Saturday, May 20, 2017

New superintendent champions data use, educational equality for Sacramento schools | The Sacramento Bee

New superintendent champions data use, educational equality for Sacramento schools | The Sacramento Bee:

Buckle up, Sac City Unified parents: A reformer is about to take over


Long before he was named the new superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District, Jorge Aguilar was a freshman at UC Berkeley who had his educational self-worth shattered on his first day of chemistry class.
OPINION
“I couldn’t even follow the first lecture; I withdrew from the class,” said Aguilar, who begins work July 1 with several daunting tasks on his to-do list, including reversing Sac City Unified’s dropout rates.
Aguilar didn’t let that temporary setback define his college experience, even though he easily could have, given the challenges of his life. He stayed at Berkeley, got a degree in Latin American studies, then a law degree from Loyola Law School – accomplishments that would become the foundation of a career dedicated to helping others reach their academic potential.
Raised in the small farming town of Parlier in Fresno County, Aguilar takes the reins in Sacramento during a difficult time for the district. Sac City Unified has seen its numbers tumble in several critical areas in recent years while other districts in the county and around the state have been making steady progress.
It’s an embarrassment that in 2016 the high school graduation rate in the capital of California was 80.5 percent, well below the state’s average. Meanwhile, the dropout rate of African American students in Sacramento was 19 percent, more than double what it was in 2013; dropout rates for special education students nearly tripled to 18 percent.
In 2013, the last year under former superintendent Jonathan Raymond, the graduation rate for Sac City Unified was greater than 85 percent. But Raymond left, worn down by teacher-union politics and a lack of support for school reforms. Caretaker superintendent Jose Banda took over and numbers began to slide. Now Aguilar is hoping to correct the course.
I had lunch with Aguilar in his hometown earlier this week, and he asked me if Sac CityNew superintendent champions data use, educational equality for Sacramento schools | The Sacramento Bee: 



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