LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Alberto Carvalho paid his first school visit Friday since being named the new superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
“I’ve received nothing but the warm welcome from this great city of Angels,” Carvalho told reporters in a news briefing.
Carvalho visited several classrooms at Elysian Heights Elementary School, at one point even sitting down and painting with students. An open supporter of the arts, parents are hopeful Carvalho will bring change.
“More focus on schools in need, more focus on schools that don’t have resources and access to physical activity, to music, to art,” parent Brooke Niss told CBSLA.
The 57-year-old Carvalho was chosen unanimously last month by the LAUSD Board of Education to succeed Austin Beutner, who stepped down last June.
Carvalho has been the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools since 2008. It is the fourth-largest school district in the nation, while LAUSD is the second-largest.
“I’m here for the benefit of the youth of this community in a very inclusive way, leaving no one behind,” Carvalho said.
Carvalho said his first priority is addressing the pandemic and ensuring what was a tough time for so many families doesn’t cost children their education.
“Students who were already in a fragile condition academically speaking, socially emotionally speaking, socio-economically speaking, in terms of linguistic proficiency, students with disabilities, have lost a lot of ground,” Carvalho said.
He said other priorities include ensuring his teachers and staff feel valued, graduation rates, and addressing socio-economic differences within the district that can affect learning.
“We are in a school in a part of the community where economic conditions have changed dramatically in a short period of time,” Carvalho said. “Recognizing that and recognizing the economic necessity in this community.”
As every child now maneuvers the pandemic protocols that have become habit, Carvalho acknowledged that COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon. He praised the practices in place to keep these gates open and children in the classroom.
“A big challenge will be our ability to be nimble in navigating an ever-changing landscape,” Carvalho said.
Carvalho will officially move to L.A. in February and begin his new position in March.