Jefferson Middle School was one of two schools in Durant and 24 in the region selected to share $12 million (the amount was slashed in half by Gov. “You Can’t Read My Lips” Johnson) in a school restructuring funds. The schools will use the money to dramatically change the way they teach kids, and then present their programs as models for a “New Age of Education.” (Perhaps, we should be happy the schools are getting any money at all in the New Age.)

Some of the experiments include dumping the A to F grading system, doing away with teacher lectures, and even abandoning the 9-12 grade levels. Most of the chosen schools are bringing in computers and focusing more on vocational education.

Jefferson Middle School Principal Cecilia Morrison says her school will receive a little over $60,000 to implement the changes developed by the Jefferson staff. “We are going to computerize our library and teach kids how to research. We’re going to have interactive TV programs. There will be roving teachers to take over classrooms and rotate curriculums, and instruction with teachers working in teams.”

She adds that “we are changing teaching to a powerful learning experience, and recruiting everyone available to develop excellent role models. We want to bring parents into school to work with the children.”

And it looks like neighborhood activists, businesses, and professional people, and all other concerned citizens will have an opportunity to put in their two cents.

“We have a Restructuring Council, consisting of parents, teachers, community representatives, and students, who will deal with such things as hiring, budget, pedagogy, assessment, and innovation,” Cecilia Morrison said.