Oct 20, 2022
**First, thank you for all the input from those in attendance, one of the most informative / data-packed meeting that has been held in awhile.
**Does not include Budget presentations waiting on community member input!! as of Oct 25
One trustee running late, lots of community members; majority appeared to be from Optimist Club which was confirmed when Trustee Antrim stated she invited “a friend to youths”, the Optimist Club, to highlight that they donated $12,000 this month to CUSD. It appeared to Trustee Pontes and Cruz-Anderson that there would be a lot of public input due to over 45 community members and 16 staff in attendance, as well as a reporter and cameraman.
Besides lackadaisical parents and parents with low expectations, one must also blame parent’s misplaced trust, expecting the same quality public school education free of SEL and ideologies that they grew up with. The Administration and Principals share the blame that instead of focusing on basics, setting metrics, and holding teachers and students accountable for failing “to make the grade” instead blame Sacramento and say were doing great while running to restock the boys’ restrooms with tampons.
A school whose primary focus is making sure a student feels “safe, valued, and respected” will fail a great number of students in preparing them for life after school. Most community members grew up knowing respect had to be earned and were taught to respect their teachers not the other way around. We all want a safe environment but one’s value did not come from mandated respect, one’s sense of value came from achievement: in a school environment that means performing academically, athletically, and / or socially (i.e. holding leadership positions, student government) and earning accolades from respected peers and teachers.]
II. Opening statements
Both the Superintendent and Trustee Valdez-Clayton prepped the stage by ensuring the community that everything is fine within CUSD. Trustee Valdez-Clayton said CUSD is a “jewel in the South Bay” and many people “dream to attend CUSD.” “We also have reason to celebrate since Hispanics have performed better each year.” She went on to say, “People are misusing data for political platforming and we take umbrage at [sic] that.” Mueller exclaimed, “We have the healthiest budget in the past 20 years…due to the prudence of the Board.”
Community member input
Two speakers spoke on the subject of academic achievement. The most salient advice to the Superintendent, “focus on the negative not the positive.” Need to admit weak areas in order to address weak areas. Reminded Administration about being transparent and cautioned against putting lipstick on a pig.
The Union rep made a plea for teacher aides. This would be a great area for parents to help out and to help ensure the focus is on academics.
III. CHS Academic Update Highlights briefed by CHS Principal (40 min with 20min Q&A)
A. A demographic slide showed enrollment at 1041 was down 10% from a normal year 2018-2019 (1135) and Melina stated “one of the wonderful things here too is that 27% of our students are Hispanic ethnicity.”
B. Melina: “We are well above the national norm” on SAT (chart displayed 1240 for the graduating class of 22, however only 52 students took it and those would be the most competitive students). [Editor’s note: the class of 2020 national SAT mean score was 1080; the CUSD 2020 class average was 1204. Is 124 points well above? For the demographics we have, CUSD did better than expected based on national data. When weighting CUSD demographics by national demographic means CUSD should have averaged 1000, so is 204 points well above?]
C. “We took PSAT last week, so I just have PSAT data from last year, ELA is very impressive because 9, 10, 11 graders taking PSAT and so a lot of this information our students have not even seen yet.”
D. AP participation rate was lower because it was “lower nationally AND 4×4 due to student’s trepidation “over Term 1 AP course concerns.”
E. “CAASPP data, fewer students participated than in previous years” and “it wasn’t necessarily as required as last year.” “I do think we need to educate parents and students on the importance and the relevance of this data.” [Editor’s note: So, for the past 7 years you have failed to educate them on the importance and relevance.]
F. Mathematics MDTP “local assessment” 2021/22: 52/53% of kids are ready to enter IM1, IM2, and IM3, while 60% are ready to enter Pre-calc. [Editor’s note: No appreciable change since assessment first given in 2015.]
G. “Every staff member is a literacy teacher.” [Editor’s note: Although, all teachers may exercise math principles, only Math teachers teach math. Agreed, in a good school system teachers will have writing assignments in a History class, however the History teacher is not teaching “literacy”. English teacher’s need to have intensive writing and reading assignments and teach grammar. If a student cannot write or express themselves that is the teacher / English department’s fault starting at Elementary school.]
H. Suggested ongoing admiration for teacher’s not requiring compensation for clubs. [Editor’s note: The Principal sponsored (was the advisor of) No Place for Hate 2020-21.]
I. Highlighted that teachers are coming in early and offering office hours during lunch; did not necessarily link to 4×4, but may be a necessary reality given the required pace of instruction.
J. 9th graders have to take 4 classes each semester unless they can’t handle it or are involved in athletics.
K. Reported they had not performed out-of-district transcript evaluations in the past??, but are doing so now.
L. Admitted some teachers having trouble with 4×4. Pontes asked what she was doing to help teachers? to which Antrim said it is the Board that should be asking what are we going to do? “The rollout of 4×4 was a debacle!” To which she received all-around applause.
M. Coronado requirements are more rigorous than A-G requirements, but CUSD is not even meeting A-G requirements. (Cherry Picking Alert) Melina highlighted 7% increase in students graduating with A-G requirements, 65% to 72%, while ignoring in 2016 it was 80%, getting as low as 57% in 2019. Per Mellina we see an increase in students meeting A-G requirements because of counselors. [Editor’s comment: So, the decrease was because counselors were not doing their job previously?]
N. AB 8024 Seal of Civic Engagement, Antrim is on steering committee of a Civic Engagement Club. Mellina’s Goal “every student graduates with Seal of Civic Engagement”.
O. 4×4 enrollment, students taking 4 classes in 2021-22: T1 55% (580) T2 53% (570); 4×4 enrollment, students taking 4 classes in 2022-23s: T1 61% (630) T2 57% (585); 40% of CUSD high school students are taking 3 or fewer courses.
P. 9th grade requirements taking 4 classes, however, 60 9th graders are not taking 4 classes due to athletics and some students can’t handle 4 classes; 60 10th graders, and more 11 and 12 graders off-roll. Good news: some students may graduate early.
Q. (Cherry Picking Alert) Mellina said referencing the D&F data “the numbers are significantly lower.” [Editor’s note: First, this data should be presented as a percentage AND since there are fewer kids enrolled the numbers will be lower.] (Cherry Picking Alert) Mellina concludes, “Some people say it is because of the 4×4” but “we can also say it is because of counselor’s tracking, so many teachers are there at 7:30 in the morning” and “that is what has helped these numbers.” [Editor’s comment: Because of 4×4 there are fewer classes per day resulting in fewer students enrolled in classes so there are fewer opportunities to receive a D/F grade. Additionally, there is more time for a student to study. It would be more meaningful to use “The ratio of total students receiving D&F” to “Total number of courses (opportunity to receive D&F).” This indicates only a 1.5% drop in D&F from 2018-2019, 2nd Semester (324:6240) to 2020-21, 2nd Semester (172:4815).
R. Reviewed 4×4 Pros and Cons (interesting and thoughtful). -Informative brief that if the format can be tightened up (<15 minutes) and pertinent metrics are selected and defined would be very meaningful for community members and as Trustee Shepherd recommended (provide more frequently) perhaps beginning of school year, end of 1st term/semester and end of year 2nd term.
IV. Director of Learning Presentation (80 minutes with 15 minutes Q&A)
Superintendent, “Primary function is how we assess learning“
A. Reviewed Spring 2022 CAASPP (Californian Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) and reviewed assessments. Last year’s test and this year were not mandatory and a shorter test than pre-COVID. “The test was different. Not apples to apples.” [Editor’s note: the test was easier than in previous years?]
B. 20-25% mobility rate (so kids are departing out of grade level) [Editor’s note: Why? % Military transfers, job seeking, dissatisfaction with school? If relevant to the briefing explain relevance.)
C. ELA 2022 76%, however in 2015 74%, and highest was 78% in 2018/19
-CMS declining ELA 84% in 2018 to 72% in 2022
-SS and Village increasing ELA
D. Trustee Cruz-Anderson, “Our teachers are doing a fabulous job.” –Battle, “The state did not give data us claim and target level data for individual students.”
E. Local assessments: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) is new and revealed Kindergarten students are at 79% at/above benchmark, but 1st grade at 50%, 2nd grade at 61%, 3rd grade at 70%, 4th grade at 76%, and 5th grade 67%. [Editor’s note: Kids do not seem to benefit from elementary school literacy education as percentage decreased from 79% in Kindergarten to 67% in 5th grade. Based on DIBELS it would appear 3rd grade teachers are doing a better job at preparing kids for 4th grade than the rest of the teachers.]
F. But then the Benchmark Advance Interim assessment indicates 4th grade cohort did not benefit from 3rd grade with only 14% meeting benchmark [Editor’s note: How does this interim assessment compare to the past two years of interim assessments? E & F are reasons why you need someone who can analyze the data and draw conclusions, is the DIBELS assessment testing areas that are different than the Benchmark assessment?]
G. Middle School Literacy Assessment Universal Screener (New) indicates that based on Lexile score only 67% of 8th graders are proficient/advanced at reading. (Cherry Picking Alert) Battle, “#1 takeaway the majority of our CMS students will be able to access grade level information” and “second takeaway educators can “modify” curriculum and educators for students who are in basic and below basic range.”
H. High School Literacy Assessment Universal Screener: Common Literacy Inventory (New) -does not look good but allows targeting specific common core standards.
-Battle, “Celebrate CASSPP scores showed maintenance.”
I. DROP THE MIKE MOMENT: After hearing that 36% of kids did not meet math standards, optimistic audience members from the Optimist Club applauded the fact that we were #2 out of 12 total San Diego Unified School Districts. (Cherry Picking Alert) Battle, “Out of the unified districts we were 2nd in the county in Math and 1st in English, compared to those over the bridge.” [Editor’s note: There are 12 Unified school districts within the county, however within San Diego County there are 42 school districts, CUSD does not rank #1 or #2 in any Academic Area within San Diego County.]
J. Valdez-Clayton, “How do we know you are not cherry-picking data?” Non-sequitur alert: Battle, “This CAASP data comes directly from state website.” [Editor’s note: cherry-picking is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position while ignoring a significant portion of related and similar cases or data that may contradict that position.]
K. (Cherry Picking Alert) Battle, “We want to celebrate that CUSD (CAASPP Math) increased 2.8% last year coming out of pandemic.” [Editor’s note: Looking at the data, the best year to use to make comparisons is 2018/19 since Covid impacted the two following years, no test in 2019/20 and reduced participation in 2020/21. There was a negative 2.2% difference rather than a positive 2.8% difference. Even more troubling is 6th grade negative 7.4% difference and 8th grade a negative 8.8% difference. The overall weighted average for MATH CAASSP was 64.8% while 6th grade was 54.6% and 8th grade was 51.2%. In seven years of testing the highest overall MATH weighted score was 67%. The elementary schools are doing much better (VES 71% SSES 77%) so it appears CMS is hurting kid’s math success.]
L. DROP THE MIKE MOMENT#2: Mueller defends lipstick on the pig, “We have shown by grade levels that have been tested by CAASPP…what is more important to us is the local assessments…the narrative in the community that we are cherry picking data, that test scores are dismal, not fair to educators, not fair to community, not fair to parents, not fair to our students.” THE COMMUNITY MEMBERS APPLAUDED!!?? OR WAS THAT just the Trustees and ten ADMINISTRATORS that were invited to support the Board?
-Trustee Valdez-Clayton says, “We are committed to truth.”
L2. Bridges in Mathematics Number Corner Baseline: Elementary Math Assessment Baseline. Of 499 K-5 students tested in 2022, the average percentage meeting baseline (“where students should be at the beginning of the year for their current grade level”) is 46%. (Cherry Pick Alert): Battle, “The takeaway is the majority of students are right where we want them be give or take a little bit.”
M. Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project (MDTP) readiness assessment given every spring. Mentioned that teachers can adjust realtime their instruction for specific students.
N. Trustee Shepherd referencing the MDTP numbers, I notice ” a decline in readiness percentages as the group gets older. We are doing these nice tests, but I am wondering do we have a strategy to address the decline in scores at grade level?” Battle, “Increasing strategy is to get teachers to adjust instruction. We have to dig in deep sic [into the data] to make a difference.”
O. Battle explaining what she is doing to address 4×4 schedule challenges “We visited [another school] for 4 hours, we talked to teachers and asked them a million questions.“
P. Valdez-Clayton, “These focus areas tend to mirror statewide, it is not unique to our school district?”
–Battle, “I have been in education 20 years and it tends to be this way” [Editor’s note: There is no hope and no expected progress.]
Q. (Cherry Picking Alert) 2021/22 California Science Test Score increased from last year, but it is negative 2.1% from 2018/19 and a dismal 57.9% (Village Elementary School 65%, Silver Strand Elementary School 79%).
R. CUSD AP Participation Rate: 2019/20 49%, 2020/21 66%, 2021/22 60% decreasing participation matches CA and Global trends:
-20 out of 23 AP subjects exceeded state pass rates
S. Year 5 of MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support) Academic, Behavior, Social Emotional, Learning…How do we know it is working? [Editor’s note: It is not]. (Cherry Picking Alert) Battle, “It is critical and exciting work” “MTSS is alive and well and we are exciting about progress we are making.”
T. Antrim: “Address phrase we are hearing a lot and if you are seeing it in CUSD, are we seeing learning loss?” Battle said we are in maintenance, “We are not seeing significant learning loss. We are seeing an increase in social emotional learning needs.”
U. Trustee Cruz-Anderson’s takeaway: “The numbers are trending in a positive direction.”
-Trustee Pontes, “The most extensive report I have seen in my time.”
-Trustee Valdez-Clayton, “I hope that a future board is able to address Hispanic/Latino disparities. Students are smart, we are hardworking…take those factors in…and address adding in resources and money” for those situations. FUN FACT: The word “celebration” was used 11 times to describe CAASPP and Assessments results.
The assumption made by the Administration is more assessments equal improving scores. There was little to no discussion on how are / will use assessment data to improve student performance, and what tools/training for teachers is being provided to assist teachers in implementing recommendations.]
The Administration seems to think that our performance compared to other schools in San Diego County is a suitable metric. The rest of San Diego County students are diving into a 2′ deep pool and being paralyzed while Coronado students are diving into a 4′ deep pool with only some suffering serious injury.
Overall, the Board appeared more engaged than normal with Shepherd and Antrim asking probing questions. There seemed to be an awakening in which Board members realized that the generic verbal nonquantifiable bands that the State uses and can change from year-to-year that describe CASSP achievement are not good enough moving forward.
Although, the Board continued to be a cheerleader for CUSD, it was apparent that the data is lackluster. There is nothing great about average. Watching the video and listening to the language it is understandable some community members believe CUSD is putting lipstick on a pig.
Goods: 1) Recognition that a deeper dive into the data may reveal information that may help CUSD more efficiently focus resources; 2) Questions need to be posed and answered such as why is Silver Strand performing significantly better than Village in certain areas? Is it because of the military population, the teachers, the principal? Why are kids performing well in Math one year and not the next? Is it a teacher or is it the lack of definitive curriculum? 3) Recognition by Trustee Shepherd and Cruz-Anderson that California Assessments do not provide the quantifiable feedback (raw scores) useful for comparative analysis; 4) Reading programs being introduced; 5) Trustee Shepherd and Antrim forced admission of some 4×4 issues; 6) AP Passing Rates in isolation are impressive; 7) SAT mean scores for past three years are between 75-79% (in isolation this is very good)
Recommendations: 1) CHS host a Learning Pathways presentation for parents. Based on the Principal’s presentation there are a lot of learning opportunities that do not seem like standard track. Students may get briefed, but some parents may not understand CTEs, etc; 2) In particular for Math and English there needs to be downstream assessment feedback from High to Middle to Elementary and linkage to individual teachers as part of improving academic achievement / test scores; 3) If the Administration calls something a requirement, then require it. For example, “A-G requirement” and 4×4 9th grade “8 course requirement”; 4) Seek partnerships with for-profit businesses vice non-profit agenda-driven organizations (i.e., Inclusionado, SafeHarbor, EmeraldKeepers) for realworld internship experiences; 5) If the Administration cares about true assessment instead of excusing PSAT scores because 9 and 10th graders may not have seen all the testable material, break it out by grade; 6) On Local assessments like CommonLit ELA include percentiles by scaled scores, it is more useful, great news if CHS is above National raw score, not so great if only by a few % points; 7) Do not use D&F metric or modified it: D&F is a troubling metric because it may compromise teacher’s grading system. The assumption is that there is a correlation between student achievement as measured by grade and teachers; Although true for 80% of the data, it is not necessarily true for outliers, students who are either extremely bright or not bright/do not apply themselves. Outliers (kids who historically perform at the D/F level) should be removed from this list otherwise you risk compromising teacher grading integrity. Bottom line can’t put much value in this as an indicator of successful students nor successful teachers; 8) Explain Assessment tools to teachers and parents, especially one that has been used for 7 years, either MDTP CPM is not linked to curriculum or teachers are not teaching curriculum?; 9) In light of segmentation of data already by race, national origin, disabilities, recommend a breakout of data with non-special instruction and non-second language students. It is more challenging to assess school success nationally by including factors that may not be found elsewhere nor is it fair to teachers; 10) Establish an SAT goal based on percentile and not how many points we are above the national mean. Everyone understands being at the 90% percentile / top 10%.