Students Crave A Sounding Board - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Students Crave A Sounding Board

October 6th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Students Crave A Sounding Board

By Noemy Esparza-Isaacson

Guest Writer

Sitting at Peixoto coffee shop in downtown Chandler, next door to my favorite restaurant Charm Thai Cuisine, and the place is bustling with activity. Downtown Chandler is alive. The buzz of conversation, flow of ideas and passionate debates form the soundtrack to the words that I write to you now.

I love Chandler. I love living here, enjoy being a Chandlerite and love our active community. I see people from different backgrounds, young, retired, artistic types, academic types, people on their way to work, moms holding their babies, young professionals and their BFFs, buddies sharing a coffee before heading out to a hike or work, potential business partners discussing their next big idea.

What does this scene have to do with education? Well, everything.

Our school district is the district of choice, meaning that families have many choices when it comes to schools. Traditional academies, college prep campuses, advanced middle schools, online academies and performance academies are just a few of the choices.

Our students’ school choice is reflected in our residents, businesses and initiatives. There is a constant ebb and flow, push and pull of energy. Our city is an organic living entity.

Several factors determine our involvement in our city: our upbringing, our values and our education. Future graduates will weave themselves into the fabric of our city and build their lives and careers. They will contribute to the growth and progress of our community. Our children’s education will determine their path.

There are many exciting things happening on the educational landscape in Chandler. We have a 93 percent graduation rate. That is excellent, well above the state average, but we need to get it closer to 100 percent. This is a difficult task.

I was present at the last school board meeting where 2017-2018 district metrics were reviewed. In summary, students in CUSD scored in the top 20 percent of all Arizona districts across all grade levels and continue to meet and exceed grade level proficiency goals.

Our district graduation rate is close to 93 percent and our dropout rate is less than 2 percent. Our future graduates show continued increase in college readiness. Parents that are heavily involved in their child’s education, students that persevere and take advantage of the opportunities available to them and teachers that foster those students have helped to achieve these promising results.

However, we cannot lose focus on students that need the most help: the 7 percent that did not graduate, the students not meeting their grade level proficiency. How can we help them persevere when they face the greatest of challenges?

Perseverance as defined by Webster is a “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering : steadfastness.” In order to persevere students need outlets.

In a high-pressure and high-expectation environment, students crave a sounding board for their concerns and the lows. The board and the district are tasked with the responsibility to ensure that all CUSD students have the absolute best education possible.

As a district, we also need to provide opportunities to be creative.

It is my firm belief that the reintegration of the arts in the district’s curriculum in conjunction with our current focus on science, technology, engineering and math can help students strike a balance, spark creativity and innovation, foster entrepreneurial aspirations, broaden graduates’ career choices and help them to be part of the vital community I see around me.