Trustees hear Waggoner Elementary plan for student achievement

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Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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During the Nov. 3 Board of Trustees meeting, Winters Joint Unified School District site administrators presented their individual School Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). 

Acting Superintendent Phoebe Girimonte gave an overview explanation of what SPSAs are and how they work, saying, “SPSA is a comprehensive document that outlines how the school will utilize its funds to meet the needs of students. It includes goals they have set collaboratively with staff and the site council, and it connects to our local control and accountability plan.” These SPSAs were developed in conjunction with input from staff, parents, and students, lays out goals that each site will hope to accomplish by the end of the year.

According to Girimonte, each SPSA is drafted and updated annually, but the pandemic upset the typical schedule, and as a result, there will be SPSA in this part of the year as well as at the end of this school year, which will get the district back on its regular schedule.

Waggoner Elementary School Principal Travis Nelson-Ortiz presented his site’s SPSA to the Trustees. Nelson-Ortiz shared a summary of the goals the school developed to be accomplished by June 2023, of which there were three. 

The first goal is to have kindergarten through second-grade students “meet the end of the year benchmarks in a variety of assessments that we have, which is the BPST (basic phonics skills test), our BRI basic reading test, and our i-Ready and i-Ready Math.”

The second is Waggoner will establish positive behavior interventions and support Tier One framework, and have a social/emotional learning program in place.

The third goal is to have each grade level at Waggoner review the essential standards for ELA “which they chose last year with our new staff, and then the grade level teams will identify the essential math standards, and then begin working on creating formative assessments for the essential standards.”

Nelson-Ortiz laid out the school’s strategies and activities they will use to achieve the three goals.

For the first goal, Nelson-Ortiz noted Waggoner’s designated reading interventions and ELD differentiation blocks for each grade level, as well as the school’s plan to have all staff participate in professional development in the areas related to the assessments listed.

For the second, Ortiz said the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support team will attend development programs to help in their creation of a Tier One framework handbook.

And, for the third goal, the school will be implementing a Wednesday Professional Learning period for teachers to review ELA standards and essential math standards, as well as having two teachers per year participate in a language learning development program. 

Nelson-Ortiz next explained the Annual Measurable Outcomes for meeting each goal, which includes the baseline statistics for where each goal is currently, along with a corresponding “expected outcome” that describes where the SPSA will work the students towards. 

The first subgoal is a subset of goal one, the Basic Phonics Skills Test (BPST). Nelson-Ortiz said the first baseline of the BPST goal is in May 2022, 48.7 percent of kindergarteners and 61.2 percent of first graders met the End of the Year Benchmark for the BPST. The corresponding expected outcomes by June 2023 is to have 75 percent of kindergartners know all 52 upper and lowercase letters and all 23 letter sounds, and 50 percent of kindergartners meet the BPST benchmark. While 55 percent of first graders meet the BPST benchmark and 70 percent of second graders meet the BPST benchmark.

Each subgoal of goal one has similar specific statistical improvement plans, such as the Basic Reading Inventory (BRI) baseline of 67 percent of second graders meeting BRI benchmarks with the corresponding expected outcome of 50 percent of second graders meeting or exceeding their benchmarks, and i-Ready Math baseline of 54 percent of first graders at mid or above grade level math skills corresponding to the expected outcome of 55 percent of first graders at the grade level benchmark on the i-Ready assessment.

Goal one also had a subsection for addressing achievement gaps between different groups of students, including between English Learners and Non-English Learner students, with the expected outcome of reducing each gap to 10 percent.

Goals two and three laid out structural changes school staff will make, with goal two being the creation of a Positive Behavioral Interventions Support (PBIS) team and goal three being the creation of new curriculum standards. 

Regarding goal two, Nelson-Ortiz said the expected outcome is by June 2023 “staff will have created a rules/expectations matrix,” that includes social-emotional tools and information, and that “PBIS lessons will be created and taught for each area of the school.”

Goal three’s expected outcome is by June 2023 to have each grade level review the essential English Language Arts and selected the essential Math standards already chosen by staff. 

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