Irv Moskowitz declared poor reading the enemy.
During his five years as superintendent, Denver Public Schools won some battles and literacy skills went up.
The war continues. Reading remains a top challenge for the next superintendent.
Other issues for the new boss include:
* Boosting achievement overall and with minorities in particular. Ten of 11 grades improved on standardized tests last year. But only four grades scored above the national average.
* Black and Hispanic students consistently score 20- 30 percentage points lower than their Anglo classmates.
* Just over half of Hispanics graduate. Hispanic students make up half of the district’s 66, 000 students.
* Improvement on new state standards. Last year, only 19 percent of fourth-graders passed the writing test and 32 percent passed in reading. Forty-six percent of third-graders passed the reading test. These are some of the lowest scores in the state.
* Better relations with Hispanic families and neighborhoods.
* Sensitively carrying out a new bilingual program that stresses learning English over mastering two languages.
* Finding better ways to educate students from lower-income homes; they make up two-thirds of the enrollment.
* Improve efforts, particularly in low-income areas, to reach out and get parents involved in education.
* Making school governing committees more relevant to their schools. The committees are active in only two-thirds of the 111 schools.
* Maintaining programs for higher-achieving students such as the gifted and talented.
* Keeping millions of dollars flowing for teacher aides and other support for reading instruction.
* The emerging trend of parents wanting kindergarten through eighth-grade schools instead of separate middle schools.
* The growing desire for longer school years or at least a year-round calendar.
* The need for more arts education.
* Managing the construction of nine new schools, major improvements to two dozen and projects at many others paid for by a $305 million bond issue passed in November. Voters also approved a property tax hike of $17 million for classroom programs.