At the Oct. 19 school board meeting, the principals of Benicia Unified School District’s three secondary schools delivered the Single Plans for Student Achievement for their schools, which were unanimously approved by the board. Now the board is in the process of hearing from the elementary school principals, but unlike in past years where all four elementary principals would present their plans, the board will instead hear presentations from two at a time. This Thursday, the principals of Joe Henderson and Robert Semple elementary schools will go over their goals.
In her planned presentation, Henderson’s new Principal Melanie Buck highlighted three goals for the school, which are all aligned to BUSD’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) goals. The first objective is to have the number of students meeting or exceeding the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s English Language Arts portion from 61 to 68 percent by June 2018. Buck wrote that the previous year’s goal of having 100 percent of all kindergarteners through second graders show growth in the area of literacy was not met, as only 77 percent in this range met or exceeded the standards in this category. Likewise, Buck noted that achieving the same level of growth for third through fifth-graders was not met either, with 72 percent meeting or exceeding the standards, although this was an increase from the 71 percent at this level in the 2015-16 school year.
Within this first goal, Buck noted that the school was going to focus on increasing the number of students in the following subgroups meeting or exceeding the standards on the SBAC’s ELA test: English Language Learners, African-American students, students with disabilities and socio-economically disadvantaged students.
Another aim for Henderson, Buck wrote, is for the school to increase its number of students meeting or exceeding the SBAC’s math portion from 64 to 70 percent by June, particularly for the four previously identified subgroups. As with the previous goal, Buck noted that the previous year’s goal of having 100 percent of students showing growth in math was not met, with 75 percent meeting or exceeding grade-level standards on the end-of-the-year Benchmarks, and 64 percent doing the same on the SBAC.
When setting the goal,” Buck wrote,”the following must be considered: To help prepare for the SBAC, and for progress monitoring utilizing district benchmark data in grades K-5, our site will monitor the District Benchmark levels every trimester. We will have a site goal of increasing overall K – 5th grade percent of students proficient from 75% to 80% on the BUSD benchmark assessments.”
Henderson’s third and final goal is a two-parter: implement Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) strategies and move to the Tier 2 level by August 2018, and increase attendance percentage by 96.38 to 96.75 percent. Buck noted that the previous year’s goal of enabling 80 percent of staff, students and parents to identify and demonstrate an understanding of PBIS rules through team PBIS team surveys, parent surveys referral rates questionnaires and observational data was partially met. A parent survey was never submitted, but 100 percent of staff could identify PBIS rules while 73 percent of students could identify at least two or three.
Buck wrote that the school would continue to monitor PBIS practices in all areas of campus, review data at monthly meetings and study individual students with ongoing behavioral needs to see if data trends have demonstrated improvement after the implementation of PBIS.
Semple’s goals, as presented by Principal Christina Moore, were mostly similar to Henderson’s. The school would also be working to increase the percentage of students meeting math standards from 48 to 53 percent, and ELA standards from 44 to 58 percent. For the first goal, all grades the previous year meeting or exceeding the standards had increased, except for kindergarteners and third graders, which both showed a slight decrease. For the second goal, all grades had shown increases except for fourth grade.
Semple’s third goal was also PBIS-centered. The school is striving to reduce the number of office referrals and suspensions from 11 to no more than six through reinforcing PBIS principles. Moore wrote that the data would be measured through staff and student surveys, and School-Wide Information System data. In regards to the school’s previous goal of reducing suspensions by 50 percent, Moore noted that the number of reductions was actually 74 percent.
In other business, the board will be voting on whether or not to approve an Early Notification of Retirement Incentive bonus for BUSD employees, and to accept the resignation of Linda Cole from the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee and give permission to solicit for a successor.
The board will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2 in the Benicia Unified School District Board Room at the district building on 350 East K St. There will be an earlier closed session at 6 p.m.