HUSD Meeting recap

Plan blends old goals from last year with new goals and initiatives

A new three-year Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) for the Healdsburg Unified School District (HUSD) is in the works.

Erin Fender, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, presented an early draft of the plan — which describes which actions and services will be provided to maximize educational opportunities for every student, especially those facing challenges associated with poverty, foster care and learning English as a second language — to the school board on April 21.

The plan is revised and adopted annually and combines student, parent, staff, community and other stakeholder input with evidence-based strategies to create a robust and comprehensive action plan of services.

The LCAP is also a component of the calculator for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

Under the LCFF, school districts receive a uniform base grant for every student adjusted by grade level. School districts receive additional supplemental grants for students with greater challenges, defined as low-income students, English learners and foster youth.

Districts receive additional concentration grant funding when the numbers of these students enrolled in a district make up more than 55% of a district’s total enrollment.

“Every year we are to do an annual update where we say, ‘this is what we said we were working on, this is the money we said we were going to spend on it, and this is how we did.’ At this time last year we got a reprieve, and we did not do an annual update (due to COVID) for the annual LCAP for 2019-20 school year. We’re doing it now and we’re having to reflect on the 2019-20 school year in this present time so that will be part of what will be brought to you in a formal document at the June board meeting,” Fender explained.

Last April the district instead had to complete a learning continuity plan.

“We had to hustle to get that together. There were things like providing personal protective equipment, providing technology like Chromebooks for our students and staff and making sure we had hot spots for everybody,” Fender said.

For the new LCAP, which covers 2021-2024, the district must use a new template and since the district didn’t update its LCAP last year, Fender said there are a number of big updates and changes to the plan.

“There’s a new template and we didn’t do an update to the LCAP as we would every year because of the pandemic last year so there have been, in my opinion, some major

upgrades and tightening of our goals and action,” Fender said.

The LCAP comprises several state indicators, high school graduation rate, academic performance, suspension rates, English learner progress, preparation for college and career and chronic absenteeism.

For the HUSD specifically, there are three LCAP goals, rigor, relevance and relationships.

According to the LCAP draft, new actions and services (and actions and services carried over from last year) proposed to help implement the “rigor” goal include:

-       Implement CCSS-aligned math curriculum and professional development

-       English Language Development (ELD) Program

-       Implement Social Science Framework

-       Implement Math Innovation Design Team Plan

-       Implement Next Gen Science Standards and professional development

-       Collect and monitor benchmark data to support instruction, differentiation and intervention services consolidated by offering consolidated English Language Arts and Math support and intervention

-       Provide robust and high-quality library and media

-       Provide after school tutoring and summer school program

-       Continue to provide AVID program, after school education and safety program and continue to support reclassified fluent English proficient (RFEP) students and students who are at risk of becoming a long term English learner and continue to provide differentiated Services, programs and instructional practices that serve the needs of all students and students with disabilities

-       Kindergarten prep program.

According to the LCAP draft, new actions and services (and actions and services carried over from last year) proposed to help implement the “relevance” goal include:

-       Provide and improve the use of instructional technology and implement PowerSchool Learning

-       Improve college and career readiness by: Increasing Advanced Placement and Career Technical Education (CTE) capstone course, providing college visits for 8th to 11th graders, providing a free PSAT for all 11th graders and providing events and experiences to explore college and career options and interests

-       Continue to provide opportunities for students to explore their interests and engage in active learning by: continuing to offer K-5 enrichment programs and study and field trips

-       Promote bilingualism for all students

-       Continue Big Picture learning at Marce Becerra Academy

According to the LCAP draft, new actions and services (and actions and services carried over from last year) proposed to help implement the “relationships” goal include:

-       Foster family engagement by: Continuing the use of two parent outreach coordinators, expanding opportunities for students to communicate with parents, holding informational workshops and events for parents, surveying parents, students and teachers, continuing to provide interpreters, translation and child care and improve communications with family and the community.

-       Create more opportunity to hear and respond to student voices by: surveying students with the new Youth Truth survey, including student governance when possible and continuing with restorative practices and positive behavior intervention support.

-       Prioritize and strengthen relationships between staff and families and staff and students while recognizing and combating issues of inequity and bias by: continuing with ELAC and DELAC, continuing with team building activities, busing students at free/reduced rates, engage in professional development on unconscious bias and implement new cultural celebrations.

-       Create a comprehensive program of social-emotional learning throughout the district by: starting a new articulated program for social-emotional learning in all grade levels, continuing to utilize the school psychologists/counselors/behavior specialists when necessary and continuing the use of trauma-informed practices.

-       Provide a modernized and well-maintained learning environment by: Continuing the use of furniture and equipment that supports 21st century learning and by making improvements to the high school and junior high physical education programs.

In addition to the numerous goals and activities, the LCAP also outlines several local indicators that are used to track and monitor the progress of students and the work of the LCAP.

The local indicators include a self-evaluation rubric, basic conditions, implementation of academic standards, parent involvement and engagement and school climate.

“Things that stand out to us as a district leadership team when we start thinking about what we are doing well and what we can pat ourselves on the back about besides opening schools, is we’ve made a significant improvement in the percent of students that are meeting A-G requirements and that includes our subgroups. We’re on the right track and a lot of it has to do with changing the graduation requirements and providing more support and really a deep belief in all students,” Fender said.

She said school engagement and relationships are also improving.

“The Youth Truth data shows some real bright spots and we’re very excited about the work that’s going on to improve the engagement, culture and relationships,” she said.

Additionally, attendance rates at Marce Becerra Academy (the high school program for credit deficient students) are at a high rate and students are continuing to engage at a high level with their classes.

At the elementary, successes include continuing to see more students reach the registered fluent English proficient (RFEP) classification.

“We continue to have a high RFEP rate and we are doing well and making some strides in decreasing the number of long term English language learners and in students who are deemed ‘at risk’ of becoming a long term English language learner,” Fender said.

She said there’s also some improvement in student performance in socioeconomically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.

“I think a lot of that has to do with the equity work we’ve been focused on for the last three to five years. The creation of one elementary school I think is going to show up in that data as well and improve the relationships with families,” she said.

Items that will need to be addressed in the next LCAP round include a decrease in Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) reading and math scores for fifth graders, the graduation rate at Marce Becerra Academy and a decrease in college and career readiness in all student subgroups.

“We see a decrease in STAR reading and math for fifth graders right now in the pandemic. We saw a decrease in the college and career readiness and I will say that’s largely due to a lack of engagement in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP. CAASPP is a big piece of the college and career readiness. They (students) have amazing CTE completion, but they have to do well on CAASPP too. When 11th graders do not take the test seriously we see those numbers go down,” Fender said.

School board trustee Donna del Rey asked if stakeholders brought up anything else of note that the district needs to prioritize and work on in the LCAP.

Fender said a lot of it comes down to wordsmithing.

“In a previous iteration (of the LCAP), the third goal was ‘community’ and it is now ‘relationships,’ so that was something that we heard from people. People were more comfortable with the term ‘relationship.’ The goal did read that all students including students with disabilities, English learners and foster are well supported and families. In that statement we added ‘and families,’ it just said all students. It was important to add ‘and families’ and (know) that their voices are valued, not just students,” she said.

Fender and district staff will continue to gather and refine the data and the goals in the LCAP. In May or June, the finalized LCAP documents will come before the school board for approval.

To view the entire presentation on the LCAP and to read the draft in its entirety, take a look at the agenda item packet PDF here.

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