Coffee with the Principal October 15, 2013
Construction update: There is still a lot of work going on. We are a year behind in our i21 technology, but we are moving forward. We have purchased bungalows B1-B7. This will enable i21 technology to be installed in those classrooms.
A/C project moving along. Principal has asked for a/c in the Nurse’s office (this was not part of the original plan approved by the Board of Education). Waiting for approval from district.
STAR testing in Spring is a snapshot of where students are in their academic progress in the mastery of grade level standards. Admin and teachers use this data to inform their teaching and to target student needs.
Schools have two accountability systems each year, one State and one Federal.
The State (CST or STAR tests) give schools a ranking of 0 – 1,000. Schools have the goal of ranking 800 or better. This is called the Academic Performance Index (API). This goal is to ensure that all students increase academic achievement and to help schools narrow the achievement gap between ethnic groups.
Our API for the 2012-13 school year increased 2 points from 853 to 855. All of our significant ethnic groups are above 800.
Federal accountability by No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is the Annual Yearly Progress (AYP). This is a moving target each year. NCLB says that by 2014, 100% of students in the U.S. will be at “proficient” or “advanced” in English Language Arts and Math. AYP goal for all students in the U.S. in 2012-13 in English language arts was 89.2% proficient/advanced and Math 89.5% proficient/advanced. We did not meet the English language arts goal, but we did meet the Math goal. All goals are articulated yearly in the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA).
San Diego Unified schools are transitioning to Common Core (link to the article “The New Smart Set” will be provided). This is a standards-based national curriculum which almost every state is adopting. Reading skills are the most important for Common Core. Parents are encouraged to read to young children regularly and encourage your children to read a variety of texts. Please check with your child’s teacher to find out his/her current reading level and the end-of the-year expected reading level.
The only State test being administered this year will be for science in 5th and 8th grades.
Title 1: About 50% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch. This is where we receive our Title 1 funds allocation from the district. Please, take a moment to fill out the application, or you can pick up an application in the school office. Your application is confidential and very important for the school.
(A link will soon be provided to read all of Principal Arce’s powerpoint about Title 1 and Title 1 Parent Involvement Policy.)
Language Academy is identifying and implementing common assessments and monitoring student progress. We are working with Office of Language Arts (OLA) on assessments to assess progress in Spanish and French.
Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA)
Parent Involvement Handbook
Read more about Volunteer/Visitor Definitions.
Volunteer Code of Conduct
Announcements/Questions & Answers:
1. Federal Survey Cards will be coming home soon. Please fill out and return.
2. Combo classes are a result of the increase of class size implemented by the district. The district increased class sizes in Kinder-3rd grade from 24 to 27 students per class. Our teacher allocation is based on these numbers.
3. We have no room to grow (increase number of students attending Language Academy). We physically have no room on site to expand. We have increased our student population from 700 to 1, 030 over the last 5 years. The admin and district will create a plan to sustain enrollment in 2014.
3. Thanks to our PTSA, we have an exciting new art program, Art Explorers, for our Kinder-5th grade students. Art classes will be held during each grade level’s PLC (Professional Learning Community) time. This is a 2-hour block, once a month, where all teachers in the same grade meet to review data and student work, curriculum, instruction and goals for the students. This year, credentialed art teachers supplied by the district’s Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) department will be the subs during PLC time.
4. PTSA’s goal for membership this year is 1,000. We currently have 433 members. This is an historic high for our school. Memberships are $10 for adults and $6 for kids and Language Academy staff. Anyone may join – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles.
5. We had a safety situation that occurred at the beginning of October before the school day. Parents were repeatedly bullying a teacher in the classroom in front of students. School Police were involved to help with this situation. School Police instructed the school to lock the office door and escort parents out of the gate at the 8:50 bell. The family that was bullying the teacher is no longer at our school.
6. The district is currently looking into our front office safety situation. Specifically, replacing the swing door that leads into campus.
7. Nine surveillance cameras have just been installed around campus for safety.
8. Gate security
a. Construction company is still using the last bungalow (Staff lounge) for an office. They may be forgetting to secure that gate. Hopefully, they will be out of the bungalow in November.
b. Reminder: District employees of other schools are not to use their gate keys for access to Language Academy. Please use the designated parent pick up/drop off location.
9. A new law in California states that as of January 2014, children who have identified themselves as transgender may use the rest room they feel most comfortable with. The district has not given directive on this yet. Perhaps the solution is to have a unisex restroom available for students.
10. Parent pick up/drop off: The new parent pick up/drop off area is coming along quickly. Before the new area becomes available, information will be sent out as to the new procedures.
11. School Communication
a. Principal approves information before it goes out (flyers for events, newsletters, etc.).
b. Principal does not control when the approved information goes out to parents via PTSA or FOLA.
c. We are always working on improving our communication. If you have suggestions, please let Gabriela Contreras-Misirlioglu (PTSA President) or Jessica Wemett (FOLA President) know. Gabriela can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jessica can be reached at email@example.com.
12. Why no volunteers until October 1? The start of this school year has been like “building and flying an airplane at the same time.” Teachers are still looking for computers, instructional materials and other items that have gone missing during the move. The week before school started and the month of September have been a scavenger hunt. Teachers were not ready for volunteers. The staff also asked that there be no volunteers in the classroom at the beginning of school so our students can learn their new classroom routines.
13. Principal Arce thanked parents for the excellent attendance and emphasized that we be a purposeful community where we are respectful, make good choices and are problem solvers.