"We are the critical element in the lives of children," County Superintendent Randy Ward told the classified staff of the Juvenile Court and Community Schools, "and it will take ALL our efforts to make a difference."
The new County Superintendent was addressing the court schools' staff during Professional Development Day, and it was one of many addresses Ward has delivered to school audiences around the county during his first weeks on the job.
He recently spoke to the San Diego City Unified School District's 2006 Back To School Conference and Festival, where 2,000 district staff, teachers, students and parents were in attendance. Ward presented San Diego City Unified District Superintendent Carl Cohn with a resolution commending the district for its successful efforts to increase student achievement in their district.
It was Cohn that hired Ward for his first principalship in 1989, recruiting Ward from Boston to Long Beach Unified School District. Cohn was an Area Superintendent at the time and Ward began his administrative career at Whittier Elementary.
During the JCCS Professional Development Day meeting Ward expressed the importance of the JCCS program in San Diego County. "It is important for all of us to understand that no matter how often our students misbehave, they are still children inside. Don't assume children and their situations. Good enough never is," said Ward.
The JCCS program has recently had 63% of their students pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), a significant improvement from the 9% passage rate of five years ago.
Maruta Gardner, Executive Director of the JCCS Program, commended the staff for their hard work in raising student achievement. She said she expects the coming school year to be even more successful for her students.
Along with JCCS and San Diego City Unified presentations, Ward has also spoken to staffs in Oceanside Unified, Poway Unified, Coronado Unified and Mountain Empire Unified.
"He was very inspirational," said Sharon Raffer, Director of Communications for Poway Unified. "He's a powerful speaker, and our staff really enjoyed hearing him. His message is important."
Ward intends to make his way to all districts in San Diego County, where he will encourage and support district efforts to promote achievement, equity and accountability among all students.