School officials attribute improvement to 'community-based' model

By City News Service

Improving test scores for San Diego Unified School District students are the result of a “community-based” school-administration model, SDUSD officials said Tuesday.

At an event marking the beginning of the school year for district employees, Board of Education President Richard Barrera said the best scores are coming from schools where the teachers are working together, cooperating with principals and enjoying the assistance of parents who are engaged in their children’s academics.

“There’s a strong community within the school,” Barrera said. “Our school district is committed to community-based school reform.”

According to figures released today, 82 percent of SDUSD 10th graders passed the California High School Exit Exam in math, and 80 percent passed the English section, an improvement over last year’s results.

Across the state, the pass rate was 81 percent for both math and English.

District officials also touted their success on standardizing testing, pointing to several years of growth both overall and within ethnic sub-groups.

“The fact is, we are having steady progress, especially in the context of large urban districts in California,” Superintendent Bill Kowba said.

To enhance their community-based efforts, the district has restructured its management system to create nine clusters of schools, in which elementary and middle schools feed into particular high schools. Each cluster is now led by an area superintendent.

Teachers and other district employees returned to work this week to prepare for the upcoming school year. Students will report the day after Labor Day.