Indian River, FL’s School District Superintendent Did Not Renew the Beachland Elementary School Principal’s Employment Contract Despite the School’s Grade Level Learning Statistics?

Caoline Barker

Caroline Barker, Principal, Beachland Elementary School.

CAROLINE BARKER’S EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT AS THE PRINCIPAL OF THE BEACHLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WAS NOT RENEWED BY SUPERINTENDENT MARK RENDELL, EFFECTIVE 7.1.2017.

In the 6.1.2017 issue of Vero Beach 32963, reporter Ray McNulty wrote that there was “No Reason to ouster of Beachland Principal.”

He wrote that for 22 years Ms. Barker served as a teacher and administrator and that during the week of 5.21.2017 “21 members of Beachland’s faculty and staff sent a letter to  the School Board, stating that they were ‘stunned and concerned’ by Rendell’s decision not to renew Barker’s contract and ‘wished to have her remain at the school.'”

The letter also described the May 15 emergency meeting, called by Rendell to inform Beachland’s faculty and staff of his decision – a session at which he was asked why Barker would not be back.”

According to the letter: “Dr. Rendell replied that he did not have to get into the reasons for his decision and would not discuss them.  However, he indicated by using hand gestures that we did not meet his level of expectation.  The faculty was left feeling that we had failed out students.”

Again, according to their letter, they wrote that a “school’s ‘success is now measured in terms of data and test scores’, citing the Florida Department of Education and District statistics to bolster the teacher’s case.”

But Mr. McNulty did not cite the grade level statistics.

Here are the statistics obtained from greatschools.org.

But before we look at Beachland, let’s look at the grade level statistics of Dodgertown Elementary School, Vero Beach.

According to great schools.org:

“Test scores at Dodgertown fall far below the State average, which means that students are not performing at grade level.”

Overall in mathematics, Dodgertown scored 36% versus a State average of 58%.

  • Grade Three: 48% to a State average of 61%.
  • Grade Four: 36% to a State average of 59%.
  • Grade Five: 23% to a State average of 56%.

In terms of reading:

  • Overall: 32% to a State average of 53%.
  • Grade Three: 35% to a State average of 54%.
  • Grade Four: 32% to a State average of 52%.
  • Grade Five: 27% to a State average of 53%.

Now let’s look at Beachland Elementary:

Once again, according to great schools.org, “test scores at Beachland Elementary School are above the State average.”

Overall in mathematics, Beachland scored 67% versus a State average of 58%.

Grade Three: 59% to a State average of 61%.
Grade Four: 75% to a State average of 59%.
Grade Five: 66% to a State average of 56%.

In terms of reading:

Overall: 58% to a State average of 53%.
Grade Three: 47% to a State average of 54%.
Grade Four: 68% to a State average of 52%.
Grade Five: 58% to a State average of 53%.

Additionally, in a 6.8.2017 News Release from Peggy Poysell of the School District of Indian River County it was announced that “Individual Florida Standards Assessments, End of Course Exams, and Science Scores were released today by the Florida Department of Education.”

An individual highlight was that “Beachland Elementary 5th grade science increased from 63% to 80% proficient and 5th grade ELA (English Language Arts) from 58% to 82% proficient.

However, it also cited that “Dodgertown Elementary 4th grade math increased from 36% proficiency to 60%.

In all fairness, in comparing Beachland to Dodgertown it is also important to look at two other statistics.

At Beachland, 46.6% of the students receive free or reduced lunch.

40.6% of the students received free lunch.

1.7% of the students received reduced lunch.

To qualify for free lunch, children’s family income must be under $ 15,171 in 2015 (below 130% of the poverty line).

To qualify for reduced lunch, children’s family income must be below $ 21,590 in 2015 (below 185% of the poverty line).

At Dodgertown, 83% of the students receive free or reduced lunch.

79.4% received free lunch, while 3.6% received reduced lunch.Another statistic is “students held back a grade.”

Another statistic is “students held back a grade.”

At Beachland, 5.8% of the students were held back a grade.

16.2% were Black/Hispanic/Latino students, while 3.1% were white. 

At Dodgertown, 8% were held back a grade.  

18.6% were Black/Hispanic/Latino, students while 6.2% were white.

Once again, it may not be entirely fair to compare Beachland Elementary to Dodgertown Elementary given student demographics, especially in terms of the family income of those who receive free or reduced lunch.

But the 21 members of Beachland’s faculty and staff who sent a letter to  the School Board, acknowledged that a “school’s ‘success is now measured in terms of data and test scores’, citing the Florida Department of Education and District statistics to bolster the teacher’s case.”

The statistics cited above certainly do seem to bolster their case.

(Other source: http://www.public-schools.startclass.com)

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Indian River, FL’s School District Superintendent Did Not Renew the Beachland Elementary School Principal’s Employment Contract Despite the School’s Grade Level Learning Statistics?

  1. We can ill-afford to just throw away good people with both hands and no explanation or accountability.

    What has happened–running rough-shod over a well-liked, long-serving and successful principal– is nothing less than appalling.

    This stinks of politics.

    Is the Board really in charge, or are they just short-timers being led by the nose by unelected bureaucrats?

    Why don’t you ask Tiffany Justice whether she supports the decision and why? She probably knows Caroline Barker better than anyone else at that level in the District, Justice having worked with Barker on a day to day basis at Beachland where Justice was a PTA leader and advocate for the new building program.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I worked at this school for years, and had my own children removed from this school because of the administration’s incompetence. Caroline was the leader of this school and is the one to be held accountable for the mass exodus away from this school by students, families, and teachers. If you worked at the school, you would have first hand understanding of why this was necessary. The school district here is terrible, and I have been amazed at it’s complete and utter garbage for years, and I can say that this decision was one done with due diligence and with children’s best interest in mind.

      Like

  2. Pingback: Merchon Green: Op Ed on 6.27.2017 Indian River, FL School District Board Meeting. | Vero Communiqué

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