http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2013/03/08/school-board-reviews-steps-being-taken-to-boost-grades


Pleasanton Weekly

News - March 8, 2013

School board reviews steps being taken to boost grades

District failed to meet 5 out of 38 goals imposed by No Child Left Behind

by Glenn Wohltmann

The Pleasanton School board received an update on the district's plan Tuesday night that addresses its federally imposed mandate to boost grades for some students.

The district has to file a document with the state Department of Education by the middle of March on how it is meeting goals to improve scores for English and math for socio-economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities, and boosting the graduation rates for disabled students.

"There's nothing new in this plan, it's just a recap of what we already have in place," noted Board Member Joan Laursen.

Valley View Elementary and Pleasanton Middle School were placed on the state list of program improvement schools a year ago because some students didn't make the cut under increasingly tough standards imposed under No Child Left Behind.

The document notes that the district is implementing Common Core State Standards and has hired instructional coaches for the 2013-14 school year. The district is, among other things, conducting instructional rounds, with teachers stepping into classrooms to observe other teachers, and is doing benchmark assessments, short tests administered to give teachers immediate feedback on how students are meeting academic standards.

Scores have already begun to climb. Poor readers at PMS have jumped for 25 out of 34 students who were put into a special program called "Read 180," and an after-school intervention called "Language for Learning" has been initiated for Spanish speakers and poor readers at Valley View.

Those schools aren't the only ones that could end up in program improvement, due to increasingly tough standards laid out under NCLB. Lydiksen and Alisal elementary schools are working to improve scores for students with poor reading and math skills.

Failing to improve could trigger a series of increasingly serious interventions for schools that remain in program improvement. Those interventions begin with revising a plan for the school and giving parents the option to transfer their students to other schools, with the district providing transportation.

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