The Board approve as usual the consent agenda with little discussion. On the consent agenda was a $3600 registration fee for 8 administrators and counselors to attend an educational lobbying group, ACSA, Lead with Pride: Out! summit May 4-6 in Oceanside, CA. This is the latest initiative the district is embarking on as they become the parent to your emotionally damaged child…concerning themselves with your student’s sexual orientation…because that is not weird.
Trustees provide update on pandemic response and academic achievement, and voted to establish the permanency of two new roles implemented last year: The Public Information Officer and Director of Special Programs.
The trustees spoke highly of the value the roles brought to the district. For the 2021-2022 school year, Shane Schmeichel served as the Director of Special Programs, and Maria Simon as the Public Information Officer.
Schmeichel reportedly doubled CUSD’s grant funds in the short time he has filled the role, tapping into new resources for the district. Schmeichel reports purchasing and reading “Grading for Equity”.
President Valdes-Clayton emphasized that the roles bring stability and continuity to the district, which may be especially valuable with the Board election approaching in November.
The Board’s motion to remove the temporary label from the roles included an obligation of the Board and Superintendent to better articulate the positions before September 30.
“Using multiple measures for assessing student achievement is critical,” said Dr. Battle, Director of Learning, who cited that there are 33 required state metrics for the district to measure and grade itself annually. She explained that to improve student outcomes on summative assessments, like CAASPP testing, teachers need tools to measure where students are coming into the year, and how to get them to grade level standards or above, with checkpoints to track their progress.
Battle introduced the assessment tool, CommonLit, as a useful way to measure student academic progress. With a pre-test and a post-test, CommonLit gives insights into student learning and progress from grades 9-12 in English and Language Arts. “CommonLit starts with an assessment,” she said, “and identifies the point of instructional need, materials and strategies to address the challenge.”
Covid funds were used to implement CommonLit among all CHS students.
According to Battle, the CommonLit report shows a snapshot of where students are. Teachers can use these reports to identify the strands where students are performing at a percentile that is high, medium, low, or very low. From there teachers may employ certain high-impact strategies depending on what the data says, such as reciprocal learning, for example. “The toolbox is vast,” she said, “and teachers can narrow it down depending on what their kids need.” Battle also reported the use of similar strategies for subject areas other than English and Language Arts.
Community members were also able to engage in the conversation around post-pandemic academic achievement at the board’s community forum held on Tuesday, April 26. The topic will continue to be a monthly agenda item to keep the subject a top priority. “I feel a critical piece to all of this is communication,” said Mueller, “and how we are articulating to our community how to digest this.
“Test scores were going up, and then as a result of the pandemic, they went down,” continued Mueller. “When you’re looking at a three year trend, that is what happened during the pandemic, but there’s more to that story. I’m looking forward to working with community members who have expressed interest in that.” Abridged from Sarah Steindel article.