In the Last Column of the 2016 School Year Dr Katie McNamara delivers her "Address to Parents" on Students Progress
May 18, 2016 05:52PM
By Paul Spear
In the Last Column of the 2016 School Year Dr Katie McNamara delivers her "Address to Parents" on Students Progress!
Dear SBUSD parents, guardians, and community members,
Last year, South Bay Union finalized our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), which describes how we intend to meet annual goals for all students, with specific activities to address state and local priorities. The LCAP represents the work of several stakeholder groups, including certificated staff, classified employees, administrators, parents, students, and community members. As our school year concludes, I am proud to share the progress we have made on two of our four LCAP goals.
Goal 1 – Learning and Achievement for All
Today more students than ever are succeeding in more rigorous classrooms, developing the kinds of knowledge and skills that will help them succeed in middle and high school as well as college and careers. We have been very serious about promoting the use of 21st Century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, communication and creativity. Today:
· Chromebooks are used every day all day by third through eighth grade students.
· The rigorous Common Core State Standards are implemented in every classroom with more engaging instructional practices.
· Workshop Model Studio Classrooms are in place with focus areas that include reading, writing, mathematics, and inquiry.
· Classrooms and school libraries have more books.
Focus on Reading at Grade Level and Enjoying Reading
We are on a mission to guarantee that all students will read at grade level by third grade and beyond. Our schools have been phasing in the use of a reading assessment and teachers have been receiving training to strengthen the teaching of reading. One of our schools assessed every student in reading and after four months 14% more students were at grade level. Another school assessed every student and four months later 20% more students were at grade level. Next year every school will be tracking reading growth and achievement three times each year. To learn to read, children have to have opportunities to read and read a lot! We have been pouring books into classrooms and school bookrooms. Every classroom received at least 175 books to add to their classroom library collections and schools received over 1,500 books for school bookrooms that can be shared by classroom teachers as a rotating part of their collections. While we are tracking student progress about achievement, our greatest hope is to create an environment in which children fall in love with reading and see reading as so enjoyable that they want to read for the rest of their lives.
Goal 2 – Positive School Culture for All
In order to support school culture, we hosted Dr. Anthony Muhammad at our District Kick-off Event in July. Dr. Muhammad is recognized as one of the field’s leading experts in the areas of school culture and organizational climate. We were fortunate to have Dr. Muhammad remain after the Kick-off Event to work with a smaller group of school leadership teams. Dr. Muhammad returned to the District several times this year to continue this work. In addition, school culture has been an area of focus at Instructional Leadership Team with teachers and Leadership and Learning meetings with site leaders.
All sites have established goals to focus on improving school environments to make them more welcoming and attractive for students, families, and the community. Our Facilities team is continuing the installation of electronic marquees at all sites, and several of our schools improved playground areas with new equipment, shade structures, and benches this year. Additional campus upgrades are planned at schools during summer break.
Action: Positive Behavior Supports
A new Student Support and Accountability Coordinator is in place, working directly with site teams to create and implement positive behavior support for students, including restorative practices. We increased the number of School Psychologists by three this year to provide individual and small group counseling support.
As the school year ends, we say goodbye to some of our sixth graders and all of our eighth grade students. We are so proud of these students and we wish them continued success! We are also saying farewell to sixteen retiring staff members. We thank these employees for their dedication and wish them the best in their future endeavors.
I hope you have a wonderful summer break. Thank you for your support this year! I look forward to another great year in 2016-2017.
Katie McNamara, Ed.D.