Dr. Arlotto Has Provided Skilled, Supportive Leadership Through Time of Big Change

Posted by Melvin Edwards on 5/24/2018

As our Board of Education considered the reappointment and, on May 16, approval of a new contract for Superintendent George Arlotto, I began to think about how I would characterize his first four years at the helm of Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

I landed on three simple words: skilled, supportive leadership.

Dr. Arlotto has overseen incredible growth in our school system, both in terms of the number of students and the number of programs we offer those students. In Dr. Arlotto’s first year as Superintendent, the 2014-15 school year, AACPS served 79,518 students. Next year we are projected to serve 84,494, an increase of nearly 5,000 students.

We have completed the rollout of our final two middle school STEM magnet programs at Central and Lindale middle schools, and rounded out the high school magnet programs with the full development of the Bio-Medical Allied Health magnet program at Glen Burnie High School.

At the elementary level, the innovative and highly successful Enhancing Elementary Excellence (Triple E) program – which offers cutting-edge educational opportunities to our youngest learners and affords elementary teachers with precious additional planning time – is now in place for nearly 14,600 students at 31 schools. We plan to add to that in the fall with the addition of nine schools in the Annapolis cluster, affording approximately 3,500 more students with this exceptional, creative outlet.

Through it all, Dr. Arlotto has been a solid and steady rudder, steering the AACPS ship on sometimes choppy waters.

While there is much more work to be done, we have seen progress in our quest to Elevate All Students and Eliminate All Gaps as well. Our graduation rate has risen nearly 1 full percentage point in the last four years, but the decrease in the gap between African-American and white students has nearly quintupled that, closing by 4.7 percentage points. 

The percentage of second-graders reading at or above grade level, a key focus in our elementary curriculum, has risen by 5 percentage points since 2015, when we began Fountas and Pinnell diagnostics. The proficiency rate for African-American students, however, has risen by nearly 9 percentage points, and the gap between African-American students and white students has narrowed by 3.4 percentage points.

At the high school level, the percentage of students with scores of 3 or higher on Advanced Placement exams has risen by more than 4 percentage points overall, with the gap between African-American and white students shrinking by more than 5 percentage points in that time.

Dr. Arlotto has also been a stalwart through many changes that cannot be measured by mere numbers. He oversaw successful implementation of our Teacher-Principal Evaluation system, where all teachers and principals focus on the completion and fulfillment of data-driven Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) which are used in part to calculate their ratings. He has guided our school system through the onset of new College and Career Readiness requirements, a new state assessment program (PARCC) and newly approved state accountability system (ESSA), a new quarterly assessment structure, a new cum laude honors system recognizing thousands of graduates, several new curriculums and online assessments, and our focus on District 203, which embraces the philosophy that all AACPS schools and offices will employ equitable practices and provide a positive, welcoming place for all students, families, and employees to learn and grow.

In addition to working closely with Board members, he has also forged critical working relationships with the County Executive, County Council, the City of Annapolis government, the county delegation to the General Assembly, and business and community groups. Those efforts have served our students well, and will continue to do so.

At a time of much uncertainty in school systems across the state, Dr. Arlotto’s leadership has been calm, caring, consistent, committed, and compassionate toward our students, our employees, our parents, and our community. He is the right leader for our school system, and we are proud to have him on board for at least four more years.

 

Julie Hummer is president of the Board of Education of Anne Arundel County. She can be reached at jhummer@aacps.org.

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