All is not lost — yet?

Since there are students, teachers and staff members committed to educational excellence at Lakewood, all is not lost — yet. Pictured above, Area Superintendent Dr. Dywayne B. Hinds Sr. and Lakewood High School Principal Erin Savage 

BY GOLIATH J. DAVIS, III, Ph.D., Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG — Given my so-called “crusade” to enact educational change at Lakewood High School, I have been asked telephonically, at the grocery store and on the streets of St. Petersburg whether or not I dislike Lakewood’s principal and the area superintendent to whom she reports. My answer is always a resounding “No.”

To the contrary, I advocated for Principal Erin Savage’s promotion and worked previously with the Area Superintendent Dr. Dywayne B. Hinds Sr. at Midtown Academy. Both need to be accountable. So, while I am passionate and committed to my position, I am more passionate about agitating for much-needed changes to facilitate our scholars’ education.

Goliath J. Davis, III, Ph.D.

For the third consecutive year, nearly half of Lakewood’s seniors eligible for graduation in May are not on track to graduate. As previously stated, parents and scholars share some responsibility for the current situation.

Some assume I believe all is lost at Lakewood. That’s not the case. Lakewood has students, educators, and staff who are performing well, and I take this opportunity to thank and commend them. However, the significant failures are leadership at all district levels. I understand the district’s position regarding not discussing personnel issues, but I do not understand why the conditions continue to persist and there is never a statement affirming the issues are being addressed.

I do not believe the current situation would be tolerated north of Ulmerton Road. In fact, before the declaration of unitary status, the once coveted CAT program was the magnet utilized to attract white scholars so that the district could meet its court-mandated white quota.

Any and all occurrences perceived to threaten the white/black balance were promptly addressed. Lakewood’s current demographics and the lack of a necessity to maintain a white quota have shone a different light on educational achievement at Lakewood High School.

Since there are students, teachers and staff members committed to educational excellence at Lakewood, all is not lost — yet. However, if they are not supported, the culture will continue to erode, and turnaround will be difficult, if not impossible.

While no one will share a plan with me, I continue to hope one is on the drawing board. We will face more obstacles next year at Lakewood, and other schools, given the state will make it more challenging to meet the requirements for the substandard concordance diploma. I am hopeful COQEB will fulfill its mandate of ensuring educational equity for Black children, thereby closing the achievement gap.

Scholars, parents, service organizations and the Divine Nine are all needed if the “Yet” component of this dilemma is to be realized. Let’s join hands with the district and work to educate our children. I contend they are not doing all they can, and I do not deny we aren’t either. We need more from the district than a smiling face.

To all our committed scholars, educators and staff, please keep the faith, stay the course and know you are valued. I very much appreciate you.

One Reply to “All is not lost — yet?”

  1. S. Rose Smith-Hayes says:

    Mr. Davis is correct in my opinion. I read a comment from a parent that there is a middle school issue in St. Pete, ‘not enough middle schools’. I commented that the 6th grade wing at Baypoint Middle has a completely empty floor. Her response was ‘that people are leaving because there are not enough middle school spaces in St. Pete’. The issue is the quality of the attention given to education as Mr. Davis points out. I also believe that the parents and the community need to care. The teachers cannot do it all. If your ‘Senior’ is not graduating, do you know why? when did you know he/she was not graduating? We must care, the future of Black America depends on us caring and doing something now.

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