SD Unified School District leaders address top issues

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego Unified School District leaders used the annual State of the District Address Monday at Lewis Middle School to discuss recent successes and what more can be done.

Board of Education President Kevin Beiser said district officials pushed to “broaden the measures of success,” which included expanding college preparation and transitional kindergarten courses, aligning graduation requirements with those of state universities, lowering class sizes and bettering students’ access to technology.

“This infusion of technology provides rich opportunities for teachers to enhance classroom learning environments and opportunities through the interconnected and innovative use of mobile computing,” he said.

The district was also working to improve facilities “to make sure our schools are seen as safe and attractive neighborhood learning centers,” Beiser said. The district added classrooms, athletic facilities and air conditioning, and several more projects were in the works.

District officials managed to balance their budget for the 2014-15 academic year without resorting to laying off teachers, reopened elementary school libraries that fell victim to recent cuts and restored the full 180-day school year, but were now working to show state lawmakers exactly how much money they would need to meet their goals.

“San Diego Unified is taking a leadership role in defining `funding adequacy’ for the California Legislature,” Beiser said.

Superintendent Cindy Marten outlined the next steps the district would take.

Marten said more would be done to ensure students were “contributing, participating members of our community who make a positive difference in the world,” and district leaders would look to define student achievement using more than test scores, work to close the achievement gap and help students learning English get more in line with their peers.

“We’re not content with where we are,” Marten said. “Sure we’ve addressed some of our short-term issues, but we continue to look at the long-term road to sustainable progress and success.”

Marten also stressed that there were other measures of success besides grades and test scores.

“We don’t know yet how to measure a child’s ability to be resilient and peaceful and thoughtful and have critical thinking at the center of every decision,” Marten said.

Marten closed her portion of the address with her recollection of being comforted by two students following the recent death of her father. The two girls, her father’s neighbors, also attended the funeral and told other attendees stories about his life.

Marten said she couldn’t say what those girls’ test scores were or where they fell on the proficiency scale, but “those girls knew how to be kind.”

“We can’t measure that on any kind of standardized test,” she said.

Categories: KUSI