The Friday Minute
Journey to Graduation
March 9, 2018
I was proud to join our Board of Trustees, staff members, and students in presenting the 2018 State of Education Address. I look forward to this annual event, which offers us an opportunity to share information about our many successes as well as the challenges we face going forward. What a wonderful evening it was, and I enjoyed every minute!
Specifically, we talked about our “90 by 20” goal, and the great progress we are making toward helping all of our traditional high schools reach a 90 percent graduation rate by the year 2020. Thanks to your hard work and dedication, our achievement gaps are narrowing for every sub-group of students!
Of course, we also discussed our use of WC-1 funding, which provided us with a sustained source of funding that is enabling us to repair and renovate existing schools while also building new ones. Our District has kept its promises to keep its capital spending public and transparent, thanks to the participation of so many members of our community and our staff.
We also celebrated our Career & Technical Education (CTE) opportunities for our high school students, with 36 percent of them enrolled in at least one CTE course this year. These courses are among the most important tools we have to provide real-world experience to our students before they ever leave high school, and we are nurturing partnerships with our community to make those programs successful.
An important part of our work is continuing to address equity in our classrooms. We must ensure that we identify disparities among student groups wherever they are, and provide the resources needed to resolve them. We want to make sure every student is receiving the same access to high-quality curriculum and instruction. Our Equity and Diversity Department is leading our District in the pursuit of equitable practices at every level.
Among our challenges is the structural deficit we face in our budget, but we are working with the Board of Trustees to make difficult decisions going forward on that issue. Our community will continue to play an important part in this process going forward, and I hope you will join us at any of the public meetings we are scheduling to discuss this important topic. It is important that we hear from you, our staff.
On a second unrelated topic, I know that we have all experienced challenges around unsubstantiated threats on social media. Any help you can provide in assisting our families to report concerns to the authorities rather than share on social media would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for all you do for our children,
Narrowing Achievement Gaps
November 9, 2017
On the road to our common goal of “90 by 20,” we recognize that one of the most important challenges is narrowing achievement gaps among our students. Students of color have struggled to graduate in past years, and our District has worked hard to identify and provide the supports and resources they need to succeed in their studies.
Our Equity and Diversity Department’s work has been key to this effort, and thanks to these staff members and many others across the District, these achievement gaps are narrowing dramatically.
In fact, the Class of 2017 posted outstanding gains, as Latino/Hispanic students’ graduation rate rose 12 percentage points to reach 80 percent for the first time in WCSD. African American students’ graduation rate rose 18 percentage points to reach 75 percent for the first time.
Reaching these milestones is important, not only because it provides these students and their families with additional opportunities in the future, but because it benefits our community in so many ways. With their diplomas in hand, our students will be able to pursue their dreams of higher education, the military, or highly-skilled careers— and will be better able to share their talents, gifts, and dreams with our community.
My congratulations to all of our graduates and the staff members who helped them along the path to the graduation stage. I commend each and every one of you for your hard work and dedication to achieving this great goal.
Enjoy your day off tomorrow as we remember our military veterans,