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St. Paul superintendent looks to expand preschool, close achievement gaps

February 23, 2018
Josh Verges
Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Preschool expansion and boosting the achievement of students of color and English language learners are on Joe Gothard’s agenda as he approaches his second year as superintendent of St. Paul Public Schools.

Gothard on Thursday evening outlined a draft framework for the strategic plan that will guide the school district over the next five years.

Unlike his predecessor, Valeria Silva, who redrew attendance zones and closed and reorganized schools, Gothard is focused on what’s happening inside the classroom.

“This plan is going to focus on teaching and learning. This is not an infrastructure plan,” Gothard told the school board.

The draft identifies six long-term outcomes he hopes to achieve:

  • Ensure all graduates are ready for college or careers
  • Improve eighth-grade math scores
  • Improve third-grade reading scores
  • Eliminate achievement disparities among racial groups
  • Increase achievement of English language learners
  • Increase kindergarten readiness