BAKER — The Baker school system’s interim superintendent urged teachers and other employees Tuesday to redouble their efforts to move the city’s schools up in the state’s accountability rankings.
“We’re behind a little bit, and we’ve got to run twice as fast,” Ulysses Joseph said during an opening convocation for the 2011-12 school year. Students report to classes on Thursday.
“Our plan for the rest of the year: test scores, test scores, test scores,” Joseph said.
The state Education Department labeled three of Baker’s five schools as “academically unacceptable,” based on test scores from last school year.
The state raised the cutoff school performance score for the designation from 60 to 65, and Joseph noted the minimum score to avoid the unacceptable label will be 75 this year.
“The stakes are high … the number one thing I ask of you is ‘plan and deliver’ a full period of instruction,” Joseph told the teachers.
Joseph listed the changes the Baker School Board has instituted for the coming year, including converting Park Ridge Elementary School to an elementary magnet school, renovation projects at all schools and new curricula, including a middle school program that emphasizes math, technology, engineering and science.
He also asked teachers to develop a “learner-, user-friendly” atmosphere in their classes that will make students want to come to school.
The assembly also featured a motivational talk by Robert Jackson, a former teacher, coach and principal who wrote several books with the theme, “no more excuses.”