Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Student achievement plan on agenda for school board meeting

(Originally published in the 11/17/15 edition)

   The school board will vote to approve the Single Plan for Student Achievement for Benicia High School and Benicia Middle School at Thursday’s meeting.
   The SPSA is put together by School Site Councils to develop goals to support the academic performance of all students. Each site team will study state and local measures to track progress and create a plan that works best for each school. The SPSAs for the district’s four elementary schools were approved at the Oct. 15 meeting, and now it will be Benicia Middle and Benicia High’s turns to outline their respective goals for student achievement.
   BHS has identified four goals: developing a system of rigorous data to implement effective student interventions, providing a work environment that supports staff and values excellence, promoting appropriate technology to enchain students’ learning opportunities and ensuring that communication with students, parents, staff and the community is timely, professional and service driven. 
   To help implement the first goal, Site Council staff would like the number of students passing the California High School Exit Exam to increase by 3 percent and Early Assessment Program scores to increase by 5 percent. According to a report prepared by the high school, 36 percent of the students who took the EAP in 2014 did not demonstrate readiness for college-level English and 28 percent were not prepared for college-level math. Additionally, 43 percent of the special education students who took the CAHSEE’s math exam did not pass, and 21 percent of economically disadvantaged students did poorly on both the English and math portions. 
   The report suggested offering implementations to help students succeed on these exams, including the provision of after school English and math labs and an integrated math support period with a companion class.
   To implement the second goal, the plan is suggesting full attendance at staff and department meetings because a 2013 staff survey indicated that only 54 percent of faculty members “feel they are part of a collaborative environment that encourages reflection and analysis of the teaching and curriculum decisions.” 
   For the third goal, the plan aims to increase the faculty use of existing school technologies and make sure there is a baseline standard.
   For the fourth goal, 64 percent of participants in a 2013 faculty survey indicated they were not properly informed about school developments and 35 percent of respondents to a 2013 parent survey said they did not get updated information about their child’s academic achievement. To help realize this goal, staff would have to establish an email and communication protocol, and parents would have to become more involved in student programs like band or athletic boosters.
   Benicia Middle School’s goals are for students to increase both their literacy and math proficiency on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress by 10 percent, to increase parental and community partnerships through awareness and community engagement and to improve infrastructure to provide a learning environment that offers opportunities for 21st century teaching and learning.
   In other business, the board will hear an update on Measure S bond projects and consider the approval of a new mental health clinician for the district.
   The board will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19 in the Benicia Unified School District Board Room at the district building on 350 East K Street. There will be an earlier closed session at 6 p.m.


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