CUSD Hosts First Expert-Led Community Forum on Post-COVID Academic Success
The Coronado Unified School District hosted its first-ever Post-Pandemic School Success Community Forum on Tuesday, April 26 from 5-6 p.m. About 30 community members gathered at district offices to learn more about how the district is helping struggling learners with CUSD’s Director of Learning, Dr. Megan Battle, the lead expert on the topic.
Dr. Battle, along with Superintendent Karl Mueller, presented data and information to help answer more than a dozen questions submitted by community members. (Members were required to submit questions via an online link ahead of the meeting, and administrators said they wouldn’t answer questions that weren’t directly related to students’ academic success to keep the conversation on the topic. )
“The district recognizes that the community has significant concerns about school disruptions as a result of the pandemic,” CUSD public information officer Maria Simon said before the meeting. “This forum is an opportunity, in a more casual setting, outside of a board meeting, to invite the public to hear CUSD’s learning department first-hand.”
Board President Esther Valdes-Clayton began by saying that parents and board members are partners in education, with parents directing the governing board to do what is best for the children.
“I can’t wait to hear Dr. Megan Battle’s presentation because we have a plan. We have measures. They are measurable. It’s data-driven. It’s quantitative. And we want to want to answer all of your questions and we also want to listen, because we know we can do better,” Valdes-Clayton said.
Superintendent Mueller said the post-COVID increase in academic achievement will not happen overnight and none of this will be properly captured in a single assessment at the end of the school year that only targets certain grades. school in two school subjects.
“For example, the CAASPP results are a three-year snapshot in time, not even targeting every student and every grade level. The responsibility of our teachers is much greater than that. It’s about knowing where they are on day one and then coming up with a plan to get them to grade level or above by the end of the school year,” Mueller said.
Mueller said there is “no magic formula” when it comes to reaching pre-pandemic academic levels. The students suffered learning loss, as they do every summer, according to Mueller.
“Learning loss is something that was widely studied and applied in public education, decades before the pandemic, so we already have a lot of these systems in place,” Mueller said. “But what we need to do is strengthen those systems and add new systems, interventions, and resources to ensure our students reach or exceed grade level, at a pace that’s right for them.”
Mueller also shared that, as always, the first thing to do to help a struggling learner is for parents to contact that child’s teacher or teachers. They know the student best and can help advise on support options.
To answer community questions about data and metrics, Dr. Battle shared a breakdown of state and local testing metrics that included a list of at least 12 different assessments. This list includes everything from high school AP exams to California Assessment of Student Achievement and Progress (CAASPP), California Science Test (CAST), California English Language Proficiency Assessments (ELPAC), Project Diagnostic Mathematics Test (MDTP) and more.
According to Dr. Battle, new tests such as the CommonLit assessment have been added with COVID money to identify which students are high performers on a particular standard and which students may need more support or intervention.
She also shared more information about the district’s Multi-Level Support Systems (MTSS) that determine how children will receive support. Dr Battle said research has shown that 80% of children will do well for what they get at Level 1, but other children might need more help.
“So it can be withdrawal support, for 30 minutes a day, or another small extra group in the classroom or one-on-one support,” Dr. Battle said. “Or it could be an extra class… in middle school and kindergarten we have tutoring classes.”
But she stressed that helping students excel academically after COVID is a moving target, and the district is always looking to make changes and improvements.
“Because of the pandemic, we have thought a lot about whether these supports are working. And what other curriculum support resources can we add? So we really focused on targeting the best supports for intervention and building those supports,” Dr. Battle said.
For example, she shared that she met with elementary school teachers and special education teachers last week, and the conversation focused on assessments. They learned that the district does not currently have a grand universal comptroller at this level. The municipality is in the process of setting one up.
“We are always proactive and always looking to improve our system and learn more about our children, especially over the past two years,” Dr. Battle said. “That’s always been one of our goals, and now we’ve accelerated that goal and have funds to buy a program.”
Regarding students who have underperformed on the CASSPP test, Dr. Battle shared that there are several support options in place. These include Summer 2022 academic opportunities (Summer School), the addition of Tier 2 and Tier 3 supports to student schedules, other tiered supports, and support psychological.
In response to another question from another community member, Dr. Battle shared the additional academic resources and supports that have been implemented to help students with literacy and math, and described the process of identification of students in need of additional supports. The solution is to identify students in need using formative and summative data and input from education partners, and then provide the additional supports students need, which could include additional small group supports or individual, support courses, etc. The district also offers private lessons. with the help of National Honor Society students.
Mueller then addressed two more questions regarding the 4×4 bell schedule. The first question asserted that 4×4 was a “failing” course. He shared a slide stating that the numbers show that students have passed and can pass an AP exam with a 4×4 or quarterly schedule. He presented a slide comparing schools with AP pass rates and ACT/SAT scores, and type of bell schedules with other similar schools.
He also presented a slide showing that although the 4×4 has been around for less than a year, the D and F list is already in decline. Mueller reiterated that there will be a full 4×4 report next school year with updated data.
Earlier in the evening, Mueller said that every child is “a different story” and that it is the responsibility of teachers to assess students, identify gaps, create goals and come up with a plan to help the student to move forward.
Mueller also warned parents that if they approach their children with a deficit mindset, they are not preparing their child for academic success.
“If you tell your child you’re way behind in math, you’re way behind in reading, you’ve already chickened out that kid. You know you need to build that kid’s self-esteem so they’re ready to get back on the treadmill and start racking up mileage,” Mueller said. “We can’t get the message out to the community, to our board, to our teachers, to our school district, ‘We’re all in a lot of trouble because all of our kids are behind. It’s defeatist. Our children need to know, we believe in you and we will create the supports and conditions in which you will succeed as an individual.
This article will be updated with a link to the presentation when it is posted on the district website. The next school council meeting will be Thursday, May 19 at 4:00 p.m.
According to the administration, the announcement of this forum was included in the district’s weekly newsletter on April 22, 2022, with 1,014 visitors viewing the newsletter. It was placed on the district’s website on the announcement feed which is also posted on the mobile app. It was also posted on the district’s Facebook page.