Tuesday, April 22, 2014

SCS Superintendent Requests That Board Adopt New Academic Goals

Posted By on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Dorsey Hopson
  • Dorsey Hopson

Tonight at the Shelby County Schools (SCS) board work session, Superintendent Dorsey Hopson will propose that the school board commit to a goal of having 80 percent of the 2013-14 school year’s first-graders ready for college and careers by the time they graduate in 2025. The goal is part of a strategic plan SCS hopes to have completed by December 1st.

This morning (Tuesday, April 22nd), Bradley Leon, chief innovation officer for SCS, met with members of the media to discuss several of the goals that have been established for the plan.

Leon said other key goals are raising the district graduation rate to 90 percent and assuring that 100 percent of the kids who graduate in 2025 enroll in post-secondary education, such as an university or trade school.

"This year’s first-graders, we’re committing that 80 percent of them will be college- or career-ready by the time they graduate in 2025," Leon said. "When you have a goal that’s longer term in nature, there can be an expression created that maybe you’re putting off the day of accountability. Because those first-graders are in our system, we’re going to have aggressive goals along the way for every child throughout the system. We’re going to have some ambitious goals for third-grade reading, seventh-grade math, for those kids and all the kids in our system. That will tie into performance measures and accountability that the district will have for itself."

Leon said currently, “only about five percent” of SCS students are college-ready. He said although the district doesn’t assess career-readiness yet, if measures used by other communities are applied to determine whether or not students are workforce-ready, there are about 25 percent of SCS students who are ready for a career.

The 2025 plan is primarily targeting the current school year’s first-graders but will encompass all grades. The plan will create concrete pathways for as many SCS students as possible to graduate college- and career-ready.

Leon said the district cannot accomplish the goals set forth in the plan single-handedly and will be seeking assistance from internal and external community stakeholders to leverage all possible resources to help improve the outcomes of SCS students.

Leon said there would be community meetings held on May 13th and May 15th for Memphians to learn more about the plan's goals and to provide input on how they think SCS could achieve its goals.

Achieving the goals set forth in the plan is anticipated to benefit the community by helping reduce unemployment, increase civic engagement, lower crime, among several other positive effects.

Superintendent Hopson will propose that the school board adopts the goals during its board meeting tonight. The meeting will take place in the school board’s COE auditorium (2597 Avery). It starts at 5:30 p.m.

Leon said he’s unsure if the board will vote on the proposition tonight. He said tonight will only involve Hopson proposing a goal. He said they hope to have a strategic planning process completed and ready to implement by December 1st.

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