Special task force discusses education goals

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Leaders with Richmond City schools say they aren't satisfied with how students are performing. They want to see better grades and a higher graduation rate.

Monday, a special task force met to outline the plan to give students a better education. The group met to talk about several education needs in the city.

The main focus is making sure schools have the resources they need give students a quality education. They outlined a long list of goals which are still in the beginning stages.

Task force leaders say the graduation rate is not high enough, neither is the number of students in advanced classes. The superintendent and her administrative team met with task force members to discuss solutions.

"I think it's an excellent step in the right direction here," said Task Force Co-Chair Eva Hardy. That's why the task force, comprised of leaders from the business community, discussed a five-year strategic plan. It offers a long list of improvements.

Some include: a tougher curriculum with more advanced and AP classes, a higher graduation rate, more math and science classes, expanding athletics and sportsmanship, and better technology for parents and students to connect with teachers.

"This is supposed to be a working plan, not one that sits on the shelf, so we revisit it all the time in order to make sure our district and our school reaches its goal," said Richmond Schools Superintendent, Dr. Yvonne Brandon.

Brandon wants to keep good teachers and principals by offering performance incentives. Teachers still haven't received a raise in four years. The task force is ready to expand an accountability program called "Balanced Score Card." It tracks progress. Parents can go online to find out more about topics ranging from student absences to graduation rates.

"The truancy rate is something I've always been concerned about because I think that leads to a lot of other issues out side of school that impacts the school," Hardy added.

It's just one issue Hardy says she'd like to see the task force tackle so the plan can be implemented as soon as possible.

The special task force will have a chance to review the goals before the next meeting May 9.

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