Special guest Charles Ogletree, Harvard constitutional law professor for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, was recognized and gave a presentation discussing the ongoing movement for racial equality.
The MBHS Mambo Orchestra led by Mission Bay High grad Jean-Paul Balmat, played during a musical interlude at the special board meeting.
McQuary, the current SDUSD board president, represents Sub-District C, which includes schools in the La Jolla, Mission Bay and Point Loma Clusters, as well as some charter schools, including a couple of other schools in the Clairemont area.
McQuary opened his presentation noting quality neighborhoods are built around quality schools in Sub-District C in district. SDUSD is California's second-largest school district with more than 130,000 students from culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds.
“San Diego Unified is rich in diversity with students from 162 countries speaking more and 70 different languages and dialects,” said McQuary. “Ninety percent of our students were born in the United States, but 10 percent were born outside the country, one-third of those from Central, South American and Asian nations.”
SDUSD's board president noted the district “goes the extra mile to unlock and nurture the potential of each student.”
Stressing that the world is becoming increasingly more international, McQuary noted SDUSD schools, especially those with International Bacclaureate programs, as well as language magnet schools like Barnard instructing students in Mandarin Chinese, are “preparing students to take their place in the global economy. We want to fulfill our promise of preparing every student we serve for the future in college, a career or civic engagement.”
Noting SDUSD has come far, Marten noted, “From this vantage point, I can see we're not all the way there yet.” She however pointed out that the district has made great strides in cutting drop-out rates and accommodating English as a second language students.
“Our language-immersion programs value diversity and culture,” Marten said. “We support each and every one of our students to become better global citizens.”
Marten said SDUSD has halved, from 8,000 to less than 4,000, the number of its students who are not proficient in English.
SDUSD takes its educational role seriously said Marten. She thanked district faculty and staff for making the system “sustainable” along with honoring “our sacred commitment and vows to the communities we serve.”
The superintendent said the district acts as “unifiers bringing our communities together.”
“I care about what's possible, not just what's wrong,” Marten added.
Since its founding on July 1, 1854, SDUSD has grown from a small, rented school building with one teacher to its current size — more than 226 educational facilities with 13,559 employees. Nearly 6,000 teachers are in classrooms at the district's various educational facilities, which include 117 traditional elementary schools, nine K-8 schools, 25 traditional middle schools, 24 high schools, 49 charter schools and 14 atypical/alternative schools.