Thirty days in, Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard is already making drastic changes to the
Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard is in the process of re-evaluating the RCSD, and he already has many goals. One, and maybe the most important to him, getting the right people here in the central office.
Brizard says, “We need talent at the classroom level, at the leadership level of the school building, the central office level...”
Finding and hiring people who understand the root of the problems in city schools could be the biggest and most expensive challenge facing the new superintendent. He says the district spends 70 percent of its funding on people. And he wants a staff who will implement the plans...and ideas...he's been working on since he was appointed.
But he's not doing it alone: he's been meeting with principals to discuss, among other issues, student suspensions.
"Sending a child home for 180 days or three months because of running around a stage or because they were in one fight is not a solution to the problem," says Brizard.
Last year alone, the school district reported a total of 11,000 suspensions. That includes some repeat offenders. But Brizard says that's going to change.
"Right now we are reviewing and every single one that comes into this office, I sit with my staff and we go student by student, but I can tell you in some places in our district it's become our only strategy."
Brizard says his strategies will be based on data. For example, he wants to know how many students are passing and failing in different areas of the curriculum before he takes action on improving the graduation rate. Which he says he has plans to do for members of this year's graduating class...
"Talking very specifically about where we're going to have centers and after-school programs for Regent preparations, for making up of credits. We're going to ask the community to help us push that information, making sure the kids are coming," says Brizard.
Brizard hopes to share his plans and goals for reform with the community by the end of March.
Wednesday on News 8 Now at Six, part two of Brizard's interview. We ask him how he plans to improve the safety of students in his schools.