July 25, 2014
Contact: Heidi Embley
Phone: (907) 742-4158
Superintendent Graff kicks off new year with State of the Schools address
Graff outlined district’s achievements and plan for the year ahead
Superintendent Ed Graff presented his State of the Schools address to district leadership and many community leaders today, focusing on the importance of engagement in our schools to help students achieve and be ready for college and a career after they leave the Anchorage School District.
“I believe in our students and schools. I know when we engage our students and set high expectations, great things happen,” said Graff.
For the coming school year, the district and Anchorage School Board reinforced their commitment to the Destination 2020 strategic plan. The plan lays out six goals:
Destination 2020 maps out several areas of focus, where the district is targeting its efforts and resources to improve student achievement.
In his address, Graff said preliminary results from the state’s Standards Based Assessments show the district is providing an excellent education to students.
Reading, writing and science scores increased over previous years; many grade levels show the highest proficiency scores in the last five years. Following implementation of a new K-8 math curriculum, math scores by grade level were mixed, down slightly districtwide. Graff said he expected results to be lower than last year and noted the decline was less than anticipated in the initial years of implementation. Overall, math scores remain higher than they were in 2010-11.
Graff credited the gains to the hard work of staff, centered around Response to Instruction – a data-driven initiative to provide the right type of instruction at the right time to every student.
“We are focused on every one of our students. We believe in them at every level, whether they are right on track, in need of additional support or excelling,” said Graff.
Graff outlined a number of targeted efforts for the coming year, which include supplementing early learning efforts, improving professional development for teachers and support staff, upgrading classroom technology and expanding Bring Your Own Device, and improving access to meals at the district’s highest poverty schools.
Additionally, the district will continue its multi-year efforts that are focused on improving student attendance. The district has seen significant gains in attendance at every grade level over the past two years. Graff credited the gains to improved communication about the importance of coming to school every day, updated internal procedures and additional support sponsored by school business partners that recognizes excellent attendance.
“We have a lot happening this year, yet everything we’re doing is aligned to our Destination 2020 strategic plan and areas of focus. We’re moving forward and our students are achieving great things,” said Graff.
Progress toward Destination 2020 goals is reviewed annually through a series of performance measures. The 2014 preliminary report is available online. A full report of student test scores will be available in the Profile of Performance, presented to the school board later this fall.
Below is a photo from today’s event featuring Superintendent Graff and future kindergarteners, soon to be members of the Class of 2027.