JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The new Duval school superintendent spent his first day on the job laying out his plan for the future.
Dr. Nikolai Vitti didn't waste any time laying out his plan for Duval schools. He wants to accomplish a lot in the first 100 days. "We are in a state of crisis. Too many parents are opting to take their kids out of public education," said Dr. Vitti.
He says that can't happen. One of his first goals is to get morale up in the district. Dr. Vitti realizes parents are frustrated. Test scores are low and some schools are still under performing. He says that starts with the youngest students. That's why he plans to put more resources into early education. "Shifting more resources to early childhood levels."
He also wants to engage students, and, in turn, motivate teachers. He thinks there's too much testing and wants more hands on learning. "Teachers feel like they're teaching to the test and they've lost creativity," said Dr. Vitti.
Dr. Vitti says it's that creativity and motivation that will boost test scores and make Duval schools a model for the rest of the country. "Honestly the problem is to admit there are areas that need to be improved. It's not wrong to say you're not perfect," said Dr. Vitti.
He wants to make Duval schools a model for all others to look up too. He plans to get more programs to help parents understand what's going on at school and help students at the youngest levels to improve. But he says infrastructure needs to be fixed too. "We need to maintain facilities."
There's just one problem. Money. The district has seen gradually cuts in funding over the last few years. So we asked how Dr. Vitti plans to do all this. "It does take money....We can do things different with sources of funding and who we're hiring," said Dr. Vitti.
Dr. Vitti is under contract with the district for the next 4 years and will receive a salary of 275 thousand dollars a year.