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Desegregation is forum topic

An educational issues coalition will hear Monday about progress in Pinellas schools on race-related problems.

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 13, 2003

The chairwoman of a watchdog group charged with monitoring Pinellas County schools' desegregation efforts will be the featured speaker at a community forum Monday night.

Countryside High School principal Julie Janssen, who heads the District Monitoring and Advisory Committee, will address members of a coalition of organizations investigating educational issues such as minority hiring inequities and the achievement gap between black and white students.

DMAC was created in 1999 to study reports and make recommendations to the School Board. Committee members have included appointees from local NAACP chapters, the School Board, the Pinellas Administrators Association, the teachers' union, the County Council of PTAs and the School Advisory Council Association.

Janssen is expected to answer questions from the group concerning DMAC's role in monitoring minority participation in extracurricular activities and the district's progress in closing the student achievement gap.

The 7 p.m. meeting at the James Weldon Johnson Library, 1154 18th Ave. S, is the last in a series of six forums sponsored by the African-American Voters Research and Education Committee.

The group is planning a series of workshops geared to motivate parents to become involved in educational issues.

Other groups, including the NAACP, the Urban League and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, have joined with AAVREC to study the school district's commitment to provide quality education for all students, particularly African-American students. The public is encouraged to attend.

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