Holmes Elementary to stay open rumors are false

caines | 6/6/2013, 5:30 a.m.

But school does get new principal, Yvonne D. Perry Change is happening once again at Liberty Citys Holmes Elementary School [1175 NW 67th Street]. But its coming in the form of school personnel not the facility itself, as some residents have speculated. According to Valtena Brown, chief operations officer, Miami-Dade County Public Schools [M-DCPS], Holmes Elementary is not scheduled to close. Holmes has been monitored and evaluated by the Education Transformation Office [ETO] since the ETO was first developed in 2010 to serve 19 schools designated as persistently lowest-achieving [based on criteria established by the Florida Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education], Brown said. We have no plans to close Holmes. However, the school board did decide during its May meeting to move Yvonne D. Perry from Kelsey Pharr Elementary to Holmes. The former [interim] principal, Laura F. Tennant, has been moved to Colonial Drive Elementary. And I should clear up another rumor too Drew Elementary [1775 NW 60th Street] will remain open as well.

Change could come with release of school grades

Brown adds that it will be several weeks before M-DCPS officials get the school grade scores for this year. When we get the scores, we will then sit down and review the performance of every single school in the County, she said. Schools that we deem to be fragile and needing additional support will fall under the purview of the ETO. Others may no longer need to be on the list. During last weeks town hall meeting at Miami Northwestern Senior High School, we did discuss the possibility of consolidating schools so that disbursements made possible because of the passage of the school referendum [bond] could go further in our efforts to improve resources to every school. One change that we believe the community will like is our plan to repurpose Charles R. Drew Middle School [1801 NW 60th Street]. It will continue to grow as a K-8 center well add 7th grade in the fall and 8th grade the following year. Another misnomer about Holmes is that it is still a failing school. Holmes is a C school not an F school and continues to benefit from being an ETO designated school, said Dr. Pablo Ortiz, assistant superintendent, ETO. There are four layers of support from which ETO designated schools benefit: improve teacher quality; develop instructional leaders; expand wraparound services for students; and increase parent and community involvement. Our calls to the principal of Holmes Elementary were not returned as she was said to be behind closed doors in meetings. In 2011, ETO was expanded to 26 schools by adding three elementary and four middle schools and an additional $6 million in School Improvement Grant [SIG] funding. Today, ETO has expanded to 66 schools: 27 elementary, 11 middle and two senior high schools for a total of 36 elementary, 18 middle and 12 senior high schools. The ETO functions as a hybrid region and collaborates with and supports the schools in operations, advocacy, curriculum and instruction, school improvement and professional development. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com