As students prepare for their final days of summer, the superintendent at one of the area's most embattled school districts outlines her plan to turn things around. Albany School District Superintendent Dr. Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard calls its her 2020 Vision. YNN's Megan Cruz reports.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- "I hope you've had a rejuvenating break because the kids are coming," exclaimed Albany Superintendent Dr. Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard.
Before the 8,600 students fill the classrooms next week, staff from all 15 schools within the Albany City School District filled the high school for a lesson from Dr. V.
"There's a lot of hope in the city school district of Albany," she said. "But hope without strategy will result in disappointment, disillusion, and worse, apathy."
She calls her strategy the 2020 vision. Dr. V believes it'll raise the district's graduation rate from 52 percent. She said it has a lot to do with supporting the staff.
"How is your leader to help you if we haven't clearly defined the expectations?" she asked.
Dr. V said state grants have often dictated the district's curriculum. Parents have noticed it, too.
"There's a disconnect from what your 3rd grade teacher is doing and your 4th grade teacher is doing, between elementary and middle, between middle and high school," said School Board President Alexandra Jane Streznewski.
That's why Dr. V says going forward, school leaders will clearly define what's expected of the staff and students.
"This is the first time we have a very focused mission, a very focused purpose, a very clear plan of action," Albany School of Humanities Principal Fred Engelhardt. He said he's impressed by the change that's already taking place.
"We're regularly meeting with Dr. V as principals, principals are regularly meeting with teachers," noted Engelhardt.
There is some skepticism because it has been an uphill battle for some years now, but faculty and parents remain optimistic.
"I think people are going to be pleased," said Streznewski. "It's not going to happen in a month, but it is going to happen."
"2020 is excellent vision, and we're going to get there," said Dr. V.
For more details on her 2020 vision, head to www.albanyschools.org.