Log out
My profile and settings
My bookmarks
Comment history
Please complete your account verification. Resend verification email.
today
This verification token has expired.
today
Your email address has been verified. Update my profile.
today
Your account has been deactivated. Sign in to re-activate your account.
today
View all newsletters in the newsletter archive
today
You are now unsubscribed from receiving emails.
today
Sorry, we were unable to unsubscribe you at this time.
today
0
0
Back to profile
Comment Items
You have not left any comments yet.
title
in reply to
name
description
Saved Posts
You haven’t bookmarked any posts yet.
“Failure, of course, is about the last thing people would associate with Nike today.”
read review
Become a Gates Notes Insider
Sign up
Personal Information
Title
Mr
Mrs
Ms
Miss
Mx
Dr
Cancel
Save
This email is already registered
Cancel
Save
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
Cancel
Save
Address
Cancel
Save
Email and Notification Settings
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
On
Off
Send me Gates Notes survey emails
On
Off
Send me the weekly Top of Mind newsletter
On
Off
Email me comment notifications
On
Off
On-screen comment notifications
On
Off
Interests
Select interests to personalize your profile and experience on Gates Notes.
Saving Lives
Energy Innovation
Improving Education
Alzheimer's
Philanthropy
Book Reviews
About Bill Gates
Account Deactivation
Click the link below to begin the account deactivation process.
If you would like to permanently delete your Gates Notes account and remove it’s content, please send us a request here.
Outside the box
A humanist approach to teaching kids
I recently met a school superintendent who has some creative ideas about how to help students.
|
0

Education is one of the most challenging areas our foundation works on. There will never be a medicine that guarantees every child has access to a world-class education or a vaccine to prevent kids from dropping out. Each district has unique needs, and a good idea that works in one school might be difficult to scale across the entire system.

Melinda and I have evolved our thinking about education over the years, but one thing we remain committed to is innovation. I try to meet regularly with teachers and administrators in the field who have creative ideas about how to make school systems work for every child.

I recently had an insightful conversation with one of these big thinkers: Jorge Aguilar, the superintendent of the Sacramento City United School District. Although this is only his first year running his school district in Northern California, he’s already making a real difference in the lives of his students.

Jorge’s approach as an educator is shaped by his personal story. His parents were migrant farm workers from Mexico, and he split his childhood between a small town in California and his family’s hometown. When his senior year of high school came around, his parents didn’t know enough about the U.S. system to help him apply to college. He didn’t even know how community colleges differed from universities until a representative from the University of California visited his school.

Today, Jorge uses data to make sure kids like him don’t slip through the cracks. Twenty percent of the students in the Sacramento school district are still learning the English language, and approximately 70 percent are classified as low-income—two groups that are particularly at risk for falling behind academically. Jorge helped develop an early-warning system that looks at attendance, behavior, and academic records to detect kids who are more likely to drop out. His district also uses national college acceptance data to create recommendations for seniors about where they should apply.

“Data can keep you very human as long as you remind yourself that every numerator, every denominator is the face of a child,” he told me. “There’s just so many ways in which we can use data for this idea of making our work more human and taking a humanist approach.”

Jorge is also a big believer in what he calls an “opt-out philosophy” (it has nothing to do with opting out of tests). If a student excels at a particular subject, she gets automatically enrolled in college prep and other classes such as Advanced Placement. If she’s falling behind, the school signs her up for additional winter or summer classes. In both cases, parents must sign a form saying they don’t want their child to participate if they want to opt out.

He first implemented this approach in his previous job with the Fresno Unified school system. Jorge knew from the data that more Fresno students could benefit from extra instruction than were currently enrolled in summer school. Before the program, the entire district would see only four or five students sign up every year. After switching to an opt-out system, an impressive 18,000 students attended summer classes. He is now implementing a similar program in Sacramento.

I hope that eventually no child will need remedial instruction to succeed in the classroom. Until that day comes, I’m glad more students are getting the help they need. It’s too early to tell if Jorge’s approach is working in Sacramento, but I’m excited that he’s willing to try something new. I can’t wait to see the results.

Meet more of my heroes in the field

Read this next
NEXT
Comments
posting ...
Please verify your email in order to make comments. Click here to resend verification email
Sorry, duplicate comments are not allowed. 
Sorry, that HTML is not allowed. 
Sorry, something went wrong. 
In order to comment you must be a Gates Notes Insider. Please sign up or log in to continue. 
Be the first to leave a comment.
Comment Locked
Comments more than 2 months old are locked. For more information, contact us.
Report
Delete Comment?
Deleting this comment will remove replies to this comment by you and others as well. This action cannot be undone.
Delete Comment
Why do you want to report this comment?
It's annoying or not interesting
It's abusive and/or vulgar
It's spam
Report Comment
Your report has been submitted.
Close
Save
Cancel
Thanks for visiting the Gates Notes.
We'd like your feedback. Yes, I'll take the survey No thanks
Become a Gates Notes Insider
Join the Gates Notes community to access exclusive content, comment on stories, participate in giveaways, and more.
SIGN UP
Already joined?
Log in
Logout:


Become a Gates Notes Insider
Become a Gates Notes Insider
Join the Gates Notes community to access exclusive content, comment on stories, participate in giveaways, and more.
Already joined? Log in
LOG IN
SIGN UP
Use your social account:
Or sign up with email:
Title
Mr
Mrs
Ms
Miss
Mx
Dr
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Why are we collecting this information? Gates Notes may send a welcome note or other exclusive Insider mail from time to time. Additionally, some campaigns and content may only be available to users in certain areas. Gates Notes will never share and distribute your information with external parties.
Bill may send you a welcome note or other exclusive Insider mail from time to time. We will never share your information.
Sign up
We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign Up FAQ. By clicking "Sign Up" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
Street address
City
postal_town
State Zip code
administrative_area_level_2
Country
Data
Gates Notes Insider Sign Up FAQ

Q. How do I create a Gates Notes account?

A. There are three ways you can create a Gates Notes account:

  • Sign up with Facebook. We’ll never post to your Facebook account without your permission.
  • Sign up with Twitter. We’ll never post to your Twitter account without your permission.
  • Sign up with your email. Enter your email address during sign up. We’ll email you a link for verification.

Q. Will you ever post to my Facebook or Twitter accounts without my permission?

A. No, never.

Q. How do I sign up to receive email communications from my Gates Notes account?

A. In Account Settings, click the toggle switch next to “Send me updates from Bill Gates.”

Q. How will you use the Interests I select in Account Settings?

A. We will use them to choose the Suggested Reads that appear on your profile page.

BACK
Forgot your password?
Enter the email you used to sign up and a reset password link will be sent to you.
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Reset Password
Reset your password.
Set New Password
Your password has been reset. Please continue to the log in page.
Log in
Get emails from Bill Gates
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
On
Off
Email me comment notifications
On
Off
On-screen comment notifications
On
Off
This email is already registered
Finish
We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign up FAQ. By clicking "Continue" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
You're in!
You're in!
Please check your email and click the link provided to verify your account.
Didn't get an email from us? Resend verification email
Upload a profile picture
Choose image to upload
Uploading...
Uh Oh!
The image you are trying to upload is either too big or is an unacceptable format. Please upload a .jpg or .png image that is under 25MB.
Ok
Title
Mr
Mrs
Ms
Miss
Mx
Dr
Cancel
Save
This email is already registered
Cancel
Save
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
Email and notification settings
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
On
Off
Email me comment notifications
On
Off
On-screen comment notifications
On
Off
Select your interests
Saving Lives
Energy Innovation
Improving Education
Alzheimer's
Philanthropy
Book Reviews
About Bill Gates
Finish
Confirm Account Deactivation
Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?
Deactivating your account will unsubscribe you from Gates Notes emails, and will remove your profile and account information from public view on the Gates Notes. Please allow for 24 hours for the deactivation to fully process. You can sign back in at any time to reactivate your account and restore its content.
Deactivate My Acccount
Go Back
Your Gates Notes account has been deactivated.
Come back anytime.
Welcome back
In order to unsubscribe you will need to sign-in to your Gates Notes Insider account
Once signed in just go to your Account Settings page and set your subscription options as desired.
Sign In
Request account deletion
We’re sorry to see you go. Your request may take a few days to process; we want to double check things before hitting the big red button. Requesting an account deletion will permanently remove all of your profile content. If you’ve changed your mind about deleting your account, you can always hit cancel and deactivate instead.
Submit
Cancel
Thank You! Your request has been sent