Lakewood High graduation: The icing on the cake of administrative incompetence

‘I encourage you to go online and view Lakewood’s graduation ceremony. Hopefully, the district will not edit or take the ceremony down in an attempt to limit viewers’ abilities to get a real sense of what occurred today and how the culture has deteriorated.’

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

ST. PETERSBURG — I have written extensively about the saga at Hollywood High for the last three years, and it appears the district administration has continually ignored the warnings. For three consecutive years, approximately one-half of the scholars eligible for graduation each year were not on track to walk across the stage. Additionally, far too many received concordance diplomas.

Approximately 240 scholars were eligible for graduation this school year, but nearly one-half were not on track in April for the May 16 graduation. Additionally, all the academic programs lacked sufficient administrative support.

This includes the traditional program, Journeys in Journalism and the coveted CAT program. Reportedly, approximately 180 scholars graduated; 45 did not qualify for graduation, and 16 are awaiting testing results to see if they will receive some type of diploma — probably concordance.

This year’s graduation ceremony took place on May 17. During the ceremony, the highest academic scholars confirmed during their speeches that the Lakewood culture had spiraled down and the administration was incompetent.

The scholars’ perceptions are credible, although they could have been delivered differently. I am sure the ceremony was embarrassing for the superintendent, teachers, staff and other administrators. But then again, some may feel a sense of relief that students are expressing sentiments posted by educators and others in school climate surveys.

Hopefully, given that their clients have spoken, district administrators will take affirmative steps to address Lakewood’s academic, cultural and leadership issues. The principal and the area superintendent share some accountability for all that plagues Hollywood High.

Relieving two assistant principals of their positions is viewed by some as a scapegoat move. And as previously stated in other columns, scholars and parents must also become more engaged in all aspects of their education if we are to increase the number of standard diplomas awarded and reduce the number of substandard concordance diplomas.

Graduations are usually streamed for viewing across the state and nation for those who could not attend. I encourage you to go online and view Lakewood’s graduation ceremony. Hopefully, the district will not edit or take the ceremony down in an attempt to limit viewers’ abilities to get a real sense of what occurred today and how the culture has deteriorated.

I sincerely hope my future columns on Lakewood High can focus on the improvements to the school’s primary mission, the education of all of our scholars, support for the educators charged with educating them and support for other staff committed to the process.

13 Replies to “Lakewood High graduation: The icing on the cake of administrative incompetence”

  1. Sandra Johnson says:

    Re: Lakewood High Graduation – Heads up, Lakewood High School withheld the diplomas of those valedictorian and salutatorian speakers whose speeches offended them yesterday.

    1. K says:

      And refused to meet with or even speak with the parents.

  2. Pastor Josh Estremera says:

    Dr. Davis III, a man of courage for exposing truth. Would love to talk as this IS NOT the only place it’s been occurring and how the majority of the students in which they are doing this with is our students of color. 8 years with the district and I left to make sure these conversations were being conducted and that the people of the community would be informed. Takes A Village. “The oppressed will remain oppressed until they obtain knowledge.” -J5StarsE
    let’s connect.

  3. Marie says:

    I believe this is wack of you to put this all on the Staff. Education starts home and I’m sure half the parents don’t even check their children grades.

    1. Smith says:

      I agree. Where is the accountability of the parent and student?? Parents won’t even give you their phone number. They never attend parent/teacher conference, but will come
      to the school quick to fuss and cuss over silly things that don’t involve academics. Many don’t know what is one their child’s a report card.
      I wish all the non educators who complain would come and volunteer at these schools. Mentors are all always needed.

    2. Tee Smith says:

      Exactly! The students and parents need to be held accountable as well. Are the parents involved in their students education? Do they check their report cards? The schools can’t raise their kids.

  4. Hassan Lang says:

    What is it with you and Lakewood High? It’s like you have it out for Principal Savage on a more personal level. You never spoke on the teacher assaulted at East Lake by a student. You never speak on the many different occasions of a gun on campus with a student at Gibbs . For some reason you always go at Lakewood and the kids who “don’t want to be in school” mostly coming because it’s court ordered and have hall monitors, and administrative staff using time to chase them down and try to get them to go to class. The district says “no child left behind” so you have to redirect and redirect and redirect to wall receiving none of the advise or redirection. Why have you not attended the meetings you have been invited to so you can voice your concern and get answers or remarks? Why have you not went to the school and spent a day like Superintendent Himes does to actually see what’s goin on? Why? Because it’s not about that. It’s personal with you.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Yes, there are many issues in numerous schools. We need to put more accountability on the parents. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve called a parent to try and offer support and they say they don’t know what to do with their child! If they have no control over them, how can educators have any?? We all are trying, but it really does start at home!!

  5. Keith Griffin says:

    I truly don’t understand your vitriol movement and post on Lakewood High and Ms. Savage, but…I see where you are coming from. After years of being Rick Baker’s lap dog and assassin now you’re doing the bidding of someone else who most likely wants to be a principal…like you want Mr. Hinds position. I don’t understand u sideline AHOLES from our community who talk about the South side Education but do absolutely nothing unless you can get YOUR PALMS GREASED.

  6. Tee Smith says:

    There are a lot of negative opinions about this school. Are you or anyone you know volunteering at the schools. Mentors are always needed. Are you talking to parents to see how they are helping their children at home? Any solutions on how to help???

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’m a parent that did call and call about my child’s grades and they told me it was fine. End up being not able to participate in any sports when could have attended summer school and been eligible!

  8. Anonymous says:

    As an educator, it really hurts to read this article. One because it seems like an attack on administration when we truly know that that’s not the issue. Two because you blame with no offer of the community helping in not just this school but all schools. We as educators can only do so much. We need parents and the community to be of more help. Some parents are at their wits end and don’t know what to do with their own child and yet you expect the school to do what, graduate them. What help are you offering those parents? They don’t come school and when they do they are skipping class. They have to be chased down and made to go to class. This is not an administration issue, it’s a community issue. Now what is the community going to do?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think parents have a job to do, first and foremost. Secondly, educators have a job to do. Lastly, the community has a job to do too. I remember your wife Mrs. Anderson being my teacher at Bay Point Middle School and where were you at with the issues at that school back in the day? How come you have not taken the chance to mentor our students? You are a former police chief so you should be able to offer some insights on how to help the school resource officers and school administration to help the kids to stay out of trouble. Lastly, if we are going to place the blame, it includes you too, because you can use your voice for change, but instead you are part of the problem as a person of color who talk about how bad it is for us, but you refused to get your hands wet to help out with some type of solutions.

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