Glades schools’ goals for 2019 undiminished

MOORE HAVEN — One big goal of Superintendent Scott Bass’s for the Glades County School District was achieved with a rise in the high school graduation rate — and although the state reported the wrong percentage, it doesn’t diminish that achievement. It’s higher than Florida’s statewide rate, he says, something Glades County never had done before. But despite the mix-up, Mr. Bass remains focused on the other main goals he’s set for 2019 and already was toiling toward last year.

The mass shooting and deaths that occurred in February 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida reordered priorities for districts statewide, thrusting security into the limelight with the Legislature passing a bill mandating heightened measures at all schools, so those became No. 1.

Mr. Bass said there’d been a security assessment done at all Glades’ facilities, with close cooperation from the sheriff.

“We are working with a company now — they’re actually going to start in January, implementing some hardening items in our facilities.” However, “it’s going to make things a little inconvenient for parents and community members especially,” he said.

Glades County Sheriff David Hardin placed a school resource officer at each facility, plus has one stationed at his office for backup.

The second most important goal, he said, is recruitment and retention of teachers, adding that the district would maintain its efforts that have been reported previously.

“We have a great partnership going on with FGCU (Florida Gulf Coast University) that they have come in and provided assistance to our staff to help them pass the certification class, and I just read a few minutes ago that hopefully there could be some legislation that will allow school districts to keep those teachers in place that are still working through that certification process beyond the three years that they’re granted right now,” he stated.

The third-most prominent priority on his list is a heightened focus on the quality of instruction by teachers. “We’re still moving forward with our staff. We have a new teacher evaluation tool that we’ve gone to; this is the first year of it. And it’s really designed not so much as only an evaluation instrument of the job that our teachers are doing, but it is a way to improve instruction that will, in turn, help students master components of the FSA (Florida Standards Assessments),” said the superintendent.

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