Bond Elementary School is in a dire situation, like a ship stuck in a storm.
For the last two consecutive years it’s received a D grade from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE), but its new principal, Delshuana Jackson, is confident she can turn it around and guide it to safer waters.
Jackson has a record of success and believes her experience can benefit struggling Bond Elementary. Jackson transferred to Bond from Havana Magnet School in Gadsden County. Like Bond, Havana Magnet is a Title 1 school. Unlike Bond, Havana Magnet received an A this year from FLDOE and was named a National Title I Distinguished School. It was one of only two schools chosen in Florida, and the first school ever in Gadsden County so honored.
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Last year, student achievement scores were very low at Bond, ranking in the bottom 300 of Florida schools, with the percentage of students who received a passing score in English Language Arts at only 23 percent (the lowest in the Leon County School District) and Science at a dismal 19 percent (the second lowest in the district). Math was better at 49 percent.
Only on the job since mid-July, Jackson said there is a lot left to evaluate and may plans to make. She said, though, the teachers seem excited and determined to do whatever it takes to keep Bond from being a D school again next year.
“Many of them (the teachers) are excited,” she said, “but you know, they are dealing with the unknown with me as a new principal. I’m hopeful that that I’ll be able to build relationships by working alongside them and getting the job done.”
“I have 20 years working with Title 1 schools. We must overcome these scores. I have to be optimistic because, ultimately, I’m the one that guides this ship. We will work with the mindset we are an A school. We will roll up our sleeves and get to work and there is a lot of work to do,” Jackson said.
She also asked that the community continue its support of the school, “It is all hands on deck.”