Screenshot of eight people in a meeting, all wearing masks

District Comes Up Short on Student Achievement Planning

Screenshot of eight people in a meeting, all wearing masks

A report on plans for student achievement for the current academic year was presented Wednesday to the West Contra Costa school board. (Screenshot captured by Julia Métraux / The CC Pulse)

By Julia Métraux

As the school year winds down, only 23 out of 54 West Contra Costa schools have complied with student achievement plan requirements, which were the focus of the Board of Education meeting Wednesday.

Each school plan details how state Local Control Funding Formula supplemental and concentration funds as well as federal Title I funds are being used to help advance student achievement and inclusion.

The plans are reviewed by the individual school’s English Learner Advisory Council and African American Parent Advisory Council. Each public school in California is required to have a council for English learners but not for Black parents.

>>>Read: WCCUSD Board Talks Efforts to Improve Black Student Achievement

“They are responsible for reviewing and monitoring the actions, services, impact and set actions within the subset, as well as the budget expenditures,” WCCUSD family and community engagement director Martine Blake said of the two councils. “They are also responsible for certifying or approving the SPSA [Single Plans for Student Achievement].”

School plans address factors including but not limited to English language development, college and career readiness, staff retention, student perceptions of how welcoming a school is and parent engagement.

These plans can also influence what type of additional staff supports each school in the district will be funded, either by funds that go to individual schools or by the central office.

“We also are looking at how to provide intervention coaches or some type of aid in schools to support with reading and intervention,” WCCUSD chief academic officer and associate superintendent LaResha Martin said.

Trustee Jameela Smith-Folds questioned why this report was delivered for the current school year in April, as these school plans are essentially outlines of what each school has been doing, rather than a plan for the year to come.

“I think that it doesn’t bode well when we get a site plan in April that’s already been implemented,” Smith-Folds said. “We’re already spending the money. It’s already in place.”

The board voted to approve the plans and their associated budgets, with the exception of Smith-Folds voting no.

Resolutions Honor Students, Volunteers, Public Schools and More

The Board of Education also passed eight different resolutions honoring national public school month, school library month, national public school volunteer week, national bilingual/multilingual learner advocacy month, national student leadership, Arab American heritage month and national poetry month.

Many board members spoke about the importance of passing these resolutions.

Trustee Mister Phillips talked about how school closings during COVID-19 highlighted the essential role that public schools play in their communities.

“When this district shut down, and districts across America shut down, all we heard was, ‘When are they going to open back up?’ ” Phillips said. “People relied on this district for food, for other resources, for vaccinations. Public education is valuable; it serves a great purpose.”

Clerk Demetrio Gonzalez-Hoy, a former bilingual teacher and an immigrant himself, said he has had conversations with superintendent Kenneth Hurst about bilingual programs.

“I hope that we continue to invest in our bilingual programs, which really support a lot of our students, and we have to continue to engage with our bilingual educators,” Gonzalez-Hoy said.

On the student leadership resolution, student trustee Angelica Flores also spoke about the importance of supporting students who may not see themselves as leaders yet.

“Not only should we continue to encourage already student leaders in advocating but also encourage every student to become leaders,” Flores said. “I believe that not all students believe in the power of their voice.”

All the resolutions were passed unanimously by trustees and student trustees. The next school board meeting is scheduled for May 4.

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