'State of the District' sets course for school year

Posted: Thursday, October 22nd 2015


School of Creative and Performing Arts Jazz Band performing “St. Louis Blues,” “Flirtibird,” and “Portrait of Louise Armstrong.”

Board of Education President Marne Foster and Superintendent Cindy Marten charted a course for the 2015-16 school year, highlighted the district's accomplishments and its challenges, during the 2015 State of the District Address at Lincoln High School.

The event, a special Board of Education meeting, brought together leaders from throughout the district and San Diego region, as well as students and parents. A video of the meeting, held Oct. 20 at the Lincoln High School Performing Arts Center, is now online.

Marne FosterFoster said the district has much to be proud of, highlighting that some "truly incredible outcomes for students were achieved" due to the high expectations that teachers, principals and staff have for students.

"Our District graduation rates continue to be among the best in the state among large urban districts," she said. "Our overall 2014 graduation is consistent with the state target of 90 percent. And our dropout rate of 4.5 percent is the lowest among large urban districts in California."

"While we can celebrate these accomplishments, we are also mindful that for some student groups are not graduating at the same rate as others."

Foster said work is still needed and strategies are being implemented to accelerate learning, including the Title I Learning Through The Arts Integration Program and mentor programs to expand involvement of Latinos and African American males.

Cindy MartenOther programs she highlighted included the district's emphasis on quality early education and our focus on being a PreK-12 public education system.

These and other programs are part of San Diego Unified's Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). This framework for student success also includes expanded "a-g" coursework, improvement in high school master schedules, expansion of Advanced Placement courses and closer ties with UC San Diego and the San Diego Community College District.

Foster also highlighted the new STEAM Middle College High School at Lincoln High School, which the evening's host, John Ross, Lincoln High School Principal, also discussed in his opening remarks.

Community partners, who work with schools and students to support learning, were lauded by Superintendent Cindy Marten in the address, titled "Equality, Inclusion and Access in Education." Inspired every day by the hard work and successes in San Diego Unified classrooms, Marten praised the strong committment by the community of San Diego to educating the next generation of San Diegans.

Urgency and patience are needed, as it takes time to change, time to grow, and time to develop, she said, adding that the district is moving closer to equity for all students every day. She asked all to have a long-term committment to improvements and creating America's finest school system.

Marten credited the Board of Education with creating policies that allow individual teachers, schools and departments to make improvements. The goals will enable students to leave the San Diego Unified as contributing, positive members of society.

The superintendent also touched on the district's upcoming funding advocacy efforts to reimagine California's future through a new investment model. Stakeholders are invited to attend a Public Education Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Eugene Brucker Education Center.

Students participating in the program included: the Lincoln High School Army JROTC under Col. Limuel Hunter, Jr. US Army (Retired); Jazz Band and Ensemble and Choral Singers from the School of Creative and Performing Arts, under Director John Reynolds.

Staff support came from Lincoln High School, Food Services Department, Physical Plant Operations, Police Services and the Communications.

AXA advisors was title sponsor for the event.

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