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Seattle Schools Scorecard Shows Progress Made, but Goals Unmet

Associated Press
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Enrollment at Seattle public schools is growing. More students are graduating from high school. And more high school students are taking college-level courses, according to the school district’s own scorecard released Tuesday.

But the district admits the same scorecard shows there’s much more work to be done.

In 2008, Seattle Public Schools set 23 milestones—goals like increasing the number of 10th-graders who pass the state reading test, and encouraging more students to enroll in college within a year of graduating from high school.

The district has made progress toward 21 milestones; however, it has only met just one of those goals—91 percent of all sixth graders passed their classes, which put the district just over its goal of 90 percent.

“Yes, one goal is not exciting, but when you look at the work that’s in place in terms of foundation, that’s what we build on,” said Seattle Superintendent Jose Banda.

That foundation, Banda said, includes things like above-average math and science scores on the state test, and the numbers of schools that have improved in meeting districtwide academic targets.

Banda said Seattle faces the challenges of any major urban school district.

“How do you work effectively with such a diverse community? There’s 126 languages across the district,” said Banda.

The superintendent said the district must work to close the achievement gap between white students and students of color. And while he’s happy with the way the district is now able to track student progress, he said the district should make additional efforts to engage parents.