Coming Out of the Pandemic, Education Leaders Come Together to Identify Common Problems and Identify Potential Solutions and Resources that Can Support Stockton Students

[March 30, 2022] Stockton, CA – Today, the University of Pacific hosted the 2022 Education Summit, presented by Kaiser Permanente. Growing out of the Beyond Our Gates Convenings previously hosted by the University of Pacific, the summit is a one-time opportunity planned in partnership with San Joaquin County and Stockton leaders from local school districts, non-profits, business, advocacy, and government to reflect on lessons in K-12 education emerging from the pandemic.

“As the largest university in Stockton, we know it is imperative to play a leading role in how we support our local communities and schools,” shared Mary Wardell-Ghirarduzzi, Vice President for Diversity Equity and Inclusion at the University of Pacific. “It is an honor to host this education summit and to serve as a convener and supporter for our K-12 leaders.”

The summit agenda included opening words from Wardell-Ghirarduzzi, followed by an overview of education in the region featuring voices of local leaders, including a contribution by America’s Got Talent Winner Brandon Leake, followed by a data walk and facilitated discussion about what local data shows about student learning outcomes in San Joaquin County, and what solutions community members can bring forward to close gaps.

Data shared at the summit showed that from 2015-2019, prior to the pandemic, students in San Joaquin lagged behind the California state average in key learning metrics such as reading and math proficiency, A-G completion rates, and had higher rates of suspension on average than the state. Local and national data show that fewer students attended schools during the pandemic and that remote instruction created even wider learning gaps between disadvantaged students and their peers than those that persisted even prior to the pandemic.

“It has been a dream come true to gather all of us together to begin to address education from cradle to career,” shared Bruce Roberson, Former Lincoln USD educator and Education Chair of the Stockton NAACP.  “Many of the learning gaps we analyzed today have been present for many years, particularly for our black and brown students. I hope we can use this conversation as an opportunity to shift from looking at this as a problem and instead looking at the great potential our students have. All of us can do something to cultivate the potential of our students, so let’s continue to convene throughout our community over the next few years and work together to identify common solutions.”

Facilitators at the summit also shared information with participants, noting that the federal government will be sending over $500 million in stimulus dollars to the five largest school districts in San Joaquin County over the next three years, which is more one-time money than districts have received during any other period in modern history. In a survey conducted in 2021, local non-profit San Joaquin A+ found that San Joaquin County parents want engagement and transparency around the federal dollars. In fact, 77% of parents said it was important for local stakeholders like parents and teachers to have a seat at the table in conversations about how money is spent.

“In surveys we conducted throughout the pandemic, community members said they wanted a seat at the table,” noted Don Shalvey, CEO of San Joaquin A+ and University of Pacific Trustee. “We are so grateful to the University of Pacific for providing an opportunity to do just that. In addition to wanting more transparency around spending, parents also shared that they are ready for change in their schools, and we hope a productive conversation like this can help our school leaders be responsive to those needs.”

About University of the Pacific

Founded in 1851 as the first chartered institution of higher education in California, University of the Pacific prepares students for professional and personal success through rigorous academics, small classes, and a supportive and engaging culture. Widely recognized as one of the most beautiful private university campuses in the West, the Stockton Campus offers more than 80 areas of study in 10 schools and colleges. The university’s distinctive Northern California footprint also includes its San Francisco Campus, home to the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and graduate programs in health and technology fields, and Sacramento Campus, home to the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and the School of Health Sciences as well as graduate programs in education and public policy. Pacific offers more than 30 graduate degrees and three first-professional programs, with a number of programs offering accelerated options for attaining a graduate or professional degree. For more information, visit

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