SAVANNAH, Ga. – In her first “State of the Schools” address, Savannah Chatham County Public School Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett spoke to a crowd at New Hampstead High School to lay out the past, present and future of the district.
With less than two weeks until thousands of Chatham County students return to class, Levett spend time going over the hard numbers of her district to a room full of teachers, staff and community members. With more than 38,000 students and 5,600 employees operating on a budget of more than 500 million dollars, Levett talked about high points and areas of weakness for SCCPSS.
She also thanked staff, including bus drivers, for their efforts during Hurricane Matthew.
On the topic of transportation, WSAV spoke to Levett about the start of school with many raising concerns about transportation. Last year SCCPSS began solely managing public transportation for their students.
“We not only have enough drivers but we have extra drivers this year so. We also had the opportunity to bring many of our drivers back so instead of people fumbling around trying to find their way we’ve had people who’ve been driving,” Levett said.
When asked about the school’s responsibility for advocating against crime, Levett told WSAV raising students of good character is a shared responsibility.
“So we focus on our six hours. So we are not going to ignore the fact that we must partner with homes, with families, with other youth serving agencies, because the bottom line is we only serve one segment of that child’s day,” Levett said.
Levett also revealed SCCPSS will be starting a new Balanced Literacy Initiative where she is calling on community members to donate one million books for students of all ages.
“Some children don’t have a personal library at home. We want to make sure they have an opportunity to read and read all the time. We take it for granted. We read by magazines, whatever we want, we want them to have that same opportunity. We want to increase our access to books. Then we want to promote reading in the family,” Levett said.
During her presentation, Levett spoke on the 11 struggling schools in the district but she affirmed her commitment to help ting them succeed while also telling the room she is also here to advocate and encourage all school in her district.
Most schools are set to start August 3.