Supt. Cortines Gives Annual Address
Stressing a continued focus on academic achievement and instruction, Los Angeles Unified School District(LAUSD) Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines challenged more than 2,000 administrators and principals to create a personalized learning experience for students, parents as well as teachers and staff in his annual address held today at Hollywood High School.
In anticipation of the start of the traditional school year, on Sept. 9, Cortines urged the creation of a District "where we know every child and adult by name and face. We need to personalize this learning experience for everyone in this great District especially during these difficult times."
Elaborating on personalized learning in the classroom, Cortines said, "All students can achieve at high standards given the right time and support. We must use data to better understand how to unlock the potential in each child."
Based on his experiences at every level of instruction, the superintendent also encouraged the educators "to work to know every student by name and face. I've talked with students all over this District, and they tell me that it is so important to be called by name. It shows that we recognize the students that we come into contact with every day. It shows we care about them. We as adults need that, too, including parents."
Seeking greater involvement of parents at every school and office, the superintendent said, "They have unique needs, and it is our responsibility to meet those needs."
Regarding personalized learning for the District's teachers, principals and staff, he said, "We need to continue to push ourselves to be lifelong learners. In order to do this, we need to personalize our professional development opportunities." "But that doesn't require flying in outsiders", the superintendent explained.
"We need to spend more time learning from each other. The best schools in our country are right here in our backyard. We have expertise all over this District," he said, adding, "If 89 percent of the students at Holmes Middle School can score proficient in algebra, why can't all of our students?"
Citing higher test scores, an improved graduation rate and declining dropout rate, the superintendent thanked the educators for their roles in those gains in student achievement. "Even with the challenges that we faced, we persevered," he said. "Our recent results highlight the fact that more students are staying in school and achieving."
He also discussed some areas of uncertainty in the District's future.
"I know there are concerns about how the Board Resolution on Public School Choice will affect your school," Cortines said. "I've spoken to every Board Member about the underlying principle. The main focus will be on our students and how we can improve education for all of our children."
Referencing the possibility of yet another round of steep budget cuts for the 2009-2010 school year, the superintendent said, "I am not going to ask you to do more with less. We must learn how to do things differently. We must work together to ensure we are doing the right things for our students. By working together, we can move ahead together."