At its October 4, 1999, meeting, the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) Board of Education cited Dr. David P. Meaney, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools, as a "champion" of the school district. Joining Dr. Meaney as a co-champion was Dr. Alice Furry, Director of the Packard Reading Lions Center, operated out of the Sacramento County Office of Education as a resource for reading programs in 27 school districts throughout the state.
SCUSD Board President Jay Schenirer, joined by Board member Karen Young, announced that Drs. Meaney and Furry were being honored for their "very significant contributions to the increased achievement of district students." Through the efforts of Dr. Meaney and Dr. Furry, they said, numerous reading improvement programs have been implemented within the Sacramento City Unified School District – including the nationally known Middle School Reading Demonstration Program at C.M. Goethe Middle School in South Sacramento. The Goethe Middle School eighth grade cohort (those Goethe students who were seventh-graders in 1998 and eighth-graders in 1999) improved their reading performance by 14 percentile points, the second-highest gain among all California schools receiving Middle School Reading Demonstration Grants from the California Department of Education.
David Meaney and Alice Furry also were instrumental in securing funding through The David and Lucile Packard Foundation which enabled Sacramento City Unified School District to introduce and accelerate its reading improvement program. Results recently released by SCUSD showed impressive gains made in reading by students, notably 2,400 more elementary level students reading at or above grade level within the district. Sacramento City Unified School District second and third graders showed a 12.5 percent gain in reading achievement, as contrasted with a statewide average of 3.5 percent. SCUSD students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades showed an improvement of 5.0 percent (1.6 percent statewide). Additional Packard Foundation funding is allowing the district to make substantial site improvements at Pacific Elementary School.
In accepting his plaque of recognition, Dr. Meaney applauded the leadership role played by SCUSD Superintendent Dr. Jim Sweeney, saying that Sacramento City Unified is becoming "the shining light of California" in school achievement. He pointed out that a video outlining the district's success can be seen on the County Office of Education Website. Dr. Meaney also mentioned that of the 114 specific programs and services provided by the County Office, 102 of them are utilized by Sacramento City Unified School District. Dr. Furry similarly noted the national attention being given to SCUSD for its accomplishments, deeming this a time "to celebrate the teaching that is going on in this district."
Goethe Principal Cathy Bardo addressed the Board, issuing her thanks for the daily assistance of Drs. Meaney and Furry and their staff at her campus. Joining Bardo in showing support was Lynne Tafoya, Principal of Fern Bacon Middle School, who said, "Without this inspiration, guidance, and vision, Fern Bacon would not have a successful reading intervention program." Kathi Cooper, SCUSD Learning and Literacy Administrator, summed up the contributions of David Meaney and Alice Furry by saying, "They have been with us from the start of this strategic reading improvement campaign. They helped us shape our vision, and have assisted us with every step of our elementary, middle, and secondary reading programs."
The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) plays a leadership role in the delivery of quality education to the more than 210,000 students enrolled in Sacramento County public schools. SCOE supports area schools and students by (1) operating special programs and schools for more than 30,000 children and adults; (2) providing direct fiscal oversight of the county’s 16 school district budgets representing more than $1.3 billion; (3) providing leadership for the county’s school districts in high priority areas such as reading, mathematics, technology, and school safety; (4) providing leadership in organizing regional approaches to the delivery of educational programs and support services that eliminate duplication of effort and provide economies of scale savings to school districts; and (5) expanding programs and services to students in Sacramento County by aggressively seeking and securing grant funding. Its administrative office is located on Lincoln Village Drive in Sacramento, with Business Services, Personnel, Special Services Administration, and Education Programs/Regional Occupational Program situated in buildings at the former Mather Air Force Base. SCOE teachers and staff serve students at schools and worksites throughout Sacramento County, as well as providing training, technology support, school leadership, job development, and other resources to districts, administrators, students, parents, and community members.
Additional information about the Sacramento County Office of Education is contained within the recently published 1999 Annual Report and Directory of Services, available by calling SCOE at (916) 228-2417.