held its Business Networking Lunch earlier this month, and it was there that Superintendent Gary Smuts gave his final State of the District presentation before he retires and Dr. Mary Sieu takes over his post in July 2012.
Held at the , local businesses were able to enjoy a light meal while hearing an update on the district's strategic plan at the networking luncheon.
The plan, broken into four parts, includes these snippets:
1. Academic Excellence for All
Increase opportunities to learn by emphasizing interventions before, during and after school:
- The Saturday Morning Academic Reading Academy provides extended learning for grades 3-6 at 12 Title 1 elementary schools.
2. Healthy Students/Healthy Adults
Enhance counseling services:
- The ABC Community Resource Team now includes 11 community based agencies addressing over 234 referrals for counseling services.
3. Parent and Community Involvement
Increase parent and community involvment:
- 99 percent of the parents surveyed in May 2011 rated their schools as an “A” or “B.”
4. Effective Resource and Facilities Management
Optimize resources to support District goals:
- The new American Federation of Teachers Innovation Grant of $200,000 provided support to 11 school teams to create a collaborative project on raising student achievement.
5. Professional Growth for All Employees
Customize professional development opportunities:
- Three days of training were provided for all elementary teachers focusing on writing instruction, strategies for English learners, and universal access for all students.
During his presenation, Smuts openly talked about the experiences his three children had during their primary education. Despite one of his sons and his daughter excelling in their educations with ease, his other son needed extra attention and assistance from outside tutoring.
“There's nothing wrong with that,” Smuts said. “We spend time. We spend more money. We do that because we love them.”
Thus is the attitude Smuts has toward the district -- he said they won't stop until they close the achievement gap and help all children find success.
Smuts closed his presentation by saying the district has been blessed with a holy spirit, and that being with ABC has enabled him to meet and work with people of high regard such as councilmembers, mayors and presidents.
“There's no place like home,” Smuts said.
Smuts is set to retire on June 30, 2012.