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New superintendent shares her history, plans

Original post made on Aug 23, 2013

Although she's the U.S.-born daughter of a U.S.-born Air Force employee, Gloria Hernandez — the new superintendent of East Palo Alto's Ravenswood City School District — spoke Spanish at home throughout her childhood.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, August 24, 2013, 3:38 PM

Comments (5)

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Posted by New-Boss-Same-As-The-Old-Boss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2013 at 8:29 am

Reading this article on the new Ravenswood Superintendent of Education leaves one wondering if anyone at the Weekly fully appreciates the problems at Ravenswood. The one genuflect to the these problems is noted by pointing out that Ravenwoods API is only 712—down 2 points from last year's 714.

Looking at the individual schools,
Web Link
only one school actually achieved an API score greater than 800 (a charter school), and five out of nine schools showed significant declines in their individual academic performance.

> But Hernandez maintains that a focus on that single metric can
> be misleading.

It’s amazing that the employees of failing/failed school districts invariably trot out this old canard. Of course standardized test scores matter!

There is nothing in this article that leaves one with the sense that this new Superintendent sees Ravenswood’s academic performance as her top priority for the immediate future.

> Her main message to those parents: "I think we can provide a
> high-quality
> education right here in Ravenswood. We have people who are
> committed, and we have principals who are working very hard
> to provide that consistency and support for the teachers so
> they're doing the best job possible."

Given the current, and historical, performance of Ravenswood—-how can anyone believe the new Superintendent’s claims?

> Hernandez also plans to use the San Jose public relations firm
> Ford and Bonilla, hired by her predecessor Maria De La Vega,
> to get the word out about Ravenswood.

Given that the API Scorecards pretty much tell the whole story of any school district—spending money on a PR Agency would seem to be a poor use of the District’s funds. One can only wonder what goes through the Board of Education's mind when they approve these sorts of expenditures.

While everyone wishes this new Superintendent bests wishes for success, it’s hard to see much for Ravenswood other than business as usual for some time to come.

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Posted by Ignorance is bliss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2013 at 1:48 pm

There is nothing "given" that API scores tell the whole story of a school or a district. Various PAUSD schools at 900 and above merely correlate with higher income and educational attainment levels. To suggest that the API measures the success of a school district would suggest to me that the poster knows extremely little about the API at all. Research it's original design, what metrics it was to include, and then the weighting of the individual CSTs.

I was wondering how long it would take self-absorbed Palo Alto to comment on the new hire for superintendent because posters don't show much interest in East Palo Alto issues such as youth violence or educational matters, but I clearly underestimated the know-it-all, holier-than-thou tone that would strike first. This new superintendent appears to have much more integrity and substance than our PAUSD superintendent, and the years under his reign have hardly left us in a position to judge other districts. PAUSD has spent thousands more per child, and supposedly we have the best teachers, but we have been unable to educate so many students from impoverished backgrounds like East Palo Alto.

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Posted by New-Boss-Same-As-The-Old-Boss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2013 at 8:52 am

> There is nothing "given" that API scores
> tell the whole story of a school or a district.

Well, perhaps that’s true—other data includes the graduation rate, the percentage of teachers with emergency teaching qualifications, the on-campus crime-rate, the student suspension rate, the yearly capital expenditures for infrastructure, the number of parent volunteer hours, SAT/ACT scores, the college attendance rates for graduates, the college graduation rates for graduates, Students taking AP courses, AP results, teaching staff retention rates, superintendent/school principals rotation rates. (And there are other metrics, but these are generally available from public sources.)

Yes, there are other metrics that provide some insight into the management of a school (or district), and the likely quality of a education at such a school. However, it’s really hard to find schools that offer evidence of a high quality education that don’t post high API scores.

> PAUSD schools with APIs about 900 merely correlate with higher income
> and educational attainment levels

Evidence is that parent involvement drives student performance more than schools. So, suggesting a mere correlation between high APIs and parent education/income dismisses the underlying sociological mechanisms driving education.

BTW—any one run into someone who said: “we moved into this community because the API scores for the schools were the lowest we could find?” Anyone have many friends who proudly proclaim their belief in low API (poor performing) schools?

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Posted by Paul Thiebaut III
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 26, 2013 at 11:22 am

10 Books A Home welcomes the new superintendent and hopes to work with her to boost parent engagement.

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Posted by been there
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 26, 2013 at 12:44 pm

While money helps, minimal distractions like the internet/TV along with supportive parents and teachers make a big difference. Having grown up and educated in Compton,CA one learns to survive and adapt with little. It can be done

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