ASD superintendent highlights goals
In his first full school year on the job, Anchorage School District superintendent Ed Graff has no plans to make sweeping changes to the district’s direction.
“One of the big focuses we’ve had over the last year and a half has been Destination 2020,” he said of the program introduced by his predecessor, Jim Browder.
As assistant superintendent, Graff worked closely with Browder on the initiative, which among other things seeks 90 percent proficiency in reading, writing and math; 90 percent attendance; and a 90 percent graduation rate.
High school graduation is crucial to future financial success, Graff said. Although students can opt to pursue a GED, Graff said they’re not particularly useful in the real world.
“I don’t know what you can get with a GED,” said Graff, spoke at the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber’s biweekly luncheon Sept. 4 at the Eagle River Ale House.
In 2012, roughly 70 percent of students and 90 percent of staff said they feel safe in schools. Graff wants those number to go up significantly by the year 2020.
Graff said the district has undertaken a number of measures to bolster security in district schools.
“We’ve done a lot of things over the years to try to bolster our safety,” he said.
Among the other goals of the program are that staff and students feel safe 100 percent of the time.
“That is not negotiable,” Graff said.
Graff rattled off a long list of statistics about the district, which he said is becoming increasingly diverse. According to his most recent figures, Graff said 45 percent of ASD students are white, 16 percent are Asian, 14 percent are multi-ethnic, 11 percent are Hispanic, 9 percent are Native American/Alaska Native and 6 percent are black.
“It’s a very diverse district,” he said.
Although Graff used statistics to illustrate the district’s goals and challenges, he said ASD’s Destination 2020 plans aren’t just about numbers.
“We do see a face with every one of those statistics we see,” he said. “It’s not just number crunching.”
Graff said the one number he’s most proud of is the fact that 89 percent of ASD parents would recommend the district to others.
“That’s a great statistic,” he said.