FORT LAUDERDALE — Broward County Schools officials have unveiled an ambitious plan for the district’s worst-performing schools.

The proposals were unveiled to Fort Lauderdale residents Monday night in the first of two meetings with residents.

The schools, all in District 5, each have a 10-year history of low academic achievement.

Under the plan, Lauderdale Manors Elementary, 1400 N.W. 14th Ct., a “triple D” school, will be redesigned into a wraparound services model, according to Leslie Brown, executive director for the district’s educational programs.

“Thirty-five agencies are highly interested in working with us to build a center that will support families in the community,” Brown said.
The proposed early learning continuum will allow younger parents to involve their children in services that can identify weaknesses at an earlier age, Brown said.

Sunland Park Elementary, 7720 W. Oakland Park Blvd., an F school, will become an early learning center focusing on Pre-K to grades 2 or 3. “The model will stress early learning and early literacy,” Brown said.

According to the proposal, fourth- and fifth-grade students currently attending Lauderdale Manors and Sunland Park will have a choice to attend Northfork, Broward Estates, Walker or Thurgood Marshall elementary schools.

The redesign of Arthur Ashe Middle, 1701 N.W. 23rd Ave., includes converting the F school into a technical program center similar to that of McFatter Technical Center, Brown explained.

“We have absolute experts in the workforce … and that’s who would be going into Arthur Ashe,” said Brown.

Lauderhill Middle, 4901 N.W. 49th Ave., an F school, will be redesigned, in a partnership with Broward College, as a college academy for grades 6 to 12. The college will offer an urban teacher academy and send its pre-service and intern teachers into the middle school.

“We will connect the science and math curriculum that Broward College supports with Lauderhill Middle,” said Brown.

Brown presented these proposals before a standing-room-only crowd of parents, educators, and community leaders at Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, 2251 N.W. 22nd Street in Fort Lauderdale. A second meeting will take place at 6 p.m. this Thursday, Jan. 17, at New Hope Baptist Church, 1321 N.W. Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale.

Under the plan announced Monday, Dillard High School, which has earned an A grade for eight consecutive years, is proposing to expand its student population by including grades 6 through 8, making it a seven-year school.

“We have a building that sits on the far east side of the campus,” Merceda Stanley, Dillard’s principal said.

“My thoughts are to house those sixth- to eighth- graders there. I want them to feel comfortable there … have minimum contact with the high school students.”

She added that the expansion has not yet been finally decided.

Bruce McGraw of Fort Lauderdale was not happy with the proposed expansion. He said he is “very active” in community meetings, especially those involving Dillard, “and I don’t remember anyone asking for 6-through-12 schools.”

McGraw added that he is “wondering whether this is what some feel … those who know what’s best for our community so that’s what they’ll give us.”
Rosalind Osgood, District 5 school board member, who attended the meeting, responded, “This is a working proposal. We have set up design teams to work out how and what will take place at these schools. We are not saying this is it and are using these concepts to generate discussions and formulate a plan.”

Cynthia Roby may be reached at