School superintendent: We’ve made progress but not satisfied

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SEATTLE — In his first year as school superintendent,  Jose Banda has learned just how engaged parents and teachers can be, from protests over what some called a flawed academic progress test to the recent controversy over changing school boundaries.

But Banda, in his address on the state of the district Tuesday, said there is plenty to celebrate.

banda“This is an exciting time to be a part of Seattle Public Schools,” said Banda, citing how over the last five years, more Seattle students are graduating and more are taking college-level classes.

He also said students in the district are now outperforming the state average on state math and science tests.

“While we have made progress, we are not satisfied,” said Banda. “We have a lot of hard work ahead of us.”

According to Banda, Seattle kids are not meeting their reading goals, and there is still achievement gaps. For instance, caucasian students continue to score higher in state math exams than African American students and parents want to see a change.

“It’s the eternal issue of, what are we doing to close the achievement gap,” said Melissa Westbrook, a parent and school activist. “That is the number one thing that has to be addressed.”

The superintendent says he has a new five-year plan that he hopes will address that, including improving systems and communication district-wide to try to meet student needs and getting families more involved.

“It really takes an engagement of our community,” said Banda. “And engagement of our families as our partners to make sure we provide full support for our students.”

Click here to read full report.  Click here to read the District Scorecard released Tuesday.   And click here to read individual school reports.

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