Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ)— The first day of school is fast approaching for thousands of Baltimore City students. But school leaders are already at work. Tuesday the district’s CEO rolled out his plan for a successful school year.
Gigi Barnett has the details.
The weeks of summer on the beach are vanishing fast for city students.
Classes start the last week of the month. But before then, principals packed the auditorium at Morgan State University on Tuesday morning.
Their number one goal this school year: improving all schools.
“Even our most successful schools have to improve,” said Baltimore City Schools’ CEO Dr. Andres Alonso. “There is no such thing as concentrating on 20 schools and forgetting what needs to happen in 180 others.”
Alonso unveiled his game plan to make the school year a successful one.
He says schools need more highly-qualified teachers, and students need more choices over the schools they’d like to attend.
But he says one area that needs the most improvement this year is the dropout rate.
“Kids being in school matters tremendously,” Alonso said. “How are we going to continue what we’ve done successfully, which is to graduate kids and reduce significantly the number of kids who drop out of school?”
The answer to that question could help Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in her quest to bring more families to Baltimore City over the next decade.
She says the state of the city’s crumbling school buildings are more than an eyesore. They’re also a hindrance to student achievement.
“The thought that some kids in our school system have to drag their little desks down the hallway when it rains cause they can’t sit in their classrooms,” the mayor said. “If you’re in the schools, you know the problem.”
School leaders know the problem, and they admit that many of their old schools need some major repairs, but that will take more money. That is millions that the district does not have. But the city has broken ground on two new schools.
The city is hosting a back to school rally for students on Aug. 23 to pass out school supplies and make sure students are immunized.