by Kiara Aquino
On January 4, a fire broke out in the Lakeland High School Photography darkroom as B lunch was ending and students were heading back to classes. It is unknown at this time how the fire started, but according to teacher Barbara Smith, “all of the chemicals are water-based,” which prevented them from exacerbating the fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Lakeland is home to one of two operational darkrooms left in the county, according to Patricia Lamb, Senior Coordinator of Fine Arts. Darkroom experience is what some might consider a” lost art,” and a draw to students who want to be a part of the Photography classes.
“The darkroom is a big part of photography,” said student Tessa Register. “It shows you how they developed film back in the day.” Register is a junior. Smith said every student in the Photography classes has been able to use the darkroom at some point. Register and fellow student, Sara Jones, are two students with the most experience. Jones said if she’s not able to be use the darkroom anymore, it would be half of her major, gone.
Considering it was a fire, the damage was minimal. “It is amazing how quickly the district has gotten in here to get things fixed,” Andrea Goodson, department head, said. District workers have already replaced the electrical, lights, applied one coat of paint and are rebuilding a cabinet. Goodson said most of the damage was done from soot and heat. The district estimated the repairs to cost approximately $6,000.
“It’s still under repair but if not by the end of the week, we hope to have it back by mid- to the end of next week,” Goodson added.
Smith said, “The county is doing an amazing job to get it back as soon as possible. Smith added she would “expand digital photography,” instead of developing film, if the darkroom were not able to be used again.
by Brinea McPherson
Teens, Educators, Moms and Pops, Lakeland High School’s parent organization, held its monthly meeting Tuesday at 9 am. Among the topics discussed were school uniforms, charter school conversion and the accreditation process.
Principal Tracy Collins was in attendance to discuss the recently released FCAT school grades. Lakeland was a B again, earning 1,066 points. She stated the school earned enough points to be an A school but was dropped a letter grade, attributing it to adequate yearly progress in reading and math for at-risk students.
Associate Superintendent David Lewis, added that the cut scores for FCAT are going up. He said by 2015 all schools must be aligned with the Common Core Standards. He stressed that schools cannot wait until then to move toward achieving that goal.
Next up for discussion was the possibility of moving to school uniforms. Paula Mims, TEMPO president, led the discussion. “I want to stress that this is just discussion,” Mims said. “We are in no way saying we want to move to uniforms. It’s just conversation.”
Parents discussed how school uniforms might be enforced, whether or not it would include Harrison students and what the parameters would be. Lewis, said, “Enforceability is an issue. It can also be a security issue.”
Parents discussed the possibilities for uniforms, ranging from simply tightening the current dress code to requiring uniform shirts. The committee is interested in getting feedback from students on how they feel about the possibility of a school uniform.
The charter school conversion, which was originally covered by The Ledger last Saturday, was a hot topic of discussion as well. Collins started by clarifying what she meant when she said it was an issue of control, which she was quoted as saying to The Ledger.
“Some teachers are frustrated,” she said. Collins said the conversation began with teachers who noticed the charter schools seem to have more freedom in deciding their future. “The control comes from a variety of issues, whether it be academics, curricular input or even athletics,” she added. Collins went on to point out, “We love all of our students. We are trying to be the best we can be for the kids we serve.”
There are many questions regarding the possibility of a conversion charter, including whether or not that would include Harrison and how the move would affect the School District.
Mims said her primary concern was that the current students who are served would continue to be served. “I am against any sort of exclusionary aspect that might come with charter status,” Mims said. Collins will be meeting with the district charter coordinator on Feb. 1 and will report back to TEMPO about what she learned, on Feb. 7.
Teacher Andrea Goodson closed the meeting with an update on the accreditation process. “All seven self-assessments have been met,” Goodson said.
The overall ratings were operational. The seven self-assessment areas are vision and purpose, governance and leadership, teaching and learning, documenting and using results, resources and support systems, stakeholder communications and relationships and commitment to continuous improvement.
TEMPO will meet again on Feb. 7 at 9 a.m. in the Arena.