Lancaster School District Improves Under Superintendant Rivera’s Leadership

March 20, 2012

Business to Business Magazine (Lancaster, Pa.) featured Pedro Rivera, Superintendent of the School District of Lancaster, March 1. Before taking on his current role, Rivera served Philadelphia public schools in many capacities for more than 13 years. Rivera, who earned a School District of Philadelphia Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility from Arcadia in 2005, is the only Latino superintendent in Pennsylvania’s 501 public school districts. He is also the first in his family born in the United States as well as the first to graduate from college, as reported by contributor Bill Simpson.

[H]e brought his leadership instincts to Lancaster in 2008, and under his guidance, the district has seen important improvements in its test scores and on its balance sheet. For example, during the 2010–2011 school year:

  • 9 of 13 elementary schools met their adequate yearly progress goals, a number which is the highest ever.
  • The middle schools met 90 percent of all state goals, which include all subgroup areas related to ethnicity.
  • The high schools met 86 percent of the required target areas, which is an increase from 48 percent just 3 years earlier.

These increases in performance have come in a district in which the most basic learning tool is actually a learning obstacle for many students. "English is a second language for 21 to 22 percent of our students, and they have many different levels of English knowledge.”

Puerto Rico is the offshore point of origin that sends the most students to SDL schools, but the foreign country with the second largest representation will probably come as a surprise to many Lancastrians. "Nepal is our second largest country represented. Many of those students come from refugee camps. Some of them haven’t had any formal schooling since the fourth grade, but they embrace education. Last year, we had our first Nepalese student go to college.”

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