News

Pleasanton school board talking new student assessment model

Also: Call for more school funding, elementary ed specs, copier replacement

The Pleasanton school board is set to discuss a new student assessment model to be possibly implemented in local schools Tuesday night.

The proposed model, called MAP (Measurement of Academic Progress), is aligned with state standards and would reduce teacher workload and the number of current assessments administered at the elementary level, according to district staff.

No action will be taken Tuesday night, with the board focusing on a staff presentation and board discussion. Trustees are expected to vote on whether or not to approve MAP system at the Feb. 27 board meeting.

MAP offers a variety of benefits, according to Pam VandeKamp from the district's assessment and accountability department in a staff report.

The system, she said, clearly aligns with Pleasanton Unified's "Response to Instruction and Intervention" model, a tiered process that dictates how teachers should support all students to meet state standards.

MAP also functions as a "universal screener for intervention, enrichment and measuring student academic growth," VandeKamp said, and its Computer Adaptive Assessment component can be used as a prototype for CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress), the state's official system of assessments established in 2014.

The proposed system would also decrease teacher workload, VandeKamp said, with a more streamlined testing process throughout the school year, along with the elimination of some of the assessments at the elementary level.

And finally, VandeKamp said, MAP "provides useful analysis for diagnostic, formative and summative assessments through reports at multiple levels."

Staff proposes that MAP be implemented in the 2018-19 school year, with a district-wide "Early Adopters" pilot program starting in March 2018.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the district board room, 4665 Bernal Ave, following closed session at 6 p.m.

In other business

* Trustees will consider approving a resolution urging the State Legislature to increase education spending.

The resolution is part of a joint effort by school boards across the state asking that funding for California's public schools be "at the national average or higher by the year 202, and at a level equal to or above the average of the top 10 states by 2025," according to Superintendent David Haglund, who prepared the resolution.

The resolution critiques the fact that California ranks 45th nationally in the percentage of taxable income spent on education, despite having the sixth largest economy in the world and the largest Gross Domestic Product of any state in the U.S.

"California trails the average of the top 10 states by almost $7,000 in per-pupil funding," Haglund noted in the resolution.

* The board will receive the report for the second review on elementary educational specifications, which specify the physical requirements that educators and other stakeholders believe is necessary for a proposed educational facility. The specifications apply to both new construction projects and facility modernization programs.

Staff presented the first review of the elementary ed specs to board members at the Jan. 30 meeting, and, pending board discussion, will bring the finalized version back for approval on Feb. 27.

* Trustees will receive a report on and discuss a draft of committee bylaws for the Board Audit Committee.

* The board will consider approving a resolution establishing an "order of seniority" for certificated employees in cases of staff reductions, specifically in cases where two employees began working on the same day and a "tie-breaker" needs to take place.

Along with the criteria, board members will consider an official list of certificated employees, organized by seniority -- the list ranges from counselor Karen Barberio-Kitts, who began working for Pleasanton Unified in September 1979, to Lydiksen Elementary teacher Diana Orton-Johansson, who started a few weeks ago.

* The board will consider approving a resolution to eliminate 14 literacy coach positions in the district. The eliminations would not impact the budget, according to staff, because the employees would continue working for Pleasanton Unified in different positions.

* Trustees will consider approving the copier fleet replacement project, which would involve the replacement of the district's 47 multi-function devices, and the implementation of four new devices and UniFLOW print management software, through a contract with the Ray Morgan Company.

Staff estimates that the project would save the district nearly $74,000 over the course of the 60-month lease.

* The board will consider approving a new Graphics digital printing press to replace the current one.

* Board members will consider a resolution that would release all temporary certificated employees, as required by state law on an annual basis.

However, many of the temporary teachers are either rehired for the following school year or allowed to interview for open positions.

* The board will consider approving the 2018-19 instructional calendar.

* During closed session, the board will discuss public employee appointments for director of child nutrition services, director of special education and executive director of fiscal services. The board will also discuss an unspecified case of public employee discipline/dismissal/release.

Also during closed session, board members will confer with the labor negotiator regarding discussions with the Association of Pleasanton Teachers and the California School Employees Association. Additionally, the board will confer with legal counsel on a case of anticipated litigation.

Comments

2 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Feb 13, 2018 at 11:16 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

Sigh, I hate to be the one to kick this one off.

But where in the world did they come up with a name like “Response to Instruction and Intervention”? Such bureaucratic speak really does not give me much confidence that they take this seriously.

Assessment is hard. The tests are unfair and poorly supported through research. The decisions are still capricious. The system is still slow to identify and correct errors when they have misplaced students.

I’d like to feel a little bit of confidence that the district is really trying to do better. But the staff report and the naming hadn’t given me that feeling.


6 people like this
Posted by Instructional coaches going away
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2018 at 11:45 am

Ahmadi eliminated interventions like Barton reading and reading specialists.

I'm not sure that the terminology is correct because didn't Pleasanton eliminate interventions like Reading Specialists and replace them literacy coaches whose job was to coach the teacher into working harder and teaching better?

So are these Ahmadi failures - the so-called literacy coaches - going to disappear --- "The board will consider approving a resolution to eliminate 14 literacy coach positions in the district. The eliminations would not impact the budget, according to staff, because the employees would continue working for Pleasanton Unified in different positions."

Are the literacy "instructional coach" positions going away and are they going to be replaced by Reading Specialists who pull students out in small groups to conduct real intervention?

And when will the entire class time and staggered start/end times going to end?

And isn't it time to eliminate math instructional coaches and have real math intervention like small group pull outs or push ins to help children behind in math?


2 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 13, 2018 at 8:15 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

How about establishing an order of performance instead of seniority for staff reduction considerations. Performance should dictate staying.....staying should not dictate staying.

Try to pass a tax when you’re considering asinine resolutions like that one.


2 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 18, 2018 at 8:36 pm

I currently work in a district that has had MAP for several years and I do NOT recommend it! It does nothing to decrease teacher work load and is not an accurate representation of student levels. This is a computer based test that our students start taking in kindergarten! They don’t even understand some of the questions and click randomly. I previously taught fourth grade and it was just as bad. Students don’t take it seriously and skew the data. The level of questioning adjusts based on how the student does on the previous question but it doesn’t elemenate other tests that teachers give that gives a more clear representation. I hope for the sake of students and teachers, Pleasanton does not adapt this program!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Bad Idea
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
20 hours ago

I wish parents who put as much energy question this move as the math pathways debate. This is another terrible idea. PUSD made a HUGE mistake years ago when they let go of Reading Specialists. PUSD had mandated testing, OARS, for years; it was horrible and useless. The new reading programs and CAASP were to replace OARS, yet here comes another "disjointed" assessment. There were no public meetings nor were all teachers involved in this decision. Our students don't need 6 more assessments on top of the assessments their teacher give. This is K-12!!


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