leadership (1901–1922) of superintendent Frank B. Cooper and a number of civic-minded, progressive school board members. As today’s superintendent, Goodloe-Johnson administers the largest public school district in the state and a budget that exceeds a half billion dollars.
Besides being the state’s largest school district, it is also one of the most ethnically diverse. As of October 2007, according to the office of the state superintendent of public instruction, district enrollment of 45,581 students broke out as: White-19,508 (42.8%); Asian-10,075 (22.1%); Black-9,735 (21.4%); Hispanic-5,304 (11.6%); American Indian-959 (2.1%). Ethnic diversity is nothing new in Seattle Public Schools. Broadway High School, on Capitol Hill, closed in 1946 after having lost a quarter of its students to the Japanese internment.
Goodloe-Johnson says the district recognizes that getting students ready for college starts long before students enter ninth grade. Critical milestones include entering kindergarten ready to learn, reading at grade level in third grade, taking algebra in eighth grade, and passing the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) tests in 10th grade.
“Our strategic plan, called Excellence for All, is our guide to reach this goal,” Goodloe-Johnson said.
“We must give teachers and principals the right tools and support. We adopted new math textbooks and instructional materials for high schools that are consistent with the approach used in elementary and middle schools. A new assessment system will give teachers real-time information about students’ strengths and weaknesses so that they can better keep them on track. And we have expanded the number of Advanced Placement classes by more than 30 percent so more students have a chance to enroll in college-level courses.”
School district policy is that all students deserve access to high-quality schools and programs across the city so the neighborhood schools approach will be “equitable, predictable and easy for families to understand.”
“Our work this year will strengthen advanced learning, bilingual education and special-education services so they are offered in more schools next year,” Goodloe-Johnson said. “Instead of a handful of ‘good’ schools, we are creating a district where every school is excellent. We are setting clear goals for each school, and we will provide support to help those that are struggling.”