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 Achievement Gap Task Force Forum Highlights Districts' Successes

Hundreds of educational leaders will come together in support of a countywide initiative to eliminate opportunity gaps for all students at the Achievement Gap Task Force forum in March.

Hailed as an opportunity for educators to learn from districts that are transforming education in San Diego County, the forum is open to superintendents, principals, administrative teams, teacher leaders, counselors, and graduate students.

"Our students have an opportunity gap due to circumstances, not their abilities, and that needs to change. We cannot ignore the barriers which exist for underserved students in our schools and prevent them from succeeding in college and their career," said Dr. Randolph Ward​, superintendent of schools for San Diego County.

Ward leads the Achievement Gap Task Force​, which includes the county's 42 school districts and industry and community leaders.

The event begins at 8 a.m. March 10 with a keynote speech from urban education pioneer Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade, who will inspire and reignite school leaders with his story of change.

The San Francisco State University professor and author is widely-acclaimed for producing uncommon levels of social and academic success for his students while teaching at an East Oakland school for more than 20 years. 

Duncan-Andrade will share how San Diego County educators can implement strategies to move beyond practices that have traditionally failed underserved students.

A series of breakout sessions will highlight programs implemented in San Diego County to increase equity and access to a college-ready education:

  • Del Mar Union School District is transforming math instruction through hands-on problem-solving
  • Encinitas Union School District integrated thinking and research across subjects by reframing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to DREAMS (design, research, engineering, art, math, and science) 
  • Escondido Union High School District is providing meaningful learning experiences at Del Lago Academy by implementing a career and technical pathway program
  • Oceanside Unified School District is focusing on high expectations and student relationships and seeing a decrease in student suspensions and an increase in academic outcomes
  • Sweetwater Union High School District expanded an underutilized computer science course, creating engaging opportunities for underserved students

Also presenting at the forum is Dr. Heather Lattimer, of the University of San Diego, who will share the results of her year-long study into the experiences of first-generation college students.

Leaders from Google, Pharmatek, and Qualcomm will also be presenting on the skills needed for workforce success.

This is the 12th Achievement Gap Task Force forum since 2010. The San Diego County Office of Education established the task force in 2003 to ensure every student graduates prepared to succeed beyond high school.