Kyrene School District officials on Tuesday, Feb. 14, will unveil the result of a massive four-month audit that analyzed virtually everything connected with its quality of education.
The audit is so extensive that governing board President John King has moved up its meeting to 6 p.m. at the district office, 8700 S. Kyrene Road, Tempe.
Among its key findings is that “significant achievement gaps..in the performance of non-white, economically disadvantaged and special education students.”
It also found deficiencies in a broad range of areas, from curriculum and resource allocation to student assessment and long-range planning.
The audit is essentially the springboard for Superintendent Jan Vesely’s plan to radically redesign middle-school education to improve students’ academic performance, make them more self-reliant and give them greater freedom to pursue studies in areas that interest them.
It also will provide more intensive intervention for students struggling academically and will make grading and academic programs more consistent among all six middle schools.
The audit scrutinized the district’s policies, organization, curriculum, budgeting, facilities “and other factors that contribute to the optimization of the school district,” Vesely said.
One of the thrusts of Vesely’s reorganization is a decentralization of the district’s central administrative staff to put more muscle into classrooms. That will result in the shift of an estimated $2 million in payroll to schools.
That focus is part of Vesely’s earlier pledge to “focus organizational efforts and align resources to ensure all students are college- and career-ready and achievement gaps are closed.”
The audit included over 180 one-on-one interviews with district personnel at all levels, 25 focus groups that included parents and community members, 400 survey results, visits to 250 classrooms across all 25 schools in the district and a review of more than 700 documents, Vesely said.
Vesely said she has already taken other measures to address deficiencies identified in the audit.
“I presented to the governing board several initiatives that addressed expansion of our early-education options, creating of an International Baccalaureate program in Kyrene Middle School, expansion of the Kyrene Traditional Academy to pre-k-8 and a redesign of our middle school program,” she said.
King said parents and other interested citizens will have an opportunity to make comments and ask questions after the audit’s findings are unveiled at Tuesday’s meeting.