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NEWS RELEASE: State Schools Chief Celebrates San Diego Unified Successes, Appoints Superintendent Cindy Marten as Co-Chair of New Taskforce at State of the District Address

NEWS RELEASE: State Schools Chief Celebrates San Diego Unified Successes, Appoints Superintendent Cindy Marten as Co-Chair of New Taskforce at State of the District Address
Posted on 11/20/2019

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond (L) and San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten (R)

The new school year is less than three months old, but San Diego Unified has already been called one of the best districts in the nation for academic growth, a leader in the state for students of color, and a system others should replicate when it comes to closing the achievement gap. Bolstered by these results and joined by the state's top education official, Superintendent Cindy Marten delivered her annual State of the District speech Tuesday. Her message to San Diego: every student belongs in our public schools.

“I can say with confidence tonight that the state of our district is strong,” Marten said. “We have kept our commitments to the taxpayers of this city. Most of all, I want to say to every parent in our city: your students belong in a San Diego Unified school, because your students will thrive here.”

For the first time in recent memory, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond also participated in the San Diego Unified State of the District event. He used his speech to announce he has named Superintendent Marten to co-chair his new Superintendent's Advisory Council. He also recognized San Diego Unified as a leading district in the state, and for its work to close the achievement gap and support STEAM learning.

It was the representative of the nation's urban school districts, Council of Great City Schools Executive Director Mike Casserly, who praised San Diego's rapid growth in academic achievement last month. His remarks were based on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which measures math and reading abilities in elementary and middle school. San Diego Unified's strong national test results mirrored recent state reports by the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) and UCLA's Center for the Transformation of Schools, which found, respectively, San Diego Unified is one of the best big urban districts in the state for minority students and a system with strong initiatives in place that others should replicate when it comes to closing the achievement gap.

In making the case for choosing a San Diego Unified public education, Superintendent Marten said students would benefit from strong academics, access to advanced technology, world-class programs in the arts and music, along with scholarship-level athletics.

“I want to make a commitment to every student in San Diego,” Marten said. “You belong in a San Diego Unified school. We welcome you. And if you are willing to work hard and give your best, you will go to college. If you fall in love with a career path in high school, we will help you find a job in that field when you leave -- a good job with good wages. No matter who you are or where you come from, we will not let you fail. We are a city, we are a school system that keeps its commitments to our students …”

Marten said the key to continued academic growth would be the schools' ability to meet the social and emotional needs of every student. She called division and isolation the greatest threats to the progress being made by the school district. She pledged the school district will work hard to create a sense of belonging in every student and praised student leaders for finding their own voices. San Diego Unified recently elected its first student member to the Board of Education, who will be sworn in at the next meeting in December.

Board President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne

Board President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne and other members of the Board of Education addressed the audience at Lincoln High School. Dr. Whitehurst-Payne stressed the importance of finding good jobs for students in all communities, including those throughout Southeast San Diego, following graduation,” she said, “San Diego, our children are graduating at higher rates than ever before, but what we can do as a city to show them that their hard work has paid off?”

The Board President is a former member of the Southeast San Diego Economic Development Commission, who works on connecting schools with community organizations to expand opportunities for all students.

Contact: Communications Director Maureen Magee, 619-381-7930 mmagee@sandi.net

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