12/6 Highlights: K-8 at Montalvin, Peres, Verde

Click here to see WCCUSD’s minutes from this meeting.

Welcome to Board Watch for WCCUSD’s December 6th Board of Education meeting!

This week, our board members are scheduled to hear a presentation from on K-8 expansion at Montalvin, Verde, and Peres Elementary Schools. The board is also scheduled to hear an update presentation from Partners in School Innovation on the work being done with the Kennedy family of schools. Lastly, district staff are scheduled to report on Local Indicator submissions to the California Department of Education’s School Dashboard.

Click here to see the full meeting agenda.

1. K-8 Expansion of Montalvin, Verde, and Peres Elementary Schools

Discussion Item F.2. The current finalists for transitioning from K-6 to K-8 campuses are Peres, Montalvin, and Verde.  Each school site will be working to add Grade 7 next 2018-2019 school year and Grade 8 in 2019-2020.  These three sites are said to have met criteria shared with the Board previously. The district has worked with the principals at each site and engaged the school communities; there appears to be significant interest in having students remain on the elementary campus beyond their 6th grade year.

There are no significant facilities investments anticipated for next school year, as Montalvin, Verde, and Peres each has unoccupied classroom space available. Additional space may be needed to accommodate the full K-8 enrollment for the following 2019-2020 school year.  Overall, the short-term fiscal impact will be small with possible investments in professional learning for staff and the possible addition of an Assistant Principal, depending on overall student population at each site.

DATA IN ACTION: There is no presentation accompanying this update on the proposal to transition sites from K-6 to K-8. Since no presentation was shared, we give this K-8 Expansion update 0 out of 42 points or an overall “Basic” rating according to our Strategic Use of Data Rubric. 

Given the significant nature of such a transition, it would be appropriate to offer the public and board members with greater insight into key information that contextualizes the current recommendation. These areas, as named in the Strategic Use of Data Rubric, include:

  • Clear goals, targets, timelines, responsibilities, and dependencies
  • Alignment of goals and targets to data grounded in analysis
  • Clear evaluation plan for monitoring progress to goal
  • Outcomes from existing K-8 district schools to justify program expansion
  • Long-term financial plan to account for construction that will likely need to occur during the next fiscal year 2018-2019 to account for needed classroom space in 2019-2020. These costs must be transparently shared and incorporated into short-term financial planning.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Without a presentation to accompany this significant update, community stakeholders do not have adequate information and opportunity to engage in dialogue and come forward to discuss support or concerns with the board. This transition has long-term financial and enrollment impact on the feeder middle schools that will no longer receive these 7th and 8th grade students. There is also potentially a facilities impact, given that many other schools have been long awaiting construction. All of these considerations should be clearly stated with corresponding proposals to mitigate negative impact.

Additional questions we have are:

  • What criteria was used to determine K-8 site eligibility and selection?
  • How did each site perform against the criteria?
  • What is the data regarding parent / community interest? For example, how many families were interviewed and interested in a K-8 transition? What were the narratives and reported factors on why families prefer / do not prefer a K-8 site transition?
2. Update Presentation from Partners in School Innovation focused on Kennedy Family of Schools

Discussion Item F.1. Partners in School Innovation will provide an update of the organization’s work to date with the Kennedy family of schools. Partners’ work has two tiers of support: Coronado, Grant, Wilson, Stege, and Kennedy are one tier called Transformational sites, while DeJean, Nystrom, King, and Lincoln are another tier called Intensive sites. Check out the presentation to understand the work at each tier, and successes and obstacles to date.

3. Presentation on the Local Indicators of the California School Dashboard 

Discussion Item F.3. The California School Dashboard, our state’s new school quality and accountability system that seeks to meet both federal ESSA and state Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) requirements, is now fully populated for the first time. The first set of state level indicators was released last year.

The second layer of indicators, known as the Local Indicators, are now released. These seek to use localized data to deepen understanding of the experience and achievement of our students, and include critical measures such as parent engagement and school climate. District staff are scheduled to present to the board on the Local Indicator areas being submitted to the California Department of Education’s School Dashboard. The other local indicators are Basic Conditions—certificated teachers, sufficient textbooks, and facilities in good condition—and Implementation of Academic Standards. The table below connects the state and local indicators to each of the eight state priority areas under the LCFF law.

DATA IN ACTION: We appreciate a look at the state’s current thinking around the multiple measures that are needed to understand the progress of students. We hope having multiple indicators will support parents in understanding how their child’s school is serving students and to adequately guide decision-making at the board level to improve outcomes.

Our partners at Public Advocates have provided the following insights regarding our district’s presentation to the board on the Local Indicators.

“In terms of timeline and process, the district was supposed to report the Local Indicators to the Board before inputting them into the California School Dashboard by December 1st. Strictly speaking, the district is reporting that it met the standard, which includes reporting to the governing board, before it actually did so. In terms of stakeholder input, to our knowledge there was none on this subject. While stakeholder input was not required, we cannot imagine reporting on parent engagement and school climate without consulting with parents, students and teachers.

  • In terms of Priority 1, Basic Servicesthe district reports 26 instances of facilities not meeting the “good repair” standard. According to the latest School Accountability Report Cards, however, 29 of the district’s 52 schools were not in “good repair” as of July 2016. Parents and students can look up their school here: https://www.wccusd.net/Page/837
  • For Priority 2, Implementation of State Academic Standards, it is concerning that the district is still in “initial implementation” of the English Language Arts (ELA) and Math Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which includes providing professional development and instructional materials aligned to the Common Core curriculum frameworks. As we are now in our fourth year of Common Core implementation, it is urgent and critical that the district share its plan for implementing all state standards as a link in the Dashboard.
  • In terms of Priority 3, Parent Engagement, the results reported to the board are based on hearing from less than 10 percent of parents. Therefore, the results are unreliable as a representation of the whole district and should be disaggregated by school site for a clearer, more accurate representation of parent engagement.
  • In terms Priority 6, School Climate, the student survey results leave much to be desired. For instance: only 1 out of 4 high school students feel there is one or more adults that care about them at school; less than half of middle school students experience high expectations at school; and less than half of 5th graders feel a high degree of school connectedness. The district did not analyze these results, as required.

We think the local indicators are a tremendous opportunity to bring attention and care to critical conditions of learning. We look forward to the district engaging stakeholders next year to support continuous improvement on these critical local measures.”

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