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State Of The District: Board President Puts San Diego Schools In Positive Light

Photo caption:

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Kevin Beiser, president of the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education

San Diego Unified School Board President Kevin Beiser highlights recent success stories in the annual state of the district speech.

Kevin Beiser highlighted a laundry list of successes for San Diego schools in his state of the school district speech on Monday evening.

Even in his criticisms, the San Diego Unified School District’s Board of Education president boasted of accomplishments not quite achieved.

The newly re-elected board member told the audience of educators, parents and media that San Diego Unified has reduced class sizes, balanced the budget and lowered the dropout rate. He released an advanced copy of his speech earlier in the day.

Beiser said the district has also been able to avoid teacher layoffs.

Lowering class size was a plank in Beiser’s re-election campaign. The teacher-to-student ratio for kindergarten through third-grade classes is down, Beiser said.

“We’ve lowered class size this year, reduced from 27 to 1 down to 25.5 to 1,” he said.

San Diego Unified reportedly has the lowest dropout rate in the state. Beiser said that is by design.

“We don't have the lowest dropout rate in California by accident. We’ve worked very, very hard to find solutions,” Beiser said.

One challenge is continuing to hang on to that low dropout rate.

Beiser credits the district's graduation coach program for much of its success. The program pairs mentors with students to help keep them on track to graduation.

Coaches are specially trained to help struggling students fulfill their graduation requirements.

Beiser said the program had been expanded to all high schools in the district this year.

In addition, the newly-created Department of Secondary Education has helped schools be able to offer classes that the students need, Beiser said.

Another highlight, Beiser said, is the district's reopening of every school library previously closed due to budget cuts.

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