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After A Year Of Changes Pineview Elementary Sees Boost In School Grade


Last year, after receiving a failing school rating, Pineview elementary was on the verge of losing everything. However, with new leadership and new goals, it has made a turn around.

Pineview Elementary is classified as a title one school, meaning it serves mostly low-income students. It sits near the corner of Lake Bradford road.

"Our students were never F students," says 5th grade teacher, Candice Mills.

Mills says the students encountered problems far beyond academics. She says the students were exposed to social issues that also played a role in their school grade.

In 2018, former Pineview Principal Marilyn Jackson-Rahming was reassigned after an investigation found she had staff members fake 444 Title I surveys for the school of just 350 students. The debacle created uncertainty and confusion for the school, and caused an abrupt change in leadership toward the end of the school year.

“We were told the school grade was going to be an F”, says current Principal Carmen Conner.  “We were anticipating that it wasn’t going to be great but we weren’t thinking that it was going to be an F.”

Now sitting in the leadership positions is Principal Carmen Conner and vice Principal Oronde McKhan. When Conner arrived at the school 2 years ago, she says they were challenged with improving their school’s failing grade.

In an effort to improve the schools grade, Conner and McKhan, came up with plans to help students and parents engage more with learning activities in and outside of the classroom. They also focused on making sure their teachers were well equipped to teach.

“We had to get out of this situation,” Conner explained. She says that the only way they were going to get out of it was by catering to the teacher’s needs. For her, teachers come first.

Aside from helping teachers, Pineview principals also put in place rewards to motivate students to work harder and come to school.

Conner says a big issue she noticed when she first got to Pineview was students not showing up. Most of those were kindergarteners.

“I don’t think there is a value placed on the importance of kindergarten for one. That is where we have a lot of our absences and tardies. I don’t think parents realize that the kindergarten of today is like the 1st grade of today. Whereas when we were in school we played house and did colors, it’s not that kindergarten anymore,” Conner explains.

A few incentives introduced to students were Morning Choice, a time set aside before school for students to play board games with their friends and teachers. They also built the Cub Hub, a reward room for students filled with televisions, games and even a pool table. Tony Brown, general manager of local business ALSCO was eager to help.

“The first question I asked was how much money it would take to do this, Brown stated. He, along with community members and Habitat for Humanity helped to put together the playroom. Brown donated $5,000 to purchase all the equipment needed.

Since the introduction of these new programs, Pineview has seen a 15 percent increase in student attendance, which has helped in the improvement of the school letter grade.

Pineview is now rated a “C”, and its leaders and teachers have hope that the rating will go up again.

Student’s improvement and overall test scores on state exams makes up a school grades. The school receives points per student, which is reflected by how well they did in the areas of language arts, math and science. The better students perform the more point’s they receive and that makes the school grade higher. ALSCO’s Tony Brown says he wants to stay involved to keep the progress going.

“Sometimes, kids need additional leadership they need additional support. And that doesn’t always come as a dollar. It comes as your involvement, your time.”

Faculty and staff at Pineview are committed to providing the best education to students and helping them overcome this challenging moment in their academic careers.

Sherneka Streater is a senior broadcast journalism student at Florida A&M University. She's heavily involved in student media and currently holds a position as the music director and assistant program director for WANM 90.5 the Flava Station. She's also an anchor on the FAMU TV 20 newscast which broadcast to over 80,000 homes in Tallahassee and South Georgia. Streater is an active member in the National Association of Black Journalists and the FAMU honor’s program. She enjoys creating meaningful stories that will have an impacton her local community and upon graduation, she hopes to work in television.