Superintendent Graff kicks off new year with State of the Schools address


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Anchorage School District Superintendent Ed Graff presented his State of the Schools address to district and community leaders last week, focusing on the importance of helping students prepare for college and a career after they leave the Anchorage School District.

“I believe in our students and schools. I know when we engage our students and set high expectations, great things happen,” Graff said.

The district and Anchorage School Board reinforced their commitment to the Destination 2020 strategic plan for the upcoming school year. The plan lays out the following six goals: 90 percent of students proficient in reading, writing and math; 90 percent graduation rate; every child attends school at least 90 percent of the time; 90 percent of parents would recommend their child’s school; 100 percent of students and staff feel safe at school; and operational efficiency – based on key performance indicators among peer districts.

In his address, Graff said preliminary results from the state’s Standards Based Assessments show that reading, writing and science scores increased over previous years and that many grade levels show the highest proficiency scores in the last five years. Following implementation of a new K-8 math curriculum, math scores by grade level were down slightly districtwide.

Graff said he expected results to be lower than last year and noted the decline was less than anticipated in the initial years of implementation.

Overall, math scores remain higher than they were in 2010-11.

Graff outlined a number of targeted efforts for the coming year, which include supplementing early learning efforts, improving professional development for teachers and support staff, upgrading classroom technology and expanding Bring Your Own Device, and improving access to meals at the district’s highest poverty schools.

The district also plans on continuing its multi-year efforts focused on improving student attendance.

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