Pleasanton school board to review highs and lows of math placement results

Also: Measure I1 funds for furniture and HVAC upgrades, trustees to consider new Budget Subcommittee

Results from the ninth-grade math placement program will be up for discussion at Tuesday’s Pleasanton school board meeting, where the trustees will receive an annual report and update from district staff.

Another update on the secondary level math cohort for teachers and administrators will also be presented to the Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening.

The math placement program aims to “establish a fair, objective and transparent protocol that serves students entering grades 6-12”, and make sure students are placed in appropriate level math classes.

Nearly 40 staff members, including special educators, have been actively participating throughout the school year in the math workshop cohort sessions, which are co-hosted by a secondary math integration specialist and the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative.

Among all students grades seven to 12, ninth-graders improved the most last year at passing algebra 1 on their first attempt. Freshmen students enjoyed an 8% increase in successfully completing the course compared to other grade levels, according to the district program report.

The passage rates for students in all grades increased to 91% for the 2017-18 school year, a 4% increase from the 87% threshold in 2016-17. However, 10th-graders this past school year saw a 32% decrease in students passing algebra 1 their first time.

Overall, more students are enrolled in honors mathematics courses this year than last.

PUSD trustees will discuss these findings at their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, in the district office boardroom at 4665 Bernal Ave. starting at 7 p.m.

In other business

* Trustees are also poised to potentially green-light $350,000 for new instructional materials for AP Macroeconomics, AP Psychology and AP U.S. History. The one-time cash infusion covers hardbound textbooks as well as online access to digital curriculum until 2026.

* Other big-ticket purchases on the agenda this week include the purchase of new furniture for classrooms at Lydiksen Elementary School, where a pilot furniture program was implemented this past summer.

If approved, more furniture will be ordered throughout the district for all “newly opened elementary classrooms only.” The fixtures would be paid for by Measure I1 bond revenue and delivered just before the 2019-20 school year. Outfitting each classroom will cost $16,500 to $21,000.

* Pleasanton Middle School could receive a facelift this year if the board authorizes a contract for $653,213 to replace the aging HVAC system in eight buildings on campus. Most of the work would be paid for using $553,733 of Measure I1 revenue, and deferred maintenance funds would cover the rest.

* Trustees will also consider how to spend a $456,462 grant from the California Department of Education. The one-time fund must be used by Nov. 1, 2021, and serve “pupils identified as low-performing on state English language arts or mathematics assessments.”

The board has until the end of the month to develop and submit a plan to the state for how the money will be used to improve the students’ academic success.

* The formation of a Board Budget Subcommittee will be explored; if approved, the group would have oversight of the district’s budget, financial priorities and give policy guidance and make recommendations to the school board. The subcommittee would include trustees Mark Miller and Joan Laursen, with Steve Maher serving as an alternate.

* Five of the six Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee members are set to serve another two-year term. The board will vote on the reappointments at the meeting.

* A prior closed-session at 5:30 p.m. will cover an expulsion case, labor negotiations and the hiring of a technology coordinator.

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Like this comment
Posted by Jill
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Feb 11, 2019 at 8:15 pm

"However, 10th-graders this past school year saw a 32% decrease in students passing algebra 1 their first time."

Is the 32% decrease really correct or is that at typo? Something went very, very wrong with the 10th graders if that's accurate.

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