Root causes, Goal and Objectives
I started to look specifically at Court Schools. I realized that looking at the entire county office would make it difficult for me to define solutions, because our community sites and court facilities differ so greatly. The challenge with this will be tracking data over time. 2013-2014 was the first year we divided into just 2 “school” groups: Court Schools and Community Schools. Prior to 2013 it was divided by regions, in which there were 3 or 4 (i.e. North County Court, Metro Court, etc). I am having a hard time finding the specific names to use with Data Quest, so I reached out to our data and assessment coordinator, and I’m hoping he can either give me the data I seek or point me in the right direction.
I went back and analyzed STAR results from 2011-2014 (3 school years) for the court school regions. I also analyzed the CELDT scores from the same groups and timeframe. My findings were more or less the same, and I still want to focus on English Learners.
2. After analyzing all data, what do you believe are the root causes of the problem you have identified? Comment on: organizational culture, external factors, organizational structure, student demographics, instruction and preparation, and curriculum.
Student Factors: Average length of stay is 44 days, which is hard to initiate plan and assess. The data shows very similar numbers and trends, however, and teacher report having many of the same students over and over. Students may be released from one site, arrested again a few weeks later and then return or go to one of our other facilities. Students also have inconsistent academic histories due to this factor as well as family movement. Many students are in and out of schools, expelled or truant, and never created a solid academic foundation to grow off of.
External Factors: There isn’t a lot of parent outreach within the facilities. Much more so within the community school side of JCCS. When I started teaching here 4 years ago, teachers were paid overtime and encouraged to come to parent visiting days on Sundays, then it became just one teacher per week, then the offer disappeared. There are resources online, and there is a parent liaison for our Youth Offender Units (YOU) of long term commits, but that only serves 60 of our 600 students.
Organizational Structure: The structure of my organization is the main reason results are hard to find and compare, and I believe the biggest reason for the dip in EL achievement in overall 2012 scores. In 2012 our budget was cut drastically, our entire district leadership was released and told to re-interview for their own jobs, our director was fired, and our district “regions” were reorganized into new school groups and school codes (as far as data collection). Our leadership prior to 2012 had grown through the ranks of our district, yet our superintendent wanted more control and used his authority to create a clean slate. In 2013 we had mostly new leadership but a few familiar faces in Court Schools, and so the scores rebounded a little, but not to the level of 2011. Now in this new leadership’s second year, and after even a few more changes, it will be interesting to see what the 2014-2015 scores report.
Organizational Culture: In the mission statement it clearly mentions the achievement gap between white students and students of color, and yet the largest population of students of color is underserved. There are EL strategy PD’s and a preference to hire bilingual/BCLAD staff, but many specifically English Learner programs and supports were cut with the budget cuts in 2012 and never returned. The Court Schools claims to support ELs but in reality there are pockets of support that are not reaching every student.
Instruction and Preparation: Court Schools has been very proactive about sending teachers to trainings for EL strategies like SDAIE and giving them tools to teach ELs more effectively in class, however there used to be much more in-class support and reading specialist pull out sessions provided to struggling students. These services were cut in 2012 when there were massive budget cuts to everything, but never returned as other services did. I believe these pull-out and small group opportunities may have made the difference between Early Advanced and Advanced student achievement.
Curriculum: Curriculum is in the process of reform right now, with various schools in the district participating in work groups to create pacing guides and online resources for new Common Core material. We’ve also put a lot of work into ERWC lessons, a sort of remedial writing program, designed to help all students meet the rigorous demands of the Common Core and SBAC testing requirements. I believe that JCCS and our Court Schools program are designing our new curriculum with EL students in mind, and designing something that all students can benefit from. Some teachers are already piloting these programs, so results may be measurable from this year’s testing reports.
3. Based on an outcome you would like to attain for the target group, write 1 goal and 2-3 objectives that support that goal. (Create a SMART goal – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely.)
Goal: English Learners at Court Schools will improve their CELDT scores.
- By the end of 2015-2016 school year, CELDT scores will show an increase in Advanced Learners, from 9% total to 15% total.
- I am trying to come up with a formative assessment type of objective but I’m not 100% sure what we have in place. There isn’t any common testing or lessons that we use as teachers, but there may be one in use with the counselors. I’ve contacted our data and assessment coordinator but we’ve been on Spring Break all week...I should be able to update this within a few days. I'd love feedback about what I could use as a formative goal.