Wednesday, August 08, 2012
FCPS Superintendent Challenges Leaders to Focus on Closing Student Achievement Gaps
In his final keynote address to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) administrators at the district’s annual Leadership Conference, Superintendent Jack D. Dale challenged district leaders to focus on helping every student read at or above grade level and graduate on time in an ongoing effort to close existing student achievement gaps.
“We have many accomplishments to celebrate,” Dale told the audience of approximately 2,000 employees. He stated that the most meaningful accomplishment to him is the success achieved by the district in narrowing the achievement gap between Black and Hispanic students and their White and Asian counterparts on the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) reading tests over the past nine years—from 27 to 11 percent—and a reduction in the gap from 25 to 11 percent on SOL math tests. He challenged district leaders to remain focused on the current achievement gaps to ensure that all students reach their full potential and to continue to narrow those gaps.
Dale reflected on his eight years as FCPS superintendent by sharing some of the lessons he learned with district administrators. Among his top 10 lessons are that FCPS employees are problem solvers; they view “different” as an asset in students and adults; and they are a collection of strong-willed leaders who like to create the Fairfax Solution to problems.
Dale encouraged the group to continue to rely on professional learning communities, now embedded in more than 73 percent of Fairfax County public schools, in conjunction with best practices to raise the bar for all students. Keeping the goal of on-time graduation as a priority, Dale created a High School Graduation Task Force which is working on a data tracking system to identify students who may be at risk of not graduating on time. The task force is also responsible for identifying programs and interventions that focus on improving academic performance, social and emotional health, and connectedness to the school to help all students work toward the goal of on-time graduation.
He also challenged district leaders to think globally, as FCPS encourages students to do, and to “constantly look ahead to see how we can shape education to be the best for all children.
“I believe together, we can do great things for the children who walk through our doors every day and look to us for learning and leadership,” he concluded.
A copy of Dale’s remarks can be found at http://www.fcps.edu/supt/docs/lc2012.pdf.
Funding for keynote speaker Tony Wagner, innovation education fellow at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, was provided by Verizon.
Note: For more information, contact the FCPS Department of Communications and Community Outreach at 571-423-1200.