New School Superintendent Embraces Theme of Accountability - 8 News NOW

New School Superintendent Embraces Theme of Accountability

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LAS VEGAS -- New Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky is set to begin his first school year in the top job and he's reorganized his executive team - a move he says will bring better student achievement.

Skorkowsky sent out a news release earlier this month announcing a top-level reorganization. It seemed familiar because former Superintendent Dwight Jones sent out a very similar news release two years ago.

Will this latest reorganization make any difference for the students?

Skorkowsky said this time, his five new deputies will face new levels of accountability. In fact, count the times Skorkowsky mentions "accountability" in just one answer.

"I will be holding those people in charge of the work streams accountable and the board and the community can hold me accountable for that work," Skorkowsky said. "It is a very clear system of accountability. It's not nebulous. It's not saying, well, we want everybody literate by the end of third grade. That's a great concept. But we have to have specific targets to get there and I have to be held accountable, as well as every teacher, administrator and academic manager and the chief of student achievement. "

As if to hammer the point, the superintendent added five more mentions of accountability in our 10-minute interview.

"I think it's focusing in on accountability for me," Skorkowsky said.

Accountability faces several obstacles to creating student improvement. Unions continue to fight efforts to make it easier to fire underperforming teachers. While the legislature and the governor agreed to pay for early elementary class size reduction, high schools remain packed as ever.

"Would I love to have class size reduction at every level? You bet," Skorkowsky said. "Are we ever going to get there? I can tell you we talked about a plan back in the spring where we sat down with the administrators union, the teachers union at the beginning of the legislative session, saying, we need this, we need to bring our class sizes down. This is what it will cost, it's important that we get to that. If you want me to deliver results, I've got to have time for teachers to act with individual students."

On the theme of accountability, Skorkowsky says this will be the first full year of the district's new "Discovery Education System." It's meant to give parents constant access to their student's classroom performance.

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