Pat, Personally

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Increasing student achievement

Two weeks ago, I gathered in Milwaukee with superintendents and trustees from 61 other urban school districts to talk about how we can increase academic performance for our male students of color.

It was interesting to hear from district leaders from around the country, and to realize we are all grappling with the same issues when it comes to increasing student achievement for minority and low-income students.

We are all asking the same question, “How do we put all students on the right path, and what significant changes can we enact to make a difference in every one of their lives?”

The Clark County School District representatives to this Council of Great City Schools event were glad to find out that our school district is actually significantly ahead of many of our peer school districts on this issue.

This year, we are starting a cultural competency training for all administrators and new teachers, with plans to expand the professional development in future years.

Our new graduation tracker better identifies students who are in danger of not graduating earlier in their high school careers – so we can provide support and interventions before students drop out.

And we are implementing grants in 71 middle and high schools this year for the schools to pilot behavior modification programs that catch students when they first get in trouble – before they are suspended or expelled.

We are also actively engaged in the My Brother’s Keeper program that works nationally to combine the efforts of school districts and communities to ensure the academic success of young men of color. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman just announced last week she is contributing to the effort, as well.

Being with these other district leaders help reaffirm the hard work our school district is doing on this issue, and I hope we eventually become a national model. I look forward to providing you with updates on how these initiatives impact student achievement for every student in every classroom.