample to hire new ones would be a HEADACHE for the acting or new superintendent.

Notreally
4
Points
Notreally 03/26/10 - 07:11 am
0
0

FIRE all of Augusta's failing

FIRE all of Augusta's failing school teachers and administrators, ALL.

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 03/26/10 - 08:02 am
0
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dear notreally, you hit the

dear notreally, you hit the nail right on the head...but in the world of the inept and delusional ms. venus cain and the other "mental midgets" on the school board they believe everything is fine here in the shangra-la they call the richmond county school system. all the traditional hhigh schools FAIL to meet ayp, with a graduation rate of approx 55-65% (not counting davidson/johnson) and they reward dr. bedden with a 15,000 bonus. they fire teachers, parapros and others directly related to the education process, meanwhile continue to build unnecessary football stadiums, b-ball gyms and running tracks for schools that have low graduation rates, fail to meet ayp and high drop-out rates instead of hiring more teachers and insuring there are enuff textbooks for all students. but with another projected budget deficit looming for the 2011 year the school board's solution probably will be to just raise taxes and "throw more money at failing schools" when they should be closing some

Jane18
12331
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Jane18 03/26/10 - 08:13 am
0
0

200 employees, at a 950

200 employees, at a 950 student school? I would say something IS wrong!

Jane18
12331
Points
Jane18 03/26/10 - 08:16 am
0
0

200 employees, with 950

200 employees, with 950 students. I would say something IS wrong at Beach High School.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 03/26/10 - 08:30 am
0
0

Notreally. I don't see how

Notreally. I don't see how firing everyone would be a problem with the administrator. He only hires the princial who is totally responsible for hiring teachers in each school. But you are right about firing everyone. At least that would reset the wages to a reasonable level. And maybe the 10th grade at Crosscreek would have funding for some text books for math, or maybe they could buy the missing software for the "new" method of self taught math.

Fiat_Lux
13863
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/26/10 - 08:37 am
0
0

If the people who are popping

If the people who are popping these kids out aren't training them to behave or to value learning or respect their teachers, what the heck else do you expect but failure in school? Heck the parents haven't a clue themselves, and they haven't much hope of getting one either.

Give the teachers and administration some authority to actually deal with bad students and schools like Beach will go back to being at least somewhat successful. And give administrators the ability to get rid of the lazy, the rotten and the ignorant teachers who got to their positions by social promotion or some other witless mandate that undercuts public education.

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 03/26/10 - 08:56 am
0
0

While I agree that seven

While I agree that seven years on the list is a shame, please don't be stupid enough to believe that firing the entire staff is going to make the school achieve AYP next year. While there may be some "less than stellar" teachers there, you have to look at the caliber of students that call that school home. If Beach has the same "distractions" that are here -- gangs, drugs, fights, and non-existent parental involvement, then guess what -- garbage in, garbage out, no matter how great the teachers are. I wish them well, just like here, but until you improve the raw ingredients, the end result will still not make the grade.

scoobynews
3697
Points
scoobynews 03/26/10 - 09:00 am
0
0

Did it ever occur to any of

Did it ever occur to any of you that as we have stated many, many times you can led a horse to water but you can't make them drink. Students in low performing schools usually live in low income areas and they have much bigger problems than studying for that math test or writing that english paper. They have parents that may be working two jobs that rarely spend time with them, mothers that are single going to clubs rather than helping with school projects, abuse (mental and physical), drugs, gangs, lack of motivation, lack of respect. So how on earth is this the teachers and school's responsiblity. They can't RAISE the kids too. It is always the schools fault in your tiny minds. Did it ever occur to you that kids that usually succeed are living in much better conditions than these kids. Davidson and Johnson are prime examples of schools that get to HAND pick the kids they want and toss away the others. If they had to have the general population they too would NOT be meeting AYP - believe that!

willienelson
5
Points
willienelson 03/26/10 - 09:10 am
0
0

Fire them my fanny. Give them

Fire them my fanny. Give them the tools required to do their job and then hold them accountable. Restore the right of teachers and principals to expel those who disrupt and make no effort. If gang violence is a problem, train a rapid response team to handle this. Install more cameras to catch those creating problems. Much lower budgets are going to be with us for a long while. We need to start programs to help the kids who want to succeed in school now.

Fish Out of Water
0
Points
Fish Out of Water 03/26/10 - 10:34 am
0
0

Regardless of whether or not

Regardless of whether or not the mass firings are justified, these children are being left behind one way or another.

Little Lamb
40139
Points
Little Lamb 03/26/10 - 10:45 am
0
0

We need to remember that if

We need to remember that if you make a list that ranks anything on any measure, someone must necessarily be on the bottom of the list. Beach High School can buy time by firing the staff, but some school will be on the bottom of the list next year and will have to face the same choices.

I don't understand why Laney High School here in Augusta hasn't had to belly up to the bar.

Pistol
0
Points
Pistol 03/26/10 - 11:09 am
0
0

Well said Scoobynews. It

Well said Scoobynews. It will be interesting to see how the scores of Beach High school change with the "new and improved" staff. I would lay money that the first year things will improve but after that, apathy will take over and be back to the same ole' same ole'. I also agree that if you take the staff from Davidson and move them to Laney or any other underachieving school they will get no better results than the orignial staff. It's easy to win when you have a team of all-stars.

Local Interests
40
Points
Local Interests 03/26/10 - 11:53 am
0
0

Firing all the teachers

Firing all the teachers sounds radical, but they have to do something.
They should also change the classroom make-up; maybe separate by gender.
School hiring is so down I'm sure they will find enough teachers that need the work. I agree that the local administrator should be given the power to implement big carrots AND big sticks.

willienelson
5
Points
willienelson 03/26/10 - 12:03 pm
0
0

OK....fire the parents

OK....fire the parents

scoobynews
3697
Points
scoobynews 03/26/10 - 01:34 pm
0
0

Since Obama wants to change

Since Obama wants to change the world then why not start with having single women who live off public assistance that have more than 3 children (usually by multiple baby daddys) to have parenting class and be fined (just like they do in China since we are heading that way) if they continue to have children they (1) can't afford (2) don't take up quality time with. Since they are already on public assistance and probably can't afford the fines (yet have no problem gettin that hair and nails done) then put them on probation where they have to check in weekly to make sure they are taking those free birth control pills. Before all the silly comments start yeah yeah we all know that none of THAT will ever happen. The poor in our country are suffering from "learned helplessness" because the government has taught them that. These neighborhoods are breeding grounds of a never ending cycle of poverty and children who are being birthed just so their mom's can get welfare and EBT cards. Until America wakes up all the Health Care reform and school firings will not make any difference. There has been a break down in the family structure in our society were it is ok to have kids you can't afford and don't spend quality time with. This is why schools in low income areas will continue to not meet standards.

Pistol
0
Points
Pistol 03/26/10 - 12:54 pm
0
0

AMEN brother Scoobynews,

AMEN brother Scoobynews, preach on!!!!

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 03/26/10 - 01:32 pm
0
0

You mean the war on poverty

You mean the war on poverty isn't working? Well surely the government's war on drugs is working? No....well then Medicare and Social Security must surely be self-sufficient entities that are improving American society? What....they are underfunded by $107 trillion?

Well then duh....we certainly should utilize the greatness of Medicare to help the war on poverty and bribe a school district with $6 million of taxpayer money in order for it to hold its staff accountable. How could that possibly not work!

Mr. Thackeray
761
Points
Mr. Thackeray 03/26/10 - 01:43 pm
0
0

Sometimes many of you amuse

Sometimes many of you amuse me. You want to blame the teachers for the inability of the parents to parents and the lack of motivation for the kids to learn. AYP & all standardized test DO NOT measure academic ability---they keep the "measure at all costs" folks happy but really prove very little. Wake up!

nooneuknow
1
Points
nooneuknow 03/26/10 - 02:15 pm
0
0

I understand holding teachers

I understand holding teachers accountable but how about the students & the parents. They should do random drug test on students & get rid of those kids polluting the schools. If the student is between 17-20 and the ninth grade...they should kick them out. One of the reason they have so many teachers in a small school...it's called inclusion. Two teachers in one class. If your kid has consistent write ups & failing grades you should have to take parenting classes until your child improves. Or you can exempt this by taking a test on what your child has learned in school lately. Oh I forgot, they couldn't do their homework because they were busy raising your five other children & you haven't seen their homework since k4. I guess all the teachers fired from other failing schools can go to this failing school. I will stop all this rambling...I blame it on poor education & no discipline : ).

Riverman1
70606
Points
Riverman1 03/26/10 - 02:35 pm
0
0

The problem with firing the

The problem with firing the teachers is it promotes the false idea that teachers can affect students, no matter what they are like. Davidson takes the best black and white students (it's a 50% white-black school) and does a great job because of the students/families, not the teaching. They leave the other students behind at other schools where no amount of teaching can change the students/families. So the whole idea is flawed.

Riverman1
70606
Points
Riverman1 03/26/10 - 02:47 pm
0
0

Following up a bit, Pat

Following up a bit, Pat Conroy took kids on Dafuskie Island and taught them using nontraditonal methods. There is no doubt he helped those kids a lot although it probably didn't show in any kind of national test score comparison.

Those teachers are in the same boat that had to take Conroy to the island every day. The Beaufort County school system fired Conroy like these teachers were fired in Chatham County which is a few miles away. Nevermind he was probably the most brilliant teacher Beaufort County has ever had.

Local Interests
40
Points
Local Interests 03/26/10 - 03:19 pm
0
0

Riverman1, while I agree with

Riverman1, while I agree with you to a certain extent, Davidson cherry picks its teachers the same way it cherry picks its students.
Its not all on the kids or all on the teachers.

Riverman1
70606
Points
Riverman1 03/26/10 - 03:42 pm
0
0

Local Interests, thanks for

Local Interests, thanks for pointing that out to me. I didn't realize Davidson picked teachers to any significant degree. I think you also got the point of what I was saying from your remarks and I thank you for that and correcting me about the teachers.

sassygirl12
1
Points
sassygirl12 03/26/10 - 04:22 pm
0
0

Wow that stinks!!! but lets

Wow that stinks!!! but lets please remember one thing here teachers can only do so much. when the kids get home its up to their parents to also help there children out with schoolwork. I am no teacher but i do know that they can only do so much.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 03/26/10 - 04:34 pm
0
0

This isn't as radical as some

This isn't as radical as some might think. When Richmond County turned Jenkins-White and Murphey into charter schools, all employees there had to re-apply for their jobs as well. The staff in Savannah can re-apply as well at the same school or elsewhere in the same school system. It's radical for the school, but not so much for the staff.

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 03/26/10 - 04:48 pm
0
0

dear scooby, johnson/davidson

dear scooby, johnson/davidson DO NOT hand pick their students (parent of a student attending johnson told me that herself)...IT IS THE DECISION OF THE PARENT(S) TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO JOHNSON...they do have to test to get in. i would suggest that you do a little research and see where most big city magnet schools are located...in close proximity to low income areas....wanting and education has less to do with income than the willingness AND THE DESIRE of the PARENTS TO BECOME AND STAY INVOLVED WITH THEIR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION. scooby read your history..poverty rates, employment and education rates for blacks during reconstruction, jim crow(up to mid-seventies) and the black codes were SIGNIFICANTLY LESS than they are today but up until the early seventies percentage rates of un-wed pregnancies and single parent households were SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER than today, teenage mothers or "babies having babies" was almost unheard of...the state of the black education is the way it is today because of factors other than, but have an direct impact on income...teenage pregnancies, single parent households, a culture that glorifies violence and de-emphasizes personal responsibility and education...BUT MORE IMPORTANT PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT IS THE MOST COMPONENT OF ALL, without it all programs are doomed to fail

GGpap
491
Points
GGpap 03/26/10 - 09:37 pm
0
0

Great! Finally, a good

Great! Finally, a good solution for getting rid of the chaff that comes with awarding tenure to a "sleeper" dud in the teaching staff.

*"sleeper" dud: A teacher that works like the devil until he/she is given a tenure contract; then, sleeps on the job until the day retirement comes around (at least 20-25% of most school faculty members). GGpap

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 03/26/10 - 05:34 pm
0
0

lifelong, any interest in

lifelong, any interest in running against Ms. Cain?

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