Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Nashville schools' top staffing faces overhaul
State to order changes under No Child Left Behind law By JAIME SARRIO • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • June 11, 2008 Major changes to the structure of the Metro schools central office will be forced by the state this week, an official said Tuesday. Connie Smith, executive director of accountability and improvement for the Tennessee Department of Education, told Metro school board members the state will announce changes this week that will shake up staffing assignments at the top level and affect the district's curriculum. The state has the power to make changes because local officials failed to keep the district in good standing under the No Child Left Behind law. Smith wouldn't go into specifics about the changes but did mention that the state plans to hire a gifted-education specialist to restructure the county's advanced learner program. Parents of gifted students were upset at the end of the school year when Metro said it would no longer offer algebra to seventh-grade students. But Smith said schools were letting students take algebra without really teaching it. "I want it known that we're not only restructuring the way we teach math, we're really going to tailor-make something that challenges these kids above and beyond what they can get anywhere," she said. Since last fall, state agents have been embedded in the district, making changes and reporting to state officials about Metro's problems. Smith said the state could not wait for the district to hire a new director of schools to introduce an overhaul such as the one coming this week. She expects the new director to work with the state and back the changes. "We couldn't wait and allow things to languish," she said. "Whomever comes in will be thankful to examine the infrastructure that's in place to support curriculum.".