Large school districts in different parts of the United States have now developed systematic ways to increase diverse students’ access to advanced courses, and the districts are also providing other important aspects of equity, including an education that prepares the students for 21st century careers.
During a recent edWebinar, hosted by AASA, The Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, Dr. Christine Johns, Superintendent of the Utica Community Schools in Michigan, and Dr. Ann Levett, Superintendent of the Savannah-Chatham Public Schools in Georgia, explained how their districts were achieving better outcomes for their student populations and offered recommendations for other district leaders.
Dr. Levett noted that the processes being used by the Utica and Savannah-Chatham districts are parallel in many respects, though a number of the specific policies reflect the unique circumstances and types of students in each district.
Advanced learning in Michigan
The Utica Community Schools, located near Detroit, have close to 30,000 students, with a Caucasian student majority. About one-third of the students receive free or reduced-price lunches and just over 10 percent are English learners, including students from Albania, Iraq, and other countries.