She highlighted the district’s efforts to turn around struggling schools but cautioned more work remains to be done.
“Our transformational strategy is gaining ground in improvements in graduation rates and student performance, however significant achievement gaps still exist,” she said.
APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen addresses reporters after Friday's State of the District Address . Vanessa McCray/AJC
She highlighted Georgia state test scores that she said showed only 32 percent of students in grades three through eight are proficient readers and only 30 percent are proficient in math.
The data also indicates about 80 percent of white students are proficient in those subjects, compared to only about 20 percent of African American students, she said.
“It is a 60 percentage point gap,” Carstarphen said, noting the disparity is linked to socio-economics and poverty. “We need to do more to move our performance for African American and Hispanic students and children who are living in poverty. And we also want to insure that high-performing students still remain in scoring position.”
The superintendent was introduced in pep rally fashion, preceded by a back-flipping cheerleader and accompanied by drummers. The event featured plenty of sports puns, skits, video segments, and student dance and music performances.
At last year's event, Carstarphen joined students in a riff on a rap song from the hit musical "Hamilton."