San Diego Unified Puts Reform Power Into Hands Of Schools
School is back in session for San Diego City principals and administrators. They came together yesterday on Tuesday for their annual back-to-school meeting.
This will be Bill Kowba’s first year as the district’s permanent superintendent. Kowba wants to change the way academic reforms are handed down. .
School reform has been a top-down process in San Diego Unified for a long time. Traditionally, the superintendent determines the academic strategies. Schools carry out those reforms.
But that’s changing under Superintendent Bill Kowba. School communities will develop and adopt their own strategies for success.
Kowba has assembled a team of school leaders to watch over schools.
“The nine area superintendents are part of single leadership team” Kowba said. “They will come together to make sure we are synchronized and the right focal points and priorities are made throughout the entire district.”
Letting schools sites drive their own academic agendas is a departure from how most large urban schools districts are managed.
Even so, the school board is firmly behind the plan. Board president Richard Barrera says kids do better in school when instruction is tailored to their needs. He says teachers, principals and parents know what is right for their students.
“I would describe it as a community-based reform model,” Barrera said. “Schools where we are seeing consistent gains over time have a strong community within the school where adults and kids are working together, know each other, and trust each other.”
With each school developing its own strategy, district officials say they're working on a new way to measure the schools' success.